Out East Road Trip, Part Two

Community Highlights North America Out East Road Trip, Part Two

Time to check out the Hindenburg Memorial! So Nick told me we were going to do this tour of the crash site. He told me it was on a military base. What he didn't tell me was that it was like 4 hours long. And of course, it is outside. And chilly. Sigh. Here we go.

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The start of the tour was at the Cathedral of the Air. It's dedicated to flight of all kinds.
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This was my favorite set of windows. Also has the blimp on it.

So the first 30 minutes or so was in the church, going around the windows with some old Navy (I think) volunteers. They do these tours on Wednesday mornings and then every other Saturday. You can't just show up as you have to get your identification checked in advance by the Navy in order to be allowed on base for the tour. The Cathedral isn't on base, but the rest of the tour is and I'm not sure if you can go in the Cathedral without being on the tour. They occasionally have services in there, but otherwise I think it is closed to the public. The lady that checked us in loved that we were from Minnesota and of course, wanted to hear the accent. I obliged. I always do. It always gets a giggle, dontcha know!

So off to the base we go. There was a group of about 14 adults (I was the only female, and there were 3 of us under 70) and then there was a second group of a few school kids on a field trip.
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The only obvious marker of the site. The rest of it is on the ground.

We spent some time standing at the crash site listening to the history of the Hindenburg itself, the crash, and looking at a few photos.
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The memorial and some chains on the ground outlining the crash site.
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The entire memorial. Like I said, you'd trip over it if it wasn't for the little blimp flag.
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The hanger on the left was where the Hindenburg would go. It was in there twice. It only flew to Lakehurst three times and the third time it crashed. The ship itself was 807 feet long. The hangar is 810 feet long. Yep, there was 18 inches of clearance in the front and back of the ship to fit in the building.

CRAZY.

After learning about the crash, we were able to go into the hangar, which has been turned into a museum of sorts. This is where the tour got long. It then became a history of the Navy in general, as well as the history of blimps/dirigibles and just so so so many rooms of models. Like literally thousands of model planes.
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They made a movie of the disaster and one of the sets is in the museum. I loved the tagline. "Of 97 aboard, 8 had a motive, 1 had a plot" Hahaha. I wonder if it is as good as the Towering Inferno or the Poseidon Adventure. I'll have to check it out if I can find it!

We spent a few hours with some old Navy guys listening to their stories and histories of planes, flight, etc. cc8777a0-95ea-11ee-83f1-f16e53f93b40.jpg
They also had restorations. We can also refer to these as "Life-Sized Models" although the guys working on them wouldn't think of it that way. Nick got to get in the seat. The gauges are all stickers though.

And then it was done and time to get lunch. We found a place in town, had some lunch and then headed to the city. Turns out we should have left earlier as it took us FOREVER to actually get to where we needed to be in Manhattan. Turns out Cher was in town that night for the tree lighting at Rockefeller Plaza and we had no idea.

But first, we washed the pickup. I could hardly see out of my window because of all of the water that had been splashing around on the ferries and with the rains, etc.

As the car wash was starting, Nick quickly opened his window to fold in his mirror.
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He wasn't quick enough.
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Rachel, look! HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAH

Luckily NYC was only a couple hours away.
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First views of the city!

After driving through a completely packed Times Square, we found the parking garage (they had closed down a ton of streets so we had to go super far out of the way to get there) and parked and headed to the hotel to meet up with Nick's family.

Turns out it's Christmas market season, so we headed to Bryant Square with Alexis to check it out.
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Looks pretty, but disappointing. Why? Not only was there no mulled wine (what Christmas market doesn't have mulled wine?!) but even if they did, you couldn't walk around the market with it.

Take me back to Europe!

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But I found some delicious Laksa which made up for it a little bit.

After finding the only bar in the market for a hot toddy, we headed back to the hotel.

The next day was Crown day! We had tickets to go up into the crown in the Statue of Liberty. I think the first time I was in NYC, I didn't even bother going to Liberty Island. I just stayed on for Ellis island. This time it was the opposite, we didn't even go to Ellis island. So I guess I've done it all now!
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City selfie!
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They had a recreation of her foot in the museum. Pretty cool. This one isn't green!
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They had a place to take your photo and put it on the photo wall. I put my email in to get the photo sent to me... and turns out it was for the people in front of us! So I had an email with a random photo sent to me. But eventually our photo made it on the wall. Took almost 10 minutes and I had almost given up when I caught it just in time.

