Surprisingly, the trip to Jersey City started out rough but ended up being pretty painless...once we got through with the aggravation and traffic. My plan was to hit the road early – let's say before 9:00 – which we did, and actually pulled out of the campground about 10 minutes early and after a very aggravating fuel stop, we were onward – slowly – through Maryland, into Delaware then New Jersey.
The traffic up to crossing the Delaware River at Wilmington was miserable. We had numerous episodes of stop and crawl...thank God we are traveling on Saturday...and I'm confident that we would still be in Maryland if this was a weekday. But after Wilmington the traffic lightened up and the Jersey Turnpike was, for the most part, one of the better stretches of road we have been on in a long time. Well, until we got near Newark, then the potholes and divots took over and we bounced off of the NJT onto I-78, then east to Jersey City with only a mild spleen bruise and a pesky nosebleed.
The Liberty Harbor RV Park & Marina, our home for the next 6 nights, is bleak. That is the best word I can use to describe it. It is very crowded, all asphalt and gravel and well, it's in Jersey City. But it is the closest campground to NYC and since that's where they play professional baseball around here, we are gonna have to suck it up and tolerate the environment till Friday.
We squeezed into our spot – we are VERY close to our neighbors – had a little lunch then took off to walk the streets of Jersey City. Yep, that's right. We wandered the streets near the campground to find the train station in preparation for tomorrow's trek to Yankee Stadium, then down to the banks of the Hudson River to take a gander at the Manhattan skyline to the east and the Statue of Liberty to the south. At no point did we feel uncomfortable or unsafe, but it is still Jersey City so there will probably be no trekking after dark.
Sunday was game day #1 in The Big Gigantic Apple. We left the campground about 10:30 and walked north along Marin Boulevard to the PATH train station at Columbus Avenue. After staring at the ticket machine for a few seconds we were able to figure out what we needed, got our re-loadable METRO card and passed through the turnstile to wait for the train to 33rd Street. The trip from Jersey City, under the Hudson River to the 33rd Street Station in Manhattan was pretty easy, then we walked up some stairs and down some ramps to jump on the NYC subway system “D” train to 161st Street in the Bronx, across the street from Yankee Stadium.
In my opinion, this Yankee Stadium would have to fall into the unimpressive category. Nothing about the design, food or views made us say “Wow”. I understand that they modeled this one after the original so they were going after a certain look – I guess that makes it tough going for something new. The food choices didn't thrill us – the typical hot dogs, sausages, nachos, cheese steaks – just nothing, again that was a “Wow”. Other than the prices – they were definitely “Wow”, but not a good “Wow”. They are obviously very proud of their food. We have no complaints about the weather though. It got into the low 80's with a bright sun and good breeze so overall it was pretty good. However we did move into the shade in the 5th inning in left field and that was a good call.
We are now down to 5 parks to go, and if the plan doesn't get derailed we will be down to 4 after Thursday afternoon when we go watch the Mets play at Citi Field. That will leave only Boston, Toronto, Oakland and Houston to finish all 30 parks. For some glaringly obvious reasons, Oakland and Houston will not be in our near future.
Monday started out noisily thanks to the construction site on one side of us and the horns of the ferries leaving the marina for their trip across the Hudson to Lower Manhattan on the other. Oh well, we had to wake up sometime.
We had a 1:00 lunch date with Michele's childhood friend Janie at her condo at the corner of Columbus and Marin, a short 15 minute walk from the campground. We met her son Alexander, had some lunch, gabbed a bit, and took a tour of the complex. We also made plans for dinner for Tuesday night with her and her husband Richard, then we had to leave for our short PATH train ride under the Hudson River for today's touristy thing.
We had purchased tickets to see the 9/11 Museum at the site of the original World Trade Center. The museum is terrific...a ton of artifacts from the towers, personal effects, and stories from eyewitnesses make for an interesting but also very emotional exhibit. The museum is actually below street level and to me, a very impressive thing is how they display the foundation and footprint of the original towers as you walk through. Unfortunately, they don't allow pictures in the area with the huge amount of personal effects and historical items that took the most time to walk through.
We had figured to do the museum in about an hour, then get tickets to go to the observation level of the new tower, but since we ended up spending over 2½ hours looking at the displays we ran out of time but it was well worth it – we highly recommend it if you ever get the chance.