Lady Liberty and Family History

In my previous trips to NYC, I had never gone out to Liberty and Ellis Islands. This time we did. We had pre-purchased tickets a couple of months before to take the first ferry out from the New Jersey side.

But not before we experienced a weird Lyft driver. How many times have you used one of these ride hailing apps where the driver is going through the phone options to check on his unemployment compensation? That’s what he did the whole trip to the ferry, that I didn’t think he would get us to on time. And I’m not sure why it couldn’t wait. He had the phone on speaker and it sounded like he hadn’t been on unemployment since September of 2021. But he did drop us off on time.

We were among the first to get on the boat for the short trip to Ellis Island. But since we were getting off in New York, we needed to continue on to Liberty Island first to take a look at some big statue everybody talks about. We took our obligatory selfies the Lady Liberty or the Big Apple in the background. Karen and I found where we could get our National Park Passports stamped. Then we had lunch at the Liberty Cafe.

Then it was time to head over to Ellis Island, another spot to grab a stamp. We spent plenty of time walking through the displays they had thoughtfully put together in rooms that immigrants had used for the different processing stations on their way into the new world. It was amazing to see what they had to go through to be allowed into the US more than a century ago.

On our way out to find my mom’s parents’ names on the memorial wall, it started to storm. So most of the visitors stayed huddled in the main lobby of the main building. Once the storm passed, we were able to find my grandparents’ names.

To save the time of a trip from New Jersey to New York, we had grabbed the ferry back to Battery Park at the south tip of Manhattan. The trip across was uneventful until we pulled up to the dock. Waves were striking the side of the ship and forcing the hull into the pier. Every wave sent a jolt through the deck and all of us were hanging for our dear lives on every wave. The river finally settled down enough for us to disembark safely. Then it started to rain again.

We grabbed our third stamp of the day at Clinton Castle, just a few feet from where we got off the ferry. We stopped at the Seaglass carousel and found plenty of interesting statues on our way out of Battery Park on our way to Wall Street.

We walked up Wall Street to get a photo of the big golden bull that represents the financial capital of the world. There were two lines. One to get a photo with the bull’s horns and one to get a photo of the bull’s balls. Guess which one was longer. We decided we didn’t want to wait in either so we headed to our first of three cemeteries for the trip.

The small cemetery that surrounds Trinity Church is the final resting place of a few famous figures in history. Most notably is Alexander Hamilton, whose life is now the subject of a famous Broadway play. One Karen and I saw in Cleveland earlier this year. As you circled the cemetery, there were some small signs with the history of some of the more interesting inhabitants.

Just a short walk up the street was where the Twin Towers used to stand. The entire area has been turned into a beautiful memorial to those who died on 9/11/2001. We circled the entire first fountain looking for the name of Karen’s cousin. We couldn’t find it and were ready to leave when Karen realized there was a second fountain for building two. We were three quarters of the way around that one before we found the name of Edward York.

While we still had time before our dinner reservations, we needed some quick fuel, a cold drink, and someplace to rest our feet for a while. We found this quaint pizza place that fit the bill. But it was just an appetizer.

In order to find our train from where we were to where we wanted to be, we walked through the first and lower floors of both the new World Trade Center and the Oculus, one of the weirdest designed buildings I’ve ever seen. We found our way onto the subway train and it wasn’t long before we discovered we were going the wrong way. It was one of the only circles we ended up doing the entire trip. (Karen and my theme song is Bing Crosby’s “Going Around In Circles…going nowhere.”)

Once we got on the correct train, we took it all the way to Times Square.
There we had dinner at a restaurant that quickly became among my favorites the first time I was there in 2015, and the THREE times I’ve visited their restaurant in Las Vegas. I was looking forward to the chicken Parmesan, the chicken Parmesan I measure all other Chicken Parmesans against. Karen has called it her favorite too since we visited the Las Vegas location in 2021. And we weren’t disappointed.

We ended the feast with authentic New York Cheesecake from Junior’s across the street. Then it was back to the hotel.

We cut our walking back a bit to a little over 13 miles for the day.

You can read the experiences of the rest of our trip below.

February to June 12

Planning and the road out We started planning our New York City trip for June in early February. Maybe the cold still had our brains half frozen, because the first mistake was our choice of motels. Not sure how it happened, but when we checked the address, we realized...


Just how far did we walk? It was a beautiful day for a walk. With lots of walking before lunch. And more walking after. My teenage daughter didn’t like it. Oh well. She was warned…in February. One of the few things we bought timed tickets for was to get into the...


From a river view to 850 feet To make sure we got to the dock in time, we took a Lyft from the motel to the Circle Line Tours. This was something I had done with the band on that 1979 trip and was really looking forward to sharing it with Karen and Sofia. We thought...

Friday and Trip Home

Bridge Walk and the Ride Home We woke up about an hour later than we wanted to, but we didn’t have anything scheduled so we weren’t missing anything. But it did get us going a little later than we wanted to, which would cause issues later. It was mostly cloudy with a...