Tag Archives: Brooklyn Bridge

New York City – The Parker Family’s Second Home

22 Jun

New York’s Number One Family on the #1 Train

(New York City, June 22, 2012) Manhattan got hotter and hotter throughout the week. On the first day of summer, thousands of New Yorkers closed down Broadway for blocks on either side of Times Square for a gigantic yoga fest. The Yankees were back in town, playing the Atlanta Braves. And someone put Salvador Dali’s “Cartel de Don Juan Tenorio” in a brown paper bag and walked out of an East Side art gallery with it. Another typical week in the big city…

Andre Parker and his grandmother Pauline walk along 34th Street, with parents Patrick and Amy in the background

But if you paid very close attention, there was a small bubble of joy moving north, south, east, and west, both on and just offshore from the island, showing up in all the best places. It was the Parker Family, on their Road Scholar Charter Program, sharing the fun with each other, and those lucky enough to be traveling with them. Count us as members of this elite group.

Jim Parker talks about his family’s charter program looking west from the Empire State Building

Selecting their own destinations and taking everyone along for a fantastic ride were Jim and Pauline Parker. “In other years, we’d rent a big beach house and have everyone there for a week. But this was so much more special. We decided where we wanted to go, matching the places we’d visit with what we knew our family would enjoy. Tim was in the military, so we picked the Intrepid Museum. Andre studies musical theater, so we arranged a behind-the scenes tour of the New Amsterdam Theater. Stefanie is an architect, which is why we booked the cruise around Manhattan. And we all love boats,” explains Pauline. “The best part was that Road Scholar made all the arrangements and took care of all the details. We just showed up and had a great time.”

The fun we all had on the Parker Family Charter Program needs no explanation. You had to be there. Thankfully, we were.

An Island of Joy, Overlooking Manhattan

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A Harbor Full of History

19 Jun

The Hall of Records at Ellis Island, New York Harbor

(New York City, June 18, 2012) We met Molly Goodrich, our New York Road Scholar Program Coordinator, at breakfast, and all eighteen of us took the #1 Train to Battery Park and South Ferry, where we set sail for Liberty Island, home of the Statue of Liberty, and then Ellis Island, where 12 million immigrants first set foot in America from 1892 through 1924. Getting there, as always, was half the fun, including the ferry rides to these tiny but spectacular landmarks in New York Harbor.

Jim & Hannah Parker, Laurida Reesman, and Mary Parker in Battery Park

For the second day in a row, the Parker Family took Manhattan, if not the Bronx and Staten Island. Later, we established a foothold in Brooklyn, but that’s getting ahead of ourselves on the story of a very busy day.

The Statue of Liberty, June 18, 2012

Lady Liberty greeted us with the same arms she held open for so many other travelers, even if she was undergoing renovations and was not the hostess she has been, and will be again. Still, there are few views like her, and if she needs a little respite after 126 years of standing tall in the Hudson River, well, she deserves it. All of us, from youngest to oldest, were in awe of her presence. How many destinations can compare for the American family?

The Parker family enjoying the Statue of Liberty.

From Liberty Island, we took a short hop to Ellis Island, and even more history. The Hall of Records, beautifully restored, is inspiring. Exhibits record the experiences of people from all over the world who came here, and became Americans. It’s a magnificent story, beautifully told.

The day continued with a visit to the September 11 Memorial in lower Manhattan and St. Paul’s Chapel, places selected by the Parkers for their family to see first-hand the events that have shaped our 21st Century so far. It is an experience our reporters did not cover, in respect of the Parkers and so many American families.

Shannon Baker, Emily Parker, and Laurida Reesman on the Brooklyn Bridge

Finally, we ended the day with dinner at Teresa’s Restaurant, a culinary gem in Brooklyn Heights, followed by a well-deserved promenade across the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan. Well deserved rest was next on our itinerary for a happy and historic day that taught us many truths about what it means to be a New Yorker.

The Brooklyn Bridge, approaching Manhattan