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Saturday, June 28

New York New York (On the Town)

New York, New York, a wonderful town;  The Bronx is up, but the Battery's down.
The people ride in a hole in the groun';  New York, New York, it's a wonderful town!
-On the Town (1944)
We drove to New Rochelle, NY and (after driving around in a circle for 45 minutes) took the Metro into New York City for an unplanned day of fun and adventure!  (Note the word "unplanned," as it will lead to a very important lesson...)  We had exactly half a day to see as much of NYC as possible!

The Metro pulled into Grand Central Station, and suddenly the boys understood what I mean when I occasionally answer the phone "Grand Central."  The ceiling, painted with constellations, is very beautiful, and the architecture so lavish and meticulously detailed, that I dare you NOT to take pictures.  We researched the history of Grand Central on the train ride in.
Our first stop in the city was probably not the most traditional.  Being NASA Passport members, we wanted to make sure to hit the Sea, Air, and Space Museum, so we snagged a taxi driven by the one of the least friendly people I've ever met.  I'm not sure he spoke English, as we had to give him instructions three or four different ways.  And the music was some sort of eastern-European vibe...possibly Ukranian?  But we got there...alive.
At the museum, we found Skipper , from the movie Planes , as well as many other aircraft from our various military branches.  My son's favorites were the Blue Angels and the Coast Guard helicopter.  He's convinced that his aunt and uncle (who are Coasties) fly these helicopters to rescue people, despite our dissuasion. 
Looking for cooler temperatures, we left the flight deck of the USS Intrepid and went inside the exhibit gallery to see the space shuttle Enterprise.  We had a chance to speak with some former astronauts and compare all of the space shuttles we had visited in the past year.  The last section of the museum was the Growler submarine, but there was a promotion happening and we were unable to get into the tour.
We decided to go see that great American landmark, the Statue of Liberty!  Unfortunately, again, we were unable to get tickets to see her.  The next available tickets were for late September!!  Luckily, a local overheard our quandary and made an alternative, and free, suggestion.  So we hopped aboard the Staten Island Ferry and got to at least ride by and wave hello to Lady Liberty.
 
On the return ride, we found a little corner of the boat that wasn't cramped with people who have a very different understanding of "personal space."  This was the most relaxing, enjoyable part of our trip to the city.  For half an hour, we drank in the sights and sounds of the city, without feeling walked upon and overwhelmed.
We might joke that us on our first trip to New York City was a bit like the Clampetts going to town, but it was a little much trying to wing it for a day trip to the city.  We weren't able to get into the Empire State Building tour, or many of the other places we wanted to see, mostly because we didn't plan ahead.  Spontaneous trips have their place and time, but this wasn't it.
This photo, taken on the subway, pretty much sums up how we were all feeling as we left the big city.  Hot, tired, and generally irritated - it's what we encountered all day; it must be contagious. 
Our lesson learned - national landmarks require considerable planning ahead.  We plan to visit the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia next week; hopefully, we'll be able to get in!

New York City unit :
Videos of some of the places we were unable to get into....let's take the virtual tour together!
USS Intrepid - Growler Submarine

Ellis Island

Empire State Building

A few years back, my baby sister won a contest and had the privilege of being married at the top of the Empire State Building.  It was on such short notice, that none of our family was able to attend, but it still makes a good story!  We all had a great time at their 'second wedding' a few months later.
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