New York is our next stop and one we have eagerly anticipated since the trip began in Alaska. Many people are surprised to find out New York ranks only 27th in land volume, while inhabiting the fourth most people. That makes the Empire State one of the truly urban States in the Union.
New York became the 11th state to ratify the United States Constitution, on July 26, 1788, and it has a rich Revolutionary history. It was where the Sons of Liberty organized in opposition to the Stamp Act imposed by Great Britain. That turned out to be one of the major motivations of the Revolutionary War.
The capital of New York State (as it is often called) is Albany. The largest city is, well, you know the answer to that. New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers, and Syracuse are the New York cities with populations exceeding 100,000.
New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south and Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont to the east. The State has a maritime border with Rhode Island, as well as an international border with the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the north and Ontario to the west and north.
The highest point in New York is atop 5,334 foot Mount Marcy in the northeastern part of the State. Mount Marcy is one of the few “high points” in the country to be within the city limits of a town. Mount Marcy is in Keene, and the lowest point in New York is on the shores of the Atlantic. The geographic center of New York is 12 miles south of Oneida.
All of New York State is in the Eastern Time Zone. The entire State recognizes Daylight Savings Time.
Top Airports in New York State:
Syracuse Hancock International serves just under a million passengers annually. Chicago is the top destination.
Albany International enplanes about 1.2 million flyers a year. Baltimore is the most common destination.
Buffalo Niagara International sees about 2.5 million passengers a year. New York City is the favorite destination.
LaGuardia is the smaller of two major New York City airports, but “smaller” is a relative term in New York City. Over 13 million customers flow in and out of Laguardia. Chicago is the major destination.John F. Kennedy International serves over 25 million passengers annually. New York-London is the busiest route. Los Angeles is the favorite domestic destination.
Top Movies Filmed in New York:
The Godfather (1972)
The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The Godfather Part II: (1974)
Famous New Yorkers:
Presidents: Martin Van Buren, Franklin Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Millard Fillmore, and Donald Trump.
First Ladies: Barbara Bush, Frances Cleveland, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Abigail Fillmore, Elizabeth Monroe, Nancy Reagan, Eleanor Roosevelt, Julia Tyler, and Hannah Van Buren.
Military/Politics: Al Smith, Bernie Sanders, and John Jay.
Actors: Mae West, Skai Jackson, Adam Sandler, Dylan O’Brien, Barbara Stanwyck, Mickey Rooney, Frank Langella, Sarah Gellar, Lucille Ball, James Cagney, Tom Cruise, Clare Danes, Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, Robert Downey Jr, Jake T. Austin, Ansel Elgort, Sarah Hyland, Lindsay Lohan, Josh Peck, Mace Coronel, Emma Roberts, Lea Michele, Cree Cicchino, Sylvester Stallone, and Humphrey Bogart.
Entertainers: Maria Callas, Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Aaron Copland, Sammy Davis Jr., George Gershwin, 50 Cent, Jackie Gleason, James Maslow, Lana Del Rey, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, Jimmy Fallon, Prince Royce, Billy Joel, Groucho Marx, Harpo Marx, Zeppo Marx, Chico Marx, Christina Aguilera, Aaliyah, Ethel Merman, Rosie O’Donnell, Lady Gaga, Norman Rockwell, Notorious B.I.G., Barbra Streisand, Melanie Martinez, Madison Beer, Jennifer Lopez, Jay-Z, Desiigner, and Tupac Shakur.
Athletes: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Lou Gehrig, Michael Jordan, Chamique Holdsclaw, and Vince Lombardi.
Authors: Paddy Chayevski, Bret Harte, Washington Irving, Henry James, Victor Lasky, Herman Melville, Ogden Nash, Eugene O’Neill, and Edith Wharton.
Weird and Wonderful Facts About New York:
The first American chess tournament was held in New York in 1843.
The famous 1969 Woodstock Music and Arts Fair was actually held in Bethel.
The “New York Post” was established in 1803 by Alexander Hamilton and is the oldest still operating newspaper in the United States.
The first railroad in America ran just 11 miles between Albany and Schenectady.
The first capital of the United States was New York City.
The Genesee River is one of the few rivers in the world that flows south to north.
It was in Rochester such diverse items as bloomers, marshmallows, Jell-O, mustard, baby shoes, gold teeth and the mail chute were invented.
America’s first pizzeria was opened in New York City in 1895 by Gennaro Lombardi (no relation to Vince.)
Apples were introduced to America when European settlers brought them to New York.
Joseph C. Gayetty of New York City invented toilet paper in 1857.
New York was the first State to require license plates on cars.
Let’s Take a Trip Through New York:
The very name evokes glamor, passion, intrigue, and excitement. Everywhere has trips to take, but there is only one trip to New York City! In this portion of the Greatest Road Trip Ever Taken we are going to see one of the greatest of all natural wonders. Then we’ll enjoy the serenity, solitude and pastoral loveliness of upstate New York. Then we’re going to start spreading the news. We’re leaving today because we want to be a part of it. New York, New York!
