NYC day! Despite a late night and not being able to sleep well, we got up at 6:30 so we could load everything up and get to the RV park by check in time. We had a little bit of a late start, because everything always takes longer than you expect, but we made it out and were on our way before too long. I was sitting on a folded blanket and had both a normal and neck pillow to lean against, so I was pretty comfortable, all things considered. Poor Jason was not so, I think we’ll need to figure something else out when we head back.
The drive was full of lush scenes, everything in sight was green. Farmlands with picturesque red barns and silos seemed to be everywhere. We encountered little traffic as it was a Tuesday, and made it to the RV park before noon. We checked in and then parked and ate some leftover pizza from the day before. Locking up the RV and checking our subway route, we were on our way.
It did not take long to be miserable in the humidity and flee to the lee of the building to escape at least the blinding sun. We weren’t sure where the station that I had looked up was and my phone was dying so Micah found another route and we were soon at the station. We could see Manhattan just across the river and went underground to the subway station.
Our subway dropped us off at the World Trade Center station, which is almost entirely white marble, making it cool and clean. At the entrance of the station were two Marines, all decked out with guns strapped to their legs. Outside of the station was a fountain with what looked like a giant, shiny red balloon. People and cars milled about and once we found our bearings we were on our way again, joining the crowd. A few city blocks away was our next station, which would take us to Brooklyn. We wanted to get our tickets to a Broadway Matinee show, at a place called tkts, where they sell tickets for up to 50%. After getting lost a few times, we finally found it and didn’t have to wait long before it was our turn. We had decided we’d probably see Les Misérables unless something else was considerably cheaper. I had checked out the app for tkts on our way to the city and based on that, it would be the cheapest of the ones we wanted to see. It wasn’t as cheap as the app said it would be, but it was still was 50% off. We would go to the show for tomorrow at 2pm at the Imperial theatre.
Micah, Kelly, and I went and got smoothies at Cafe Metro, in the square nearby. Jason had never gone to Five Guys and had heard a lot about it, so we stopped in there for his lunch. He decided that In ‘n Out is better.
After lunch we hopped on the subway to get back to Manhattan. We returned to the World Trade Center area to see the memorial. I didn’t expect it, but as soon as I walked up to the memorial, I teared up. To see all those names engraved in the stone, some of which had flowers or flags propped inside, I almost lost it right there. They had a museum, but we had just spent a few pretty pennies on our tickets, and the lines to get inside were quite long. We decided that since we were in the area, we would head down to the Staten Island ferry, passing Wall Street on the way. Kelly stopped at a street vendor and got some souvenirs for her brother and sister.
We stopped in the National Museum of the American Indian and walked around the different exhibits. I mostly wanted to sit in a cool place, as my feet were killing me at that point. I’m pretty sure that my feet are more sensitive than most people’s. Maybe all those years wearing nothing but converse and flip flops wasn’t the best plan.
We were waylaid at Battery Park when I was talked into getting a charcoal portrait done. I was told it would only be 5-10 minutes, and it was more like 45. While I was sitting, Micah and Kelly agreed to have theirs done too, both on the same piece of paper, but for the price of two. There were two artists available; I got the main artist and Micah and Kelly got theirs done by the “apprentice.”
There is something so intimate about getting a portrait; I kept eye-contact the whole time, which was awkward, but humbling in a way. I tried to keep my face neutral, though the breeze kept blowing hair in my face so I had to reach up and adjust it a lot. I also have a very difficult time sitting still in the best of circumstances, so this was almost impossible. There were so many people walking by and a few would stop to compare what she was drawing to who she was drawing. One man stayed for a few minutes, leaning close to her to look over her shoulder. He kept telling the woman he was with that the artist was doing a great job, that it looked just like me. Eventually she whipped the pad of paper around to show me the end result. It did look a lot like me, though it was odd to see an artist’s perspective on my appearance. Kelly’s portrait was still be done when my finished, so I joined Jason and Micah along the fence they had been sitting at. Jason and I decided to check out the Staten Island ferry info so walked the short distance there. It turns out they have the ferry 24/7 and it’s free.
Jason and I meandered back to where Micah and Kelly were, and saw the Statue of Liberty from afar. Battery Park is a good size, right next to the water and surrounded by skyscrapers on the other side. Over by the water was a memorial to veterans and a water park/fountain that a lot of kids were playing in. I was very much considering joining them, after all the walking we had done in such a hot and humid place.
Once Micah and Kelly were done with their portraits, we bought the pictures and frames for each and went to the ferry station to have dinner. I had a delicious strawberry and brie grilled cheese sandwich, which I ended up taking on the boat so we wouldn’t have to wait for the next one. We got pretty close to the Statue of Liberty and had a great view of the city. Of course we took lots of pictures and the light was great, the sun making its way ever closer to the horizon. We went outside and a young boy about 10 years old started talking to me. He, his mom, and another woman were visiting for a week from Texas. We chatted about the crazy humidity. They were staying on Staten Island and were going to head back home tomorrow.
We decided to check out the scene on the island, though we ended up not even really leaving the station. We went up to the lookout on the second story and took more night time city pictures. The sun had set by this time and so Micah and I were messing with the settings of our cameras to get the optimal lighting. We found desirable settings and were able to set the cameras between the railing, using it to stabilize since the shutter was open for more then a millisecond.
Once we decided we’d taken enough pictures, we went back inside and got some good ol’ Dairy Queen. We just missed the next ferry, so went outside again when we discovered that the air conditioning made the waiting area too cold. The ferry back gave another opportunity to take more night time shots of the Statue of Liberty and skyline.
We decided that before heading back we would get closer to the Brooklyn Bridge, so we walked along the water until we were at a good vantage point. From there we walked back to the World Trade Center and got to see the Freedom Tower (which is the new World Trade Center building) up close and marveled at the beautiful architecture. The station we needed to get back to New Jersey was right around the corner. We got on when the train car was pretty empty and were able to sit down. It started filling up and we were there for a while before it made its way out of the station.
Our stop was second to last and from there it was about 5 or 6 blocks to the RV park. We gratefully got our shower stuff when we made it back to the trailer. Unfortunately the girls’ bathroom doesn’t have a window so all the hot air from previous showers made it like a sauna. Right after I turned off the cold water, I started sweating. I told Kelly it reminded me of all the Mexico mission trips I’d been on in high school, where we had to go into town to take our showers in individual stalls. I always had to take a completely cold shower so that I wouldn’t start sweating immediately after I got out to dress. Ah, memories.
The trailer has a normal queen size bed, which extends out over the cab of the truck, and is of course where Micah and Kelly sleep. Their dining table folds down and the cushions move to create another bed, where Jason and I slept. Except for it being a little warm in the camper, it was a very comfortable bed. Quiet time at the RV park is 10pm-7am so we weren’t able to turn on the generator to run the air conditioner. Plus, it would have been pretty wasteful to have it running all night. And so, we slept.