Liberty Harbor RV Park and Marina
Jersey City, New Jersey
And now for something completely different. The Trout family likes to travel with or without the Airstream. This year has taken us to a number of bigger cities including Los Angeles, Boston and Washington D.C. It is rather unusual to visit a large metropolitan area with the Airstream but that is just what we did at the end of our summer trip. Liberty Harbor RV Park and Marina is located in Jersey City, New Jersey in the shadows of Lower Manhattan and close to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It is basically a parking lot with hookups but the location cannot be beat for exploring the New York metro area.
There is no debate that a hotel is or an apartment rental is the best way to see a big city. Bringing an RV to New York is not without challenges. I decided to cross the Hudson well north of the city in Newburgh to avoid the tolls and traffic. The George Washington bridge toll for the Airstream is over forty dollars. Yikes. We arrived on a Friday after rush hour to avoid big backups. I towed for a couple of miles between barricades with very little room for error. I don't get stressed out easily when towing but this had my nerves fried. I certainly have earned my urban Airstream towing merit badge on this trip.
When you think of Jersey City, your thoughts are not pleasant. Our experience was that this is a dynamic area in the midst of a positive rebirth. The views from this area of Lower Manhattan are nothing short of incredible. There is construction of high end condos all around the marina where we stayed. Even the older parts look vibrant. There is a large Filipino population in Jersey City so Melizza was able to get a taste of home at some local restaurants.
The Liberty Harbor RV park is located adjacent to a marina. It was well managed and served our purposes. On weekdays, you can take the ferry from the harbor over to the Wall Street area during commuter hours. We visited on the weekend and simply walked five blocks to catch the subway. It takes you as far as 33rd street before requiring a transfer. You can also take a train into the new World Trade Center station. We used the train whenever we went into the city. It was clean, safe and convenient. Here are a few shots of the area.
|This photo shows old Jersey City with the rough bars like the Golden Cicada next to gleaming new condos to the right.|
On this trip, we did not really have an agenda except to explore some of the areas we skip over. We wanted to visit Hoboken and Brooklyn primarily. We have been to Manhattan many times and wanted to see something a bit different. However, the kids definitely wanted to get some Manhattan time. In typical Trout fashion, I walked my kids to death. There is not city on Earth like New York and even the tourist highlights are remarkable. Jack just wanted Shake Shack so we headed from the Macy's Store toward Times Square. The kids wanted to hit all of the familiar midtown landmarks like Rockefeller Center and Fifth Avenue. No matter how many times we visit, New York always delights with its energy.
|The revamped Plaza|
Meanwhile back in New Jersey, Maggie waited patiently for our return. She has visited Boston and D.C. with us this year in dog friendly hotels. Unlike Boston, dogs are not allowed on mass transit in New York. I made it up to her by taking her on long walks through Liberty State Park. This park is a short five minute walk from Liberty Harbor RV and is the best argument for staying here. It is a large park at over 1200 acres. The park is located along Upper New York Bay with great city and Statue of Liberty views from a unique perspective.
Here are a few pictures from Liberty State Park. It is hard not to feel a sense of pride gazing upon Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in the shadows of the Freedom Tower. This is truly a land of opportunity evidenced by those who have come here in the past for a better life and those who are still trying to make it here.
|The empty skies 9/11 Memorial. I love this shot of Melizza riding her bike.|
We also visited Hoboken, New Jersey with its fantastic view of Manhattan. Our primary purpose was to check out Carlo's Bakery from the Cake Boss show. We picked up some sweet treats and had a little picnic along the Hoboken waterfront.
On Saturday we headed for Brooklyn. After a heated argument with a lady who did not appreciate my son accidentally bumping into her, we got on the wrong train and ended up at Ground Zero. To my kids dismay we walked across Lower Manhattan and over the Brooklyn Bridge instead of taking the train. No matter how many times I walk that bridge, I just cannot get over those views.
After our crossing into DUMBO, we caught a cab that planted us in the heart of Williamsburg. We just wandered aimlessly and had an incredible meal at Zona Rosa. We are visiting Mexico City in the Spring and I hope the food is as good in the DF as it is in Brooklyn. The kitchen was also in a vintage aluminum trailer. Well played Brooklyn. We also happened upon the Momofuku Milk Bar. If you have never been to a David Chang restaurant, you are missing out. The Milk Bar is really about desserts. They have a Cereal Milk Ice Cream cup that is so damn good that it defies logic. They have captured the flavor of the bottom of a cereal bowl and mixed it with ice cream and toasted Corn Flakes. It should not be this good but it is genius.
|Dad, what is Tinder?|
We eventually made it back to Manhattan and I walked the kids from Union Square down through Little Italy to Chinatown. On the way, the kids loved perusing the shops. If you cannot find something you like in New York City, you have no interests. We picked up some school clothes, hit the Strand Book Store and marched the kids southward. Despite persistent protests, Melizza and I took the kids all the way down to Bowery Street to the Great New York Noodletown. This is a no frills Chinese restaurant that never changes. Melizza and I sneak this one in every time we are in the city. The roasted pork, steamed vegetables, shrimp noodles, fried shrimp and duck have been part of our New York experience long before we had children. I wouldn't change a thing including the impersonal service. That place is a gem.
|I can still carry him but his pride eventually took over. He is 11.|
|WE MADE IT!|
We eventually made our way back to Jersey City and hitched up to leave. Right as I was backing my Sequoia up, I notice a nail sticking out of my tire. This was around 6:30 on a Saturday night. Luckily we called AAA and the put my full size spare on. The kids slept in the Airstream in central Pennsylvania on Saturday night next to a giant Toyota tire on the floor. When traveling with three kids and a dog, flexibility is important. It was another grand adventure for us and I wouldn't change a moment. Now we must return home and prepare for the new school year.