The souther tip of Manhattan – the new Freedom Tower is the tallest building on left side
We arrived in the Big Apple for our 10-day stay on a Friday afternoon. Factually we parked the MoHo in Jersey City, NJ at the Liberty Harbor Marina and Campground, a perfect location, literally just across the Hudson River from the southern tip of Manhattan. It was only about a 6-block walk to the local subway for easy access to the city, so we were able to leave the car parked most of our stay. The campground was no frills, just water and electricity, no sewer. They did have a mobile service to clean out our tanks for a $20 fee, or we could use their on site dump station (we chose for the service, much easier.) We got set up and immediately headed to the city to explore. We had a dinner/drinks meeting set up with a couple of great friends from Seattle, who are now New Yorkers, Amy and Michelle. The PATH subway system dropped us in midtown, and we walked to the most recognizable area, Times Square. Everyone has seen pictures and video of this iconic place, and it was just as anticipated, tons of huge video boards and advertising everywhere you looked. (Traci had been to NY before, but it was my first trip.) We gawked at all the tourists and huge crowds; there was so much going on it was mind overload. Eventually we made it to Rockefeller Center to walk around and then on to Koi, the restaurant across from Bryant Park for our evening with the ladies. We sort of honed in on a work dinner with some of Amy’s current and past co-workers, and had a blast getting to know everyone. What a first night in the big city!
Hello Empire State Building!
The next day we got in the car (one of the only times we drove anywhere) and headed to Tarrytown, north of the city about 25 miles, where Amy, her husband Andrew and their daughters Lauren and Gabby live. They invited us and Auntie Meeshie (Michelle) out on their boat for a day on the Hudson River. We got there and loaded the boat and off we went, towards the city. It was a perfect day, not too hot, little breezy and I could not take enough pictures along the way. Truly one of the best days of our NY stay, being able to view the city from the water and then just passing by the Statue of Liberty, awe inspiring for sure! Andrew grew up in Manhattan so he was a perfect tour guide giving us great info as we drove by the shoreline. I even took a swim in the Hudson, which as locals, they all found disgusting. I found it rather refreshing! We slowly made our way back to the marina, and then had a bite at their yacht club, before returning to their house and crashing for the night.
Out in the boat on the Hudson River (Mike, Lauren, Gabby, Traci, Amy and Michelle – Andrew is taking picture)
Statue of Liberty from the boat
Sunday brought us another great day. We all headed out to breakfast, then Traci and I decided to head to Central Park. Being it was a Sunday, we figured we could find some parking and not too much traffic. Once we got parked, we headed into the park, and again the maps and pictures do not do this place justice. Some 60 blocks long and about 8-9 blocks wide, right in the middle of Manhattan, truly awesome that it has stayed here without the city allowing it to be turned into another high-rise. The park was busy, but not bad and we walked around the southern half for a couple hours, just people watching and hearing the echo’s of the Puerto Rican parade that was taking place near the east side of the park. We saw the Boat House, Great Lawn, Fountain, The Mall, Baseball Fields, Tavern on the Green and Strawberry Fields, a tribute to John Lennon. We headed back to the MoHo and grabbed a bite at the Surf City restaurant right in our parking lot at the marina, super fun day for sure.
The Mall in Central Park
A crowded day on the Great Lawn in Central Park
Hot Dog in Central Park (About Last Night movie location)
Monday brought some torrential rains, but by late morning we returned to the city, to tour the 9/11 museum and memorial. The memorial pools that are in about the same footprints as the two towers were very moving, with all the names of those who perished engraved around the edges. We purchased tickets to the museum, and had about 45 minutes to wait, so we headed to Wall St, the NY Stock Exchange and the famous Bull. Very popular place, and we got our chance for a few pictures, but then had to hustle back to the museum. We walked into the museum, and down the stairs, taking in everything along the way. In our opinion, and just coming from Wash. DC, this was a perfectly laid out facility and was very well done. We ended up staying inside for more than three hours re-living that tragic day. We both felt tired afterwards, but also proud to see what lengths the first responders went to, to save as many people as they did and how the community came together.
One of the Reflecting Pools at the 9/11 Memorial
The symbolic last column that was left standing throughout the cleanup process, now in the 9/11 Museum
The famous Bull in the Financial District
Tuesday we just wandered around the city, taking in the sights of Canal Street and the vendors there trying to sell you watches, purses, scarves (Traci bought 2), and everything else. We wandered up through Little Italy, with a stop for the largest Caprese Salad ever, complement by vino, for lunch. Then our walking took us to the neighborhoods of East Village, Greenwich Village, and then back down through SoHo. A ton of walking and our feet were telling us it was time to go home, so we headed to our Path station for our trip home to the MoHo.
