Wednesday, June 20, 2018

New York City #4 - day 3

Welcome to day 2 of New York, talking about the 3rd day of our trip!  You can read part 1 here.  Picking up with the second full day in the city, the first day of the trip spent almost entirely on the train!

A big selling point in at least getting my parents to New York was seeing the Statue of Liberty.  Crown tickets for that were the very first part of the this trip that we booked, in late December for our mid-May trip.  If we couldn't get Crown tickets then the trip would be moved.  It was priority #1.

We secured Crown tickets for all, even our older son even though we knew he wasn't tall enough to climb but Pedestal tickets were already sold out and we wanted to get all of us at least that high.  So Crown tickets for all it was.  They aren't expensive so if you know far enough ahead to get tickets, I highly recommend. 

We took the subway from Grand Central Station (also a cool site to see) to Battery Park and FOR ONCE we knew exactly where to go when we got above ground.  Straight ahead of us was a big sign pointing towards the Harbor.  Statue of Liberty THIS WAY.  Thank you, kind sign people (it would have been pretty obvious pretty quickly anyways, walk towards the water, but the sign was nice).  We went through security (taking the baby off, but they didn't make me stop feeding him.  I'm sure they figured that if I was actively feeding it to my baby there was nothing harmful or worth x-raying).  Then we had to wait just a few minutes for our ferry since we had just missed the cut off for the one about to leave.

The ferry ride isn't long, maybe 15 minutes?  It takes you right in front of the Statue on the way to the boat dock and, from watching boats approach when we were in the Crown, you can see that the boats are all slightly tilted towards the Statue, with so many people trying to get a shot.

Off the boat, bathrooms (priorities), and heading toward the next security line.  We knew ahead of time that we wouldn't be able to take anything with us in the Statue besides our phones and one camera per person; that's pretty much it.  Everything else needed to be locked up.  They did let us take a bottle for Sam (and a burb cloth), we changed his diaper right before we locked everything up.  Then more security, showing our tickets, and taking an elevator to the top of the Pedestal.


Without Crown tickets this is as high as you can go.  You are right at the base and can look up through windows in the ceiling to see all the supports and stairs inside of her.  We had decided that my parents would keep the boys on this Pedestal level and Matt and I would go up with his parents.  We took Luke outside quick to show him the view and how close we were and then the 4 of us started the climb.

Those stairs are TIGHT.  There are a lot of them.  You just keep going around and around and around.  I was very glad I didn't have a baby strapped to me and that I wasn't holding anything more than the camera around my neck and phone in my back pocket.

You can see all the folds of her dress from the inside and right before you reach the top you see the inside of her face.  It's pretty awesome.  Then you are there!  The space at the top isn't big.  We looked out the windows, can look down and see her tablet from one of the first ones.  On the other side you look up and see the bottom of the torch.  I touched her hair from the inside.  The views of lower Manhattan are pretty cool.  We had done this once before, on our very first trip (where I also planned the dates around when we could get Crown tickets) but it was pretty awesome this time too.  It's the most famous lady in America and one of the most iconic images of America.  Getting to be in her head, seeing her from the inside ranks in our top 10 all time vacation experiences.  It just very very cool.


We weren't up there long and then began the stairs back down, which is even worse than going up.  I heard a park ranger say that the reason they don't allow kids under 4 feet isn't because of the climb up, it's the way down that's dangerous.  At least gravity is on your side that way!

We traded off the boys and my parents went up for their turn.  I gave them about 100 things too look for (Her face! Touch her hair!  The entrance to the torch!) and they set off.  Matt and I walked around all the pedestal levels with his parents and the boys.  The top one, right at the base, is the tightest and most crowded.  The two after that we almost had to ourselves!  And plenty of room for Luke to get out some energy.  Although he was mostly concerned with punching buttons on the free audio tour we had all gotten upon arrival.