Niagara Falls will be a great place to begin. This wondrous example of God’s Creation has been a place of wonder and romance since such things existed. Gaze in awe at the immense volume of water coming over the lip.
Later we will take a ride on The Maid of the Mist, a passenger boat taking us behind the curtain of Bridal Veil and Niagara itself. We will dress warmly, put on one of the ponchos they provide and enjoy the ride. Experience the thunder that is Niagara Falls, and know we’re going to get wet! Mostly, though we’re going to love every minute of it!
Niagara Falls is a full-day event as we will want to experience the beautiful parklands surrounding the Falls themselves. It is a great day and a great way to start our New York sojourn. We are staying at the Aashram Hotel by Niagara River for just $58 a night.
I hope you got a good night’s sleep last night because I’m taking you to the ball game today. Actually, we are going to the Baseball Hall of Fame Museum in Cooperstown. Baseball has been beloved and passed down for generations since it was invented in the 19th Century as an offshoot of Great Britain’s Rounders game. The legends, and folklore of the game are transcendent.
We can’t do Cooperstown in the half day we have here on our drive from Niagara Falls. We will be staying two nights at the Lake Front Hotel for $99 a night.
A trip to Niagara Falls and Cooperstown would be a great trip even if we stopped now, but this is a preliminary to our trip to New York City. Prepare to have your mind blown.
How to fit it all in? That is the challenge before us. Our trips through the States can’t last three weeks. Nobody has that amount of time…or money. So let’s see what we can do about hitting the highest of the highs in The Big Apple.
Central Park will be our first stop. We want to take some time to explore this fabulous downtown oasis. It is the largest urban park in the world. There is a six-mile loop around the park, but just steps inside we will marvel at the beauty. We want to explore the Sheep Meadow, Bethesda Fountain and Central Park Zoo, all located just inside.
As night begins to fall, we will head over to the Empire State Building. Any time of the day or night, the Empire State Building is grand, but nothing beats the view as the sun sets.
That’s enough for our first day here. Stay at the Broadway Plaza Hotel for $93/night. We will be here four nights…at least.
Get up! We’re going to Times Square! Nothing shakes the morning cobwebs like the place that puts the bustle in hustle. Welcome to the self-proclaimed crossroads of the world. This is where every visitor comes eventually, and for good reason. The action continues 24-hours a day. Soak up the sheer energy of this buzzing place and browse a few of its many stores. Look around and imagine, “Everyone who is anyone has been here, and now I’m here!”
We don’t usually set aside a lot of time for shopping on our trips but today we will. Fifth Avenue is where the trendsetters set the trends, but, look! There are about a million less-expensive stores to visit, as well. Don’t miss the Tiffany window. Holly Golightly didn’t and neither will we.
Quickly back to the hotel to dress in our finery. We are going to the theater tonight. With over 40 venues on Broadway, there will be something to see that will fit our taste, and it is performed by the best in the world at their craft.
What a day! I’m beat. Back to the hotel.
Our third day in New York City begins with a trip to “The Met.” That is the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The halls of New York’s famed Met are hallowed ground for art lovers. Even if you’re not an “art person,” you will find yourself spending hours wandering from Roman antiquities to the Dutch Masters. New York is a city bursting with culture, and the Met is the place to grab some of the best of it.
Do you like sports? I know you do because the Baseball Hall of Fame was great for all of us! Well, New York City has professional sports, and then some. Basketball? Check out the Knicks at Madison Square Garden or the Nets at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn. Baseball? The Yankees and Mets fill the summer evenings with ball. Football? The Jets and Giants call the Meadowlands (technically in New Jersey, but whatever) home. Is soccer your thing? The Red Bulls and NYCFC are seemingly always playing. You choose.
Day Four finds us on the Ellis Island Ferry to see Lady Liberty. She is the symbol of America, even though she was built in France. This is an important stop to ponder what made (and should continue to make) America great. We made reservations six months in advance because we want to walk up into the crown. On the Island, we will see where our ancestors disembarked to begin their American journey.
Ellis Island is iconic and deserves its time on our itinerary. While there, we can feel the presence of the immigrants and their experience in their first moments on our shores. The architecture is beautiful, as well.
We are going to finish at the National 9/11 Museum and Memorial. Sept. 11, 2001, was one of this country’s milestone events. Everyone who was alive and sentient Sept. 11, (It isn’t even necessary to say the year.) can tell you where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the attack. The Memorial and Museum is, at once educational, heartbreaking, and a necessary stop on a trip to New York City.
What a trip it has been! The Falls, the ball, and the Big Apple. We love every State, but some of the trips are more memorable than others. This was one of those trips.