NJ, NY, PA National Park Units

October 29, 2021

10/1 F – revisited Morristown NHP in northern NJ– see Blog for August 2016.  It was the site of winter camps for American Revolutionary forces in 1777 and 1779.  Fort Nonsense was built in 1777.

British were 30-miles away in New York City

Jockey Hollow Winter Encampment 1779-80, one of the worst Winters on record.

Wick Farm

Sons of Saint Patrick

Sons of Saint Patrick

Ford Mansion, Washington’s Headquarters Winter of 1779-80

We stayed with Helen’s cousin in West Orange NJ and visited family cemeteries

10/2 Sat – My BIG day in NYC.  My list of must take items included: itinerary, Ferry reservations, COVID vaccination documentation, backpack, Gore-Tex jacket, camera, tripod, sandwich, snacks, water, NYC map, Subway map, face mask, and sanitizer.

6:45am – I drove to the Harrison Station for the NJ PATH train into the Oculus below the World Trade Center (WTC) in NYC; then walked to Fulton Station and took the Green Line #5 to Bowling Green Station near Battery Park on the tip of Manhattan.  From there it was a short walk to Castle Clinton NM for a repeat visit; see Blog for August 2018.

I checked in with Statue City Cruises at 9am for the 9:30am (first) ferry to Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty NM.  My senior reserve ticket for the Pedestal self-tour cost $18.30.  I had taken ferries around Liberty Island on two occasions, and we visited as a family in 1986, taking the ferry from Liberty Park in NJ to the island.  Note the Twin Towers in the first photo.

Helen and I visited again in 2003 during our 35th wedding anniversary celebration in NYC.

Photo leaving Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan

I was blessed with a beautiful day

I was one of the first ones off the ferry making my way to the security check-in for the pedestal level of the statue.

In 1986, I was able to take the circular staircase to the crown.  That opportunity was not available today.

Photo of NYC, including Governors Island on the right, from the Pedestal.  My head blocks out part of the Brooklyn Bridge.

Liberty’s Classical Origins

Here are three photos taken in the Visitor Center

I caught the ferry to Ellis Island, which is now part of the NM

In 2003, we searched the archives here and found information on Helen’s grandparents immigration to the U.S. in 1905.

Baggage Room

Registry Room

It was a 10-minute ferry ride back to Battery Park and then a 15-minute walk to the Battery Maritime Building to catch the noon ferry to Governors Island NM.  See Blog for August 2018 for our first visit here.   Castle Williams (1811) was one of several forts built to defend NYC.

After returning to Manhattan, I walked by Fraunces Tavern (1719) on my way to Federal Hall.  It served as a headquarters for George Washington, as a venue for peace negotiations with the British, and as housing for federal offices in the early Republic.  Washington gave an emotional farewell to his officers here on December 4, 1783.  It was the site of a 1975 bombing by Puerto Rican nationals that killed four people.  It is now a restaurant/bar. 

Frederick Samuel Tallmadge, a member of “Sons of the Revolution,” willed the money for a 1907 renovation of the building.  I like the quote on his plaque, “To Live in Hearts We Leave Behind is Not to Die.”

Federal Hall N MEM, NY Stock Exchange on left – see Blog for August 2018 to see photos taken inside

Walked to the Wall St Station of the Green Line and took the #4 train to the Brooklyn Br. City Hall Station.  I had to walk through a large Pro Women’s Choice Demonstration to get to the African Burial Ground NM.  We had been here in August 2018 (see Blog) but it was then under construction

I then walked to the Chamber St Station and took the Brown J line to Delancey St Station on the Lower East Side.  It was then a short walk to the Lower East Side Tenement NHS (Affiliated).  Helen and I did the “Irish Outsiders” tour here in August 2018 (see Blog).  This neighborhood was the home to an estimated 15,000 people, from over 20 nations, between 1863 and 2011. The Museum has two historical tenement buildings, 97 and 103 Orchard Street, that it uses to give tours describing immigrant lives.

I took the J Line back to the Chamber St Station and switched to the Green Line #6 to the 23rd St Station.  On June 6, 2003, Helen and I toured the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace NHS during our 35th wedding anniversary trip to NYC.  It is a recreated (1923) brownstone at 28 East 20th Street, between Broadway and Park Avenue South, in the Flatiron District of Manhattan.  It is a replica of the birthplace and childhood home of the 26th President.  I returned to take some photos of the building, which was not open because of the pandemic.

Walked to the 14 St Union Square Station and took the subway back to the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall Station.  I have wanted to walk the Brooklyn Bridge (completed in 1875) for decades.  Well, I finally got to do it.  It is called the Brooklyn Bridge Promenade.

It was a long walk from Brooklyn to the World Trade Center (WTC)

Freedom Tower

The above ground section of the WTC Transportation Hub was designed to represent “a bird being released from a child’s hand.”

I returned to the Oculus to catch the PATH train back to NJ.

