Tag Archives: New York City

Being Here was All the Fun

18 Aug

Bo Wheeler, Joyce Bowen, Lucy Smith, and Jan Green with one of the stars of the Hall of Dinosaurs, New York Museum of Natural History, August 3, 2012

Jillaine Schock takes a break with grandparents Judy and Chuck Riden on the C Train

(Winthrop, Massachusetts, August 18, 2012) Exploring New York with Road Scholars of all ages is a great experience – we hope these pictures hint at how much fun it was. Our destinations were top-notch, from the Statue of Liberty to the United Nations, and even the Museum of Natural History. Each day, we navigated the subways and sidewalks of the City that Never Sleeps like native New Yorkers. We had a blast; there’s no other way to describe it.

Kayla and Kathy Peterson enjoying Times Square

Thanks to Road Scholar and the care with which they arranged our daily schedules, we also learned while we traveled. And not just in the museums. Our guides know the city like the back of their hands and even used that knowledge to design Sunday’s scavenger hunt in Central Park. Plus, they made sure to add experts at the UN to answer questions, and even the waiters at Paesano’s in Little Italy, who were more than willing to help with special orders. Now that’s the way to see New York.

John Moore and Lucy Szrama in the General Assembly at the United Nations

Most of all, we had fun with each other. The kids bonded quickly and shared laughs and stories with each other. Grandparents spent time talking about their travel adventures and plans for more in the future. We each have our own life’s journey. And there’s nothing like the way they all came together on this program.

Douglas Reeves in command of the Central Park Scavenger Hunt, August 5, 2012


A Monumental Monday in Manhattan

6 Aug

Louis Pratt under the clock at Grand Central Station.

(New York City, August 6, 2012) Today we answered the question, “how many New York landmarks can Road Scholars visit in a day?” The answer is six: The United Nations, Grand Central Station, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Rockefeller Center, Times Square, and the Brooklyn Bridge. And we still fit in three meals, a little shopping, and more than a few laughs.

Matt Decker in the General Assembly of the United Nations.

At the United Nations, we started our morning with an inspiring tour, spending time in both the General Assembly and Security Council Chamber. Our guide focused her introduction on the UN’s multiple missions, and how low the costs of waging peace are than any alternative.

Grand Central Station: Come for the transportation, stay for the food.

Grand Central Station bustles no matter the time of day, including lunchtime, when we stopped by to try out the food and watch thousands of people coming and going to the city for work or pleasure. We were clearly in the latter category as we enjoyed one of the program’s more memorable meals.

Tabitha Lamberg, John Moore, and Mya Kirke at Rockefeller Center.

Rockefeller Center boasts one of the most spectacular views of any city in the world. Three observation platforms with 360 degree views are one thing. Put them in the middle of Manhattan, and you really have something. And, like Saturday in the harbor, the haze and humidity cleared just in time for our ride to the top.

If you don’t like the views of New York City from the Top of the Rock, just wait for them to put up a new building.

A Sparkling Saturday Afternoon on the Harbor

4 Aug

Grace Christie and Barbara Pelzel enjoy an afternoon on Ellis Island.

(New York City, August 4, 2012) Today started hot and humid, much like yesterday. Even a cruise on the Miss Ellis Island to the Statue of Liberty didn’t offer the relief we expected. But suddenly, around lunchtime, the haze cleared, the temperature dropped just a bit, and we enjoyed views of the harbor in all directions that would make Mayor Bloomberg proud.

Judy Maifield, Mya Kirke, Tabitha Lamberg, and Judy Lamberg with New York’s Leading Lady.

“Liberty Enlightening the World,” which we learned last night is the proper name the French gave to the Statue of Liberty when they gave it to America in 1876, never looked better as she nears a re-opening in October. And, as a matter of fact, we looked pretty good ourselves, in case anyone is asking.

Twenty-first century visitors enter the Main Building at Ellis Island via a covered walkway.

Soon it was time for the short cruise to Ellis Island and its inspiring chronicle of America’s – and so many of our families’ – history. How differently immigrants came to the United States then – by ship, to a single building in New York – than now – by airplane to cities throughout the country, processed in advance in American embassies before their flights.

Doug Reeves and Rob Thomas on Mulberry Street, just before dinner.

Later in the afternoon, we headed back to Manhattan and Battery Park, where we took in some street theater, and a few  young Road Scholars actually got into the act. It was unexpected fun, and we were able to share it with other New Yorkers as well. After the “show,” we continued to Chinatown and eventually Little Italy, for a dinner at Paesano’s Restaurant and dessert at the legendary Ferrara’s Bakery. What a great way to start the weekend!

