Monday, June 23, 2008

NYC trip, final part:

It's been four weeks since we got back from New York, so I wanted to wrap up this report. Since it's been so long, I'll just hit the highlights that I haven't covered already.

Ellis Island: After leaving the Statue of Liberty, we took the ferry over to Ellis Island. My one regret on this trip is that we didn't get to spend more time here. As a family that has been deeply affected by immigration, it was really moving to see what people a century ago went through to get to the promised land of America. My favorites were the movie which detailed the experience, including period video and photos and interviews with people who actually passed through Ellis Island; along with the section which detailed the process people went though to get through immigration, from getting off the ship to the ferry that took them to Manhattan and eventually wherever they planned to settle. The kids were fascinated with the displays of items that people took to the U.S. from their homelands. Clothes, musical instruments, toys, tools and a multitude of other items were on display.

I think if I were to go back there in the next few years I would skip the Statue of Liberty entirely and go directly to Ellis Island so that I could spend more time going through this museum.

American Museum of Natural History: Amazingly, I had never visited this museum. The number one impression I got was that it is huge. We spent over five hours there and we really only got to skim over a lot of things.

In a bit of good timing, an exhibit on horses had opened just a week before our visit. Since horses are pretty much R.'s favorite thing in the universe, she was very excited about this. It was a pretty interesting exhibit, covering just about everything you would want to know about horses: evolution, biology, domestication, use in warfare, etc. We spent about an hour on this alone, and R. probably would have happily spent at least twice as much time.

The highlight for me was the Hayden Planetarium. It's an amazing, state of the art place. The show we saw, Cosmic Collisions was breathtaking. I would love to get back there again.

We spent fair amounts of time with the dinosaurs, the hall of minerals, the Hall of Ocean Life (with a life-size whale model suspended from the ceiling) and in a few other spots, but by around 3:00 we were pretty beat. We could have easily spent all day in this place and still not seen everything.

Brooklyn: The former home of the Dodgers is also home to A.'s cousins, so we took the subway over to visit them on Monday morning before going home. They took us over to Prospect Park, a beautiful place in the middle of the borough. The kids were fascinated by a guy who was fishing (catch & release) in a nearby pond. I have never been able to figure out their fascination with fishing; I find it about as interesting as watching paint dry. From there we wandered over to the Prospect Park Zoo, a cool little place with a few nice animal exhibits. It's no Roger Williams, but it was certainly interesting enough to keep the kids entertained for an hour or so before we went back to the cousins house for lunch. We did see a fight between two gibbons, who actually seemed pretty ticked off at each other.

After lunch we said our goodbyes and headed back to the hotel. We grabbed our luggage, took a cab back to Grand Central and caught the train back to New Haven. The whole trip went really well and we're looking forward to going back and taking in some more of the sights sometime.


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