Once we all met back up we went to the museum in the bottom of the pedestal.  It's small but shows pretty well how she was made, the time it took, how much effort went into raising money for the pedestal.  Luke quickly tired of that while our Dads wanted to read every single thing there.  We headed back to our stuff to get Sam's diaper changed and let Luke run a little then we all met up for lunch at the restaurant on site.  We ate outside in the almost sunshine and it was a nice time to sit and relax a little (we only walked about 12 miles this day)!

Then it was getting back on the boat.  It was crowded and Luke was tired; he slept most of the ride back.  Our parents got off to tour Ellis Island while Matt and I went back to Manhattan with the boys.  Luke was DONE with museums at that point and I had places I wanted to visit.

We spent almost an hour just sitting in Battery Park, feeding Sam, Luke was making something out of sticks.  It gave him time just to run around and be a kid after being drug through so many things with grown-ups.  Also, with all the walking we did on this trip I was ready for any reason to sit down!

When we finally tired of Luke getting sticks wet in a drinking fountain, we took the subway to Union Square.  First we went to a bank and got cash, since we came with only random change between us.  Next was visiting The Strand Bookstore, about 2 blocks away.  I would have LOVED to spend more time there but Luke was very short on patience (and sleep).  I had already decided what book I wanted to look for there (The Futures, set in New York), found it and a Statue of Liberty book for Luke (which he didn't read until we were at the lake a week later), purchased both and we were in and out in less than 10 minutes.  We walked back the few blocks to Union Square and browsed the Green Market (Matt, of course, bought bread).


Next stop was Breads Bakery where we bought more Chocolate Babka, which we had also enjoyed on our last trip, even though we barely touched this loaf until we were home.  Then walked a few more blocks to Dough Doughnuts for, you guessed it, doughnuts.  For those not keeping track, in a little over 24 hours we bought baked goods from 5 different places, most of those treats would make it back home with us.  And, yet, I forgot to buy a scone to eat while watching the Royal Wedding the next morning!

After picking up doughnuts (to add to our loaf of market bread and loaf of babka), we kept walking towards Madison Square Park.  Before our trip up the Empire State Building the day before we hadn't ever seen the Flatiron Building and now we walked right past it!  Also, came across another Lego Store (after stopping at the Rockefeller Plaza store the night before) and, of course, visited.

Took more pictures, got a little lost trying to find our subway station, but then eventually made it back to the apartments, beating all our parents.  All this walking, from Union Square, The Strand, Union Square, Breads, Dough, Lego Store, and Madison Square Park, was just over a mile.  I LOVE seeing different New York neighborhoods and this hit a lot of stops with not much walking.  I found the whole excursion very enjoyable.

We had no dinner plans that night and once we were all back together we decided that a few of us (my Dad, Matt and I) would go to my Dad's favorite NYC eatery (Cafe Duke), pick up food, and bring it back to eat at the apartment.  This was actually my father-in-law's birthday and it seemed a more relaxing way to celebrate than all walking around and finding a restaurant.  (I found out once we were home that Cafe Duke only has two locations and we had actually been to the other one with my sister and her BFF on the first night of our trip with them.  I kept telling my Dad when we were there that we had been to somewhere similar but I didn't know the name and was amused that it was the same place.)

We had a lovely dinner, all around the table together, at the apartment, with a wide variety of food. It felt like one of the rare times of the whole trip all 8 of us were together and actually able to talk since so much of our time had been spread out or in places too loud/busy to have a conversation with anyone more than the person right next to you.  Or we had just talked logistics of what time we needed to be where and what subways stop, etc.  With our large families it's not often we get solo time with our parents, especially a couple straight days.  So it was a treat to all be together and actually able to talk!

Then it was just getting kids to bed (hah!), cleaning up, I ran a load of laundry (SO HELPFUL to have), etc.  Nothing too exciting on our Friday night in New York!

Tomorrow, the exciting conclusion of our trip!

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