Enjoying wine in Little Italy
Wednesday we rose early, getting out of bed at 5:45AM! Traci really wanted to see the Today Show in person, so we got out early and arrived at the outdoor set about 7:40AM. The weather was drizzling, but not cold, and we hung out around the area for about an hour, taking in all the goings on of watching a live TV broadcast and all the folks it takes to pull it off. We were lucky in that one of the features of the day was the promotion of the movie “Dumb and Dumber To,” one of my all time favorites is finally coming out with a sequel. There was a prop in the courtyard, the Mutt Cutts van that is used in the movie; it was so funny to see it up close. During the end of the show, they handed out souvenirs; masks of the two lead actors, Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels, and I even got a T-shirt. (We taped the broadcast, and saw ourselves three times on the show that day, sort of funny to see it on TV after watching the live broadcast in person.) We then headed to Times Square to get in line for discounted Broadway show tickets at the TKTS booth. We purchased tickets to see Jersey Boys later that afternoon at 2:00PM. Next we headed back to Rockefeller Center. Our friend Michelle hooked us up with tickets to go to the Top of the Rock (Thanks Meeshie!). This is probably the best place in all NY to view the city. Perched atop the building, you can see some 40 miles on a clear day, unfortunately it was a bit misty, but we could still see a long ways out. From there you really get an idea on the scope of Manhattan and how large an area it truly is with the massive buildings and also a great aerial view of Central Park. After our trip to the top, we wandered back to Broadway for our show, with a stop at a food truck or two for lunch. The show was great, so amazingly choreographed and performed. I kept trying to catch them making a mistake, but this was Broadway, and these people are good! We made our way back down through Times Square and down to Madison Square Gardens, the Rangers were playing the Kings that night in game four of the Stanley Cup Finals. It was a lot quieter around the stadium, we both were surprised how little was going on. Yes, the home team was down 3-0 in the series, but it was just odd how little excitement was in the air. We headed to the subway and returned to the MoHo, tired from our early morning.
The Today Show – Savannah, Matt, Al & Tamron
Mike in front of the Dumb & Dumber Mutt Cutts Mobile
Top of the Rock, Empire State Building behind us
Central Park from Top of the Rock. Really gives you a feel for how big it is right in the middle of the city
Thursday was a bit slower morning, then a bike ride to Liberty State Park for great views of Lady Liberty and Ellis Island. The big event for this day was Michelle’s birthday! She and Amy, and several of their friends had a boat cruise planned for the evening, and we were invited. Traci and I headed into town early, I really wanted to watch the opening game of the World Cup, so we found a bar and landed it there about 3:00PM to watch Brazil in the first game of the competition. We then met up with everyone at a bar near the port that we were departing from, several friends had gathered there and we all got introduced, and started to celebrate Michelle’s birthday. After a few beverages, we walked the 3 blocks to the pier and boarded the boat for the night’s tour. This was super cool to see the city from the water again, only at night and from the East River side, despite the rainy evening. We hit another bar after the cruise, and then it was time to find our way home; only challenge here is that the trains run less frequently, and that sucks when you really want to get some sleep. We had a blast, almost too much fun for some of us, and eventually made it home sometime after midnight. Happy B-day Michelle!
East River Cruise for Michelle’s Bday
Friday we chilled at home, recovering from the night before, and trying to stay dry. It poured rain all day long and we really just hung out in the MoHo, watching World Cup soccer and doing a whole lot of nothing. We did venture out for dinner at a place 2 blocks away, the Tilted Kilt, only to be ushered out right at 7:00PM for a private New York Jets function that we didn’t have tickets to.
Saturday we met up with Michelle, this time in Little Italy for a late lunch/early dinner. I really wanted to watch the England vs. Italy soccer game in Little Italy. We had a great meal, then wandered to a bar and found some seats right before kickoff. It was a blast, and the bar customers were really into it, and it made for a super fun night. We then wandered back to Times Square to see the lights at night before touring through Grand Central Station and our final goodbye’s to Michelle.
Michelle, Traci & Mike in Times Square
Grand Central Station
Sunday, our last full day in New York, we decided to take a bike ride and picnic back to the Liberty St. Park area, about 2 miles south of the MoHo park. We rode around and took it all in, tons of people out celebrating Fathers Day. We played some Bocce, had a nice relaxing afternoon and returned to the MoHo to catch up on the final round of the US Open Golf tourney and more World Cup soccer matches. Monday we headed to the New Haven area in CT, our next stop.
Biking in Liberty State Park. Great views of Manhattan, Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty from NJ
We really wanted to say a huge thank you to both Michelle and Amy, and her family. We were so fortunate to have friends here, and it made our stay so much more memorable to hang out with people who know the town. We would not have had as much fun without them, thanks ladies!
Check out more pics HERE!
PS – as I may have discussed in an earlier post, we are paying some serious tolls here in the East. Just taking the MoHo across the G.W. Bridge from NJ to NY cost us $68! The bad thing about it though is the roads out here are the worst in the country. I have no idea what they are doing with all the cash they are collecting, but it is not going back into the roads in any way.