I checked my phone at the end of the day and discovered I had walked over 11-miles and ascended 51 floors!

10/3 Sun – attended a Russian Orthodox church service with Alisa and Christina and returned to Fairmount Cemetery in Newark to find Helen’s grandparents grave but were unable to find it despite knowing section and plot numbers.  There were no signs, diagrams, or maps available and the graves in that section were totally overgrown with grass.

10/4 M – It took 1.5-hours and driving through rush hour traffic (over the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge) to get to the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway NRA.   We had already visited the Sandy Hook (NJ) and Staten Island Units in August 2016 (see Blog).  The Ryan Visitor Center at Floyd Bennett Field was not open due to the COVID pandemic, but we were able to tour the site.  This was NYC’s first municipal airport.

Our main objective here was to hike to Breezy Point, that is on a peninsula that sticks out into the Atlantic Ocean.  Sandy Hook NJ is opposite this location.  All maritime traffic to and from NYC passes between these two points.  The hike was about 2-miles round trip.

Collecting more shells, though overcast, it was a very enjoyable morning.

Not so enjoyable, was when I slipped on the breakwater and gashed my leg on the rocks.

Fort Tilden was closed but we were able to visit Jacob Riis Park

Jamaica Bay

We visited Fire Island NS (National Seashore) on Long Island in August 2018 (see Blog).  Today, we visited the William Floyd Estate in Mastic Beach NY, which is a unit of Fire Island NS.

William Floyd, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, was born in the house in 1734 and it was his home until 1803.  In 1976 William Floyd’s great-great-granddaughter and her children donated the house to the NPS. The home reflects over 200 years of change.

Trail to Home

Many family additions and changes to the home over 200 years

Floyd Family Cemetery

Gen. William Floyd (1734-1821) marker, slaves were buried on the other side of the fence

We stopped at Sagamore Hill NHS on Long Island for some photos on our way to Saratoga Springs NY for dinner with our friends Terry and Barry.  We did the house tour here in August 2018 (see Blog).  It was the summer home of Theodore Roosevelt.

A Thoroughly Modern Home

We stayed the night in Albany NY

10/5 Tu – on our way to our next stop we happened to pass Martin Van Buren NHS.  I had been here in August 2014 (see Blog) but Helen had not.  So, we stopped so she could walk the grounds and do the house tour.

Van Buren (1782-1862) was our 8th President – Home Tour

Van Buren Bedroom
Pullout Couch

A half hour later we were driving up the hill to Olana, the estate of artist Frederic Church (1826-1900).  It is in Greenport outside the city of Hudson NY.  Frederick was a student of Thomas Cole and a major figure in the Hudson River School of landscape painting.  Olana is a NY State Historic Site.

Church and his wife Isabel created Olana with Persian motifs, though neither had been to Iran.

Scenic Trails

Hudson River Valley

We then drove across the river to Thomas Cole NHS (An Affiliated NP Unit).  Helen and I had done the tour here in October 2017 (see Blog) and returned today for a few more photographs.

We were going to do the Hudson River Skywalk, which is a 3-mile walk between the Cole and Church homes, however we did not have enough time. 

The Rip Van Winkle Bridge (about 1-mile long, opened in 1935) is a major link between the two sides of the river

In order to get a bit of the Skywalk experience, I dropped Helen off at the Catskill NY side of the bridge, then drove to the other side, parked, and started walking toward her until we met.

This was Helen’s Day, so we visited thrift and consignment stores in Hudson NY before driving south to revisit the Vanderbilt Mansion NHS.  We did the house tour here in November 2017 (see Blog).  Today we spent time in the Vanderbilt Pavilion, which serves as the Visitor Center.

And then toured the grounds

As mentioned, it was Helen’s Day.  So, we left in time to get to the Hyde Park consignment store (before it closed), where she filled the car in 2017.  Today she bought some odds and ends, frames for her stitching creations, and a wicker table.

Stayed the night in a nice comp suite at the new Sleep Inn in Monroe NY. 

10/6 W – It took about 2hrs to get to Steamtown NHS in Scranton PA.  See our Blog for August 2016 for pictures from our first visit. 

I was surprised that they had moved locomotives around since our first visit – that must have been some chore!  For example, they moved the “Big Boy” Union Pacific from the railyard, gave it a cosmetic restoration, and placed it in front of the Visitor Center. 

They moved the Reading RR locomotives to the railyard track where the Big Boy had been

They changed and rearranged the locomotives and cars in the roundhouse and placed the Illinois Central locomotive on the turntable.

They also added the E. J. Lavino and Co. engine

I again enjoyed going through the railroad collection and displays.  I would go back!

The Mail Must Go Through

Operation of Steam Engine

The railroad yard contains many old trains.  Tracks in the yard are still used by the Delaware, Lackawana and Western Railroad

Finished the trip with an 8hr drive to Springfield OH

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