By Tom Driver
As with the other posts about our trip to New York, the following post is taken from a letter I wrote to Sydney after our trip.
“They don’t have escalators at our grocery store”
One way we’re saving a little money on our trip to New York City is by having breakfast in our room. We brought a box of cereal along with some bowls and spoons from home. Last night we stopped at a local grocery store to pick up some milk, grape juice (our favorite!), yogurt and fruit. The hotel provided a mini-refrigerator, for a nominal fee, and we set up the desk as a table each morning. To my surprise, it worked out very well and there were only a few minor accidents. As we were planning the trip, Mom and I compared the cost of renting the mini-fridge plus groceries with the average cost of a fast food breakfast every morning and found this was one way we could save money. Plus, we had fun on our Manhattan grocery shopping experience last night. You were surprised to see an escalator in the grocery store; “they don’t have escalators at our grocery store.”
This morning’s subway ride was a long one and a little crowded since we were part of the morning commute. You didn’t mind because you like standing up during the ride. We rode the #1 train all the way from the 50thSt. and Broadway Station to the South Ferry station, the very last stop on the line, but it only cost $5 for a one way pass for your mother and I, since kids 44 inches tall and under ride for free on subways. From the subway it was a short walk to Battery Park where the ferry departs. I was nervous, the line seemed like it went on forever and I do not like waiting in lines – who does? Admittedly I’m very impatient, a trait I hope you don’t pick up but one I fear you already possess. This is another reason your mom and I are such a good match, she reminds me there’s no reason to get irate when we’re traveling because, “there’s nowhere else in the whole world we need to be than right here, right now, on our way to see The Statue of Liberty.” She’s right; plus this is one of the most popular tourist spots in the entire country so naturally there’s going to be a line.
As if on cue, the line started to move and our wait wasn’t nearly as long as my first glance at the mass of waiting people caused me to expect. We only waited for about a half an hour. However, we did need to go through another round of airport style security. I’m not sure if this is a good thing, or incredibly sad, but you’ve become so accustomed to the security lines they don’t appear to bother you at all. You know the routine as well as your Mom and me. I’m still trying to get used to a world where security checkpoints are part of the routine.
After clearing security we boarded the ferry for Liberty Island. Like me, I think you enjoyed the boat ride as much as seeing the Statue of Liberty. I’m glad we brought your heavy jacket, hat and gloves because the ferry ride in late March was very chilly. I wish I’d had more than my pullover jacket. We could have taken a seat inside the ferry to avoid the wind, but part of the fun is feeling the wind and taking in the great views. And what a great view – Liberty is an awesome sight to behold. We were lucky enough to snag a spot by the rail, which gave us a perfect view as we passed in front of Liberty Island on the way to the dock. We made our way to the front of the monument for pictures and had a great time; we took some silly shots along with a few standard poses. Most importantly, I think we captured how much fun we had visiting one of the country’s greatest landmarks.
Here’s some information on why the Statue of Liberty is so important to our country’s history. This is from http://www.statueofliberty.org/Statue_History.html: “The people of France gave the Statue to the people of the United States over one hundred years ago in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution. Over the years, the Statue of Liberty’s symbolism has grown to include freedom and democracy as well as this international friendship.”
Countless numbers of people would travel across the Atlantic Ocean to start a new life in the United States and their ships would pass by the Statue of Liberty. To these emigrants, the Statue of Liberty became a symbol of how the United States of America is open to people from all over the world who seek freedom and individual liberty. I think it’s also important to remember how instrumental the French were in helping us defeat England during the Revolution. Without the assistance France provided in the form of loans, supplies, equipment, and troops, the war could have had a much different outcome. As popular as it is to bash the French, we might be singing “God Save the Queen” instead of “The Star Spangled Banner” if not for their help. But you’ll learn all about that in school, I hope.
It was a nice, sunshine filled morning so we took our time walking around Liberty Island taking pictures and having fun. We stopped in the gift shop so Mom could decide if she wanted to purchase the “professional” picture of the three of us in front of the Statue. While we were there I took a picture of you pretending to be Lady Liberty holding a toy torch. Mom was waiting in line to buy the pictures so you and I went outside to wait. While we were sitting outside I commented on how cute you were and you responded, “I’m as beautiful as New York City!” It was just one of many great Sydney quotes on this trip.
We hopped back on the boat for the ride back to Battery Park. The ferry stops at Ellis Island, which is another important part of America’s history, but since you are just four and half years old we didn’t feel the significance of the items on display at the museum would register on this visit. We’ll take you on a tour of the Ellis Island Museum when you are a little older.