Gary, Dorothy and Nick decided that they were going to watch the film in the visitor center. It was three different films that were 10 minutes each. Alexis and I weren't interested so we headed to the statue.
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Another city selfie!

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Nice ass Lady Liberty.

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We looked up her skirt. Her and the Jolly Green Giant would probably get along well.

We went inside and headed to the platform, which is where everyone can go. You just need a special ticket to head to the crown, which usually sells out 6 months in advance. Only about 500 people a day are allowed up in the crown.
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Platform views.

We met up with the other three and started to walk the 164 steps to the crown.
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It was a single person, twisty staircase all the way up.
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Her dress from the inside.
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Crown views!
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A crown selfie. You honestly can't tell at all where we are. But we knew. Ha.
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The tippy top of the Statue of Liberty, from the inside.
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Look at the size of the bolts holding her together!

After spending a few minutes at the top, we headed back down to get back on the ferry.
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But first, a selfie!
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And we watched the birds a bit. There was one bird who was a total bully and attacking all the other birds that were landing in the area.

When we got back to Manhattan, Gary, Dorothy and Alexis headed to the Teddy Roosevelt memorial to meet Aunt Barb.
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And we headed to McSorley's pub, on the suggestion of my friend Nick. It's one of the oldest pubs in NYC. They only started allowing women to enter in the 1970s.
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You can order light or dark. That's the only beers they have. And they pour each beer in two glasses cause they can't be bothered to mess with the head, so they just give you two half glasses with a ton of foam.

It was pretty busy, so the waiter ended up seating another guy at our table. And then, of course, we made friends with the neighbors. c108f660-95ea-11ee-86d1-6be93518e208.jpg
Larry was at the table next to us. He had been coming there since the 1960s. He gave me a cheese, onion and mustard cracker. It's what they serve there. They just started serving real food a few years ago. We told him to join us and so the four of us chatted and drank beers until we all went our separate ways to continue the afternoon.

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We headed a couple blocks up to a soup dumpling restaurant. I buy frozen soup dumplings at the Chinese market sometimes, but Nick had never had real ones, so I figured it was time to try them out! They were tasty! We got a second order and also had dan dan noodles. Yum.

After our dinner, it was time for the entire reason we were in NYC. The Back to the Future Musical.
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It was really good and so impressive with all the effects. Especially since it was a stage performance. But it was one of those movie musicals that was good as a musical. They are definitely hit or miss. Pro Tip: Ghost the musical is horrible. HORRIBLE. Major miss.

After BTTF, we decided we better check out the big tree.
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And see Radio City on the way. With a pedicab Santa. Cause duh.

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The very reason why it was impossible to get around the night before. Oh wait, that hadn't really changed. There were so many people in Hells Kitchen. We ended up seeing the tree, leaving and headed to a place to get a slice of pizza. Cause when in New York, you better get New York Pizza!

And the next morning it was already time to head back to Minnesota. I had a wedding I couldn't miss on Saturday afternoon, so we had a drive to Rockford to stay in a hotel before heading to the wedding.

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Sunrise as we are leaving the city.

At first, we talking about taking the long way through Niagara Falls, but there were threats of a snowstorm, so we thought we better not do that.

Instead, we decided to head to the Flight 93 memorial.
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A horror movie house perhaps?
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This memorial actually opened two days before the Ground Zero memorial in Manhattan, the day before the 10th anniversary of the attacks.

We went through the visitor center and then headed out in the rain to see the memorial.
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The ceremonial gate made of hemlock wood (the flight crashed into a grove of hemlock trees). It is only opened for family and dignitaries once a year on Sept 11.
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The wall of names of the 40 passengers and crew that were killed in the crash.
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The memorial walkway.
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The boulder at the impact site.
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The tower of voices... a windchime with 40 different chimes representing the 40 people who died that day.

After our last NPS site visit of the trip, we continued our drive back to Minnesota. It was a quick trip with lots of time in the car, but we saw lots of random and interesting things!

This featured blog entry was written by rhwanderlust from the blog Rachel: Wanderlust, Travel, Adventure.
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By rhwanderlust

Posted Mon, Dec 11, 2023 | USA | Comments