The Big Apple – from Allentown, PA

New York City as seen from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building

Our sole purpose of staying in Allentown was to avoid getting any closer to New York City than we had to with the bus, and to have a sure-fire way of routing around it using interstate bypasses without taking I-95. We figured we would get enough traffic to contend with by simply driving in and out of New York City and New Jersey in the car.

There is no shortage of people in New York. This is 34th and Broadway, pretty much a couple blocks from Times Square. My compadres from CommScope will certainly recognize that small cell enclosure on the lamp post. Activity on that enclosure was about the last thing I saw in my career

We opted to stay at the Allentown KOA. Aside from finding that the drainage ran right by our front door, it was fine. It was very picturesque and the owners pleasant. The front desk lady sounded just like my aunt Joan, with her thick Philly accent.

We spent a couple of nights in NYC at the Hilton Garden Inn off 8th and 48th. It was super close to Times Square and cost half what the Marriott Marquis did. I used to stay at the Marquis frequently, but that was when I had an expense account. At upwards of $800 a night, I won’t be staying there again.

Our first stop in NYC was the Empire State Building. Well, technically, it was our second stop, since we ate first
Looking north from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. You can see Central Park just beyond the buildings
Looking west over the Hudson River and into New Jersey
Looking south toward Lower Manhattan. You can see One World Trade Center at the very tip of the island
Looking northeast from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building. You can see the Chrysler Building in the upper right corner

Our first day in New York was spent visiting the Empire State Building. We only went to the 86th floor because the case for spending another $40 to go up an additional 20 floors wasn’t compelling. The views were very nice, as you can see. Before we set out, we had lunch at the Playwright Celtic Pub. My pesto chicken sandwich was good, but Alayne’s Reuben was only so-so.

The throngs start to emerge at Times Square come sunset
We started the night out having sunset cocktails on the 40th floor restaurant at the Marriott Marquis Times Square
While the views at The View are pretty good, the place is a bit pricey. Once beyond 8 p.m., they charge a $16 cover charge, regardless of when you actually arrived. But, you don’t get to do this on an everyday, so you suck up the entry fee and enjoy your time there
There is no shortage of lit signage in Times Square, as well as people and vehicles

The first night out, we did visit the Marriott Marquis to enjoy sunset cocktails in their rotating restaurant named The View, which is on the 40th floor. It was very nice, but not cheap. Once past 8 p.m., they charge a $16 per person cover charge. You’d think for that sort of money they would at least keep the windows clean. Nevertheless, it was a very nice evening that was topped off with an excellent nuevo-Mexican meal at Toloache. My miso-tequila brazed cod was delicious, as was Alayne’s seafood tumbada with lobster, crab and other goodies. We also enjoyed a Hamachi ceviche appetizer.

Unfortunately, the weather was not as cooperative as the first day during our second day in The Big Apple. You can see One World Trade Center here on the left
Here’s a shot of our approach into Liberty Island


Although it is difficult to see a hint of disgust in this photograph, Alayne absolutely loved being packed like a sardine with 1,000 other people on the ferry. I tried to point out that her stocking feet were walking on the hallowed ground of millions as she passed through security, but that didn’t appease her

Our second day in NYC was spent going to Liberty and Ellis islands as well as seeing the World Trade Center memorial. I’ll let the captions for the memorial speak for themselves, and if I ever catch my granddaughter acting like that (which I most certainly don’t expect), she’ll have cause to remember that moment for the rest of her life.

This is a view of Ellis Island as you pass by it on your way to Liberty Island
It’s hard to get a real good shot of the Ellis Island arrivals building unless you can walk on water and are about 30 feet tall. That’s because the front is occupied by a large marina designed to hold ships as they unload their passengers
This is Annie Moore, the first person to be processed at Ellis Island. She was an Irish immigrant who arrived in 1892
The Great Hall (receiving hall) at Ellis Island. Twelve million people passed through these walls between 1892 and 1954
You can see Lower Manhattan through the window panes
If your ancestors arrived at Ellis Island, they might have worn something like this
. . . or, something like this . . .
. . . or, something like this
While it would be easy for me lay claim to an attachment of Ellis Island, I really don’t recall the names of any of the Kemps listed here. My grandfather’s name was Ellis. But whether that’s simply coincidence or there’s something there, I can’t say for sure

During our second night in NYC, we mainly hung out in Times Square. The weather wasn’t super-cooperative as you might notice by the umbrellas. Nonetheless, we enjoyed it and capped the evening off with a modern Italian dinner at Becco’s. I’d been there before, and knew the food was good. It’s so good that Christian Slater was eating behind us the first time I was there (as if his taste in fine dining could somehow rival my own).

The very sad memorial and tribute located at the original location of The Twin Towers. I’m sure anyone 30 years or older can recall watching the horrific acts that morning on September 11, 2001. This is location of Tower 2 if I recall. If not, I apologize
Here’s a close-up of the new One World Trade Center
I hope to hell I never catch my granddaughter behaving like this. I gave one older woman who should have known better the stink eye for nearly sitting on what, for all intents, are grave markers. But she smirked as if to say, “What’s the problem?”
I made a passing remark to this one about his absolute ignorance, but do you think he understood? Please folks: raise your children to have some respect, decency, and common courtesy

And there you have it. Lots of sightseeing, and fine dining as usual.

Just another Times Square picture because they are very busy and colorful
The weather wasn’t cooperating our second night in NYC, as you can see by the umbrellas
You can’t have NYC without a Deli. This one was just across the street from our hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn on 48th and 8th

Following what felt like a very short week, we were off to our next stop.

This was our campsite at the KOA Allentown, Pennsylvania
KOAs usually don’t disappoint. This was the bridge over their little creek to the tent sites
The tent sites at the KOA Allentown, PA

That’s the report. Catch up with you in Connecticut.

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