Monday, June 13, 2016 – A dream of a lifetime came true today! We visited New York City! This blog post may be long or may become two or three blog posts. I want this to be a time of sharing what we saw and did. Also a place that can be referenced by others when they plan a similar trip because there is so much to know to get around well here. We found out how very little we knew of this city and the surrounding areas today and want to pass that along to ya’ll.
First, here’s our updated map showing all the states we’ve traveled to or through in our RV travels since 2012. We have traveled to and through West Virginia many years ago but not in our RV, so it’s still empty but it will be covered during this year’s trip.
Now on to New York City. The area we all call New York City is just a tiny portion of the huge area that is the city. The borough of Manhattan (purple area on the map) is the one most folks refer to as New York City. It is the geographically smallest and most densely populated borough.
There is a website that describes clearly the five boroughs that make up New York (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island.) This is a link to it: New York Boroughs
If I had unlimited funds so that I could buy a large place right next to Central Park I just might want to live in New York City. Since none of that is ever going to happen, I truly believe I could never live in New York City, at my age. Perhaps as a younger, more energetic and ambitious woman it might have worked. Just my thoughts, you’re experience may be quite different when you actually come here.
Today I’m going to write about all the transportation it took to get to Manhattan, through Manhattan and Staten Island and then back home in Mountain Dale, NY. I know ya’ll probably want me to get straight to the photos (hundreds) we took. I haven’t even started to sift through them but that will be next.
TRUCK: Boots, our truck, took us the 30 minute drive from Mountain Dale to Millertown, NY. There is also a Millertown, NJ, which confused some of our traveling later on in the day.
TRAIN: We purchased a parking ticket ($1.25) for Boots to park in the parking lot, and round trip tickets ($18.00)on the NJ Transit (why it is New Jersey and not NY since it goes all through NY I don’t know!) We paid a reduced fare for the train because of our age!! Only problem was when two tickets came out I left the machine, only to find out on the return home that the return trip ticket came out after, and someone else probably got it!!
It was a fast train, very comfortable and made local stops. The train conductor was very much what we thought a New Yorker could be – not kind, rude, short answers. We found throughout the day that New Yorkers are not all like that. He even got in a word fight with a black man right in front of us. A white man behind them calmed things down but I wanted to punch the conductor for being so mean. Before that we asked this conductor if we were on the right train to go to Penn Station. He said yes and you have to get off at what sounded to me like Caucus (you know that weird thing some states do) and transfer to a Penn Station train. I asked him what is Caucus and he gave an explanation that we didn’t understand.
Still kind of confused we asked this really nice couple who sat in front of us if they were getting off at Caucus which by that time we found was C Caucus (actually spelled Secaucus). Secaucus Junction is a major commuter rail hub in Secaucus, New Jersey. The confusion of all this was setting in and this great couple helped us SO MUCH!! Here’s Joe and Judy!
They walked with us through Secaucus Junction and on to the next train to Penn Station. We sat behind them on that train and when we got to Penn Station they pointed out several things helping us understand it a bit better. Penn Station is a huge place much like a major airport concourse and is located underneath the Madison Square Gardens building. We parted there with them even giving us their phone number in case we needed it throughout the day. Thanks Joe and Judy for being kind to us while we traveled! God was definitely watching over us that day!
SUBWAYS: Joe and Judy showed us that we needed to be on the 1, 2, or 3 subway where my research said take the 4 or 5. Yes there are many numbered subways, many named subway stations, many letter named subways (like A, B, C). We got on the 3 Train to go to the Wall Street station to see Wall Street, Broadway, all the September 11, 2001 buildings and pools. We got off, asked two people for directions and finally got there.
WALKING: We walked around for a long time, asking for directions as we went. Our GPS was no help having us go in circles a couple of times. Next we wanted to get to the Staten Island Ferry which is at the southern tip of Manhattan at Battery Park. We planned to take the subway but a man told us that walking was fine. So up we went out of the subway and walked A LONG WAY there to find out that the Staten Island Ferry building is huge as is the Ferry.
View of the Staten Island Ferry building from on board the ferry prior to landing.
FERRY: It’s free and runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! The Staten Island Ferry took us (and around 1,000 others) from Manhattan to Staten Island. Everyone had to get off of that boat and wait in line again to go back to Manhattan.
SUBWAY: On the way back from the ferry we found out that there IS a subway station at the Ferry and got on it to go back to Penn Station, line 1. When we got off the subway (and I will tell you more about what the subway was like – I even used the bathroom there – NEVER EVER EVER again.) we asked a street hotdog vendor for help where Penn Station was. They showed us Madisyn Square Gardens and we remembered Joe and Judy telling us Penn Station (Pennsylvania Station) was underneath Madisyn Square Gardens so there we went. By this time people were getting off work, and in droves they went into Penn Station.
TRAIN: At Penn Station we asked directions from one of the staff who informed us that we needed the second set of tickets (the ones left in the machine). Since we didn’t have them we had to purchase more tickets (another $16.00 for some reason – we were within minutes of missing the train so we didn’t look into why it was so much). This is where we found out there is also a Millertown, NJ. We ran (yes imagine us running) to gate 10 and made it just as the train was pulling in. This train was packed but we did find a place to sit with two men who thought their booksacks could stay in the other seat, but no, us old folks needed to sit.
We had to transfer to what, by this time, we knew was Secaucus Junction. Got on another train headed to Millertown, NY. A young lady resident of the area got on the wrong train, sitting across from us. This showed us it is confusing for even the locals. We were pretty comatose by that time and the train ride seemed to go on forever even though it was an express from Secaucus to Harriman. After Harriman, we counted three stops before our final destination of Millertown, NY.
DRIVING: Seeing our wonderful Boots waiting for us we were so relieved! We drove (Roy and I both pretty much in a trance) back to our RV park.
I realize now that all my research and planning did no good because we didn’t have a clue how it was all really laid out. Also I must have been looking at a really small map when thinking Mountaindale was within 30 minutes of Manhattan (more like over 2 hours).
In summary, we took two ferry rides, three subway rides, four train rides, and two rides in our truck Boots. If we would have stayed in Manhattan this whole blog post would be much shorter!!! We do now understand the subway and train system much much better than before. There is an app for the NJ Transit system and one for the NY subway system. That helped a bit and I would recommend getting those.
Here’s the maps we tried to use:
Click here to see the Subway map.
Our phones both were dead by the end of the visit to Manhattan (NYC) so we’re investing in a second battery for our phones to use in the future. Even though we took a lot of pictures we would have had more had we not needed to conserve the batteries.
Okay, so that’s part one of our New York City adventure! Many photos to come. I just had to get the traveling info out there before forgetting it!
Ya’ll come back now, ya’ hear!
Click on the links below to go there!
Wacky Wonderful Wednesdays published on Wednesdays
Some Things I Learned About Dementia published randomly