New York, New York


We used to live in the city; returning there is always special. Returning with an RV and two small children is extra special.

One of the things I loved about living in New York was the daily challenge. Nothing comes cheap or easy in New York. With two children in tow, the challenge factor is raised exponentially. Even getting to a train platform becomes a back-pat worthy challenge.

We stayed across the river in Jersey City, New Jersey; or as they like to claim, the sixth burrow (I guess if Staten Island counts...). But to the point, yes, there is an RV park within a mile of lower Manhattan -- right on the water, no less. For our week in New York, Bernadette was situated with views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, Governors Island, Manhattan, and Jersey City, New Jersey.

I may have mentioned that I used to live in New York. A bit of wisdom I picked up even before moving to New York was this: do not drive in New York. Trains, planes, buses, skates, scooters, bikes, and, of course, feet are all valid means. Even an occasional taxi is okay since their universally foreign drivers have been somewhat desensitized to the horrors of New York (and vicinity) driving by milder violence such as war, genocide, apartheid, torture, pandemic disease, and slavery. Suffice, I was not looking forward to driving the rig from New Haven to Jersey.

To my great benefit and your loss of vicarious schadenfreude, we made it to our Jersey trailer park destination without incident. Our toll wad was large enough, traffic light enough, and navigation excellent enough to make every turn needed. For those unfamiliar with the geography of the region, this trip started in Connecticut, descended into New York State, entered New York City via the Bronx, crossed em-effing Manhattan then the Hudson River via the George Washington Bridge, and wove through the post-industrial wasteland and toll-gauntlet (quagmire?) of New Jersey, before descending onto the surface streets of Jersey City where, had I not known otherwise, would not have believed that a big-ass truck pulling an even bigger trailer would be viable. Had any indiscretions of directions been made, I am confident that catastrophe of one form or another would have befallen us, but the drive turned out to be boring old perfection. Yawn I felt high from the sudden absence of anxiety once we pulled into the RV park.

Evenings in the city were spent with friends and family, but we did have some weekday days where it was just the four of us. I would rate the act of traveling into New York City with two small children (who need naps) via public transportation as "advanced" or "high challenge". My biceps are back to show quality from carrying offspring miles at a time.

This seems like a good spot to deliver gushing praise for our New York crew. We ate painfully spicy Szechuan; danced contra with a diverse Brooklyn crowd; were hosted at beautiful and warm homes; and were otherwise treated as if we had not left. Thank you, NYC pals. We are rich for knowing you and humbled by your generosity.

One last thing about New York: the Freedom Tower is an enormous and powerful monster of a building that already dominates the city despite remaining under construction. I see this as neither good nor bad, but nonetheless markedly different from the solemn hole in the ground that existed during my NYC tenure and emblematic of the static pace of change in the city. For me, being in New York is like getting slapped with hot defibrillator paddles.

Posted 2013-11-12 by Pete Grayson in misc.
travelog pics