Lower Manhattan sparkles as we return from Liberty and Ellis Islands.

The Mirror Resumes Publication!

2 Aug

Today’s question for our readers: Should the Mirror publish in different languages?

(New York City, August 2, 2012) The Manhattan Mirror resumes publication today with the launch of a new Road Scholar Program. Thirty two grandparents and grandchildren from throughout the United States will explore Manhattan with Group Leader Ray Riordan, visiting museums, historic landmarks, and international institutions through Tuesday, August 7.

We will visit many different sites than the Parker Family toured when we were here last in mid-June. But after all, the Greatest City in the World promises much to enjoy, and we’re looking forward to all of it.

See you tomorrow!

An urban garden on an old elevated railroad line is just one of New York’s wonders.

All Around the Town

20 Jun

Ships and Buildings of All Descriptions in Lower Manhattan.

The Conning Tower of the USS Intrepid

(New York City, June 19, 2012) The Parkers have an enormous love affair with boats, as it turns out. Today began with a visit to the Intrepid Museum on New York’s West Side, with its dozens of aircraft and three huge decks to wander. We’re one month early for the Space Shuttle Enterprise’s debut. It’s there, under a huge tarpaulin, with one wing peeking out – a great reason to come back, along with all the other exhibits and the British Airways Concorde waiting to be explored. But we did ride the virtual roller coaster and piloted a jet fighter simulator before lunch.

Laurida Reesman and Nathan Parker on the Flight Deck of the Intrepid

After lunch, Jim and Pauline arranged for an architectural tour of Manhattan by boat. We boarded the SS Manhattan, a beautiful old yacht, with a great name, of course, and began a three-hour cruise around the entire island. Heading south, we learned about every building the architect could find the time to describe, and he never stopped talking for the entire journey. His enthusiasm was engaging, and many of his stories were unforgettable. For example, the Broadway Bridge from Manhattan to the Bronx was recycled. When the City decided to extend the Broadway Subway line over the East River, the old bridge became too small, so they built a new one. Instead of dismantling the original, they disengaged it, floated it down the river a few blocks, and set it up on a new street.

Stefanie Baker, Pauline Parker, Laurida Reesman, Shannon Baker, and Emily Parker enjoy the art of New York City.

Then there’s the Chrysler Building, and how it became the world’s tallest in 1931. Its chief rival, the Bank of Manhattan Building, opened a week earlier and, at 927 feet, claimed this valued status. But the architects of the Chrysler Building constructed its tall spire in secret, inside the building, and added it to the top from within, surprising everyone and reaching a world-record height of 1,045 feet.

There are few ways to spend a better three hours than this tour. And, for the third day in a row, we can honestly report that there are also very few ways to have a better time in New York than traveling with Road Scholar and the amazing Parker Family.

The Williamsburg and Brooklyn Bridges on New York’s Lower East River

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

From the Top

18 Jun

Manhattan from the Empire State Building Observatory

(New York City, June 17, 2012) Jim and Pauline Parker are Road Scholar ambassadors, and decided that, instead of renting a beach house for their family vacation, they’d charter the Signature City New York program for themselves, their three children and spouses, their six grandchildren, and a family friend. After arriving from various places around the country, we met in Manhattan and headed to the Empire State Building for a spectacular view of Manhattan. The world’s most famous island did not disappoint. A nearly cloudless sky greeted us, and we had a great time reconnecting with old views and introducing new ones to the kids.

Jim Parker makes sure we all have tickets for the elevator.

New York is a walking city, and not just for the Parker family. We shared the sidewalks with thousands of people, some tourists like ourselves, others enjoying a hometown early summer evening. Ours included Chinese food, and some final stops for coffee, cake, or, everyone’s favorite: ice cream.

Shannon Baker, Emily Parker, and Leah Baker catch up with each other in Manhattan.

We share stories, like why Jim and Pauline’s son-in-law is named Zeke – their daughter Stephanie introduced him to them as Zeke when she first brought him home from college – and talked about the other Road Scholar programs many of us have taken over the years. And the kids caught up with their cousins as only they can do, enjoying each other at least as much as the city.

You can meet some interesting people in Times Square.

All in all, it was a great way to spend the last Sunday of spring in the greatest city in the world. Tomorrow we’ll ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and then on to the Brooklyn Bridge and other landmarks in lower Manhattan. Who said they don’t like Mondays?




The lights of Broadway bid us a fond good night on Father’s Day.