New York City is always a treat to visit if you like culture, variety, history and more things to see and do than you could imagine in six months. The idea of pulling an RV into NYC (or at least Jersey City) was quite unusual to put it mildly. We found an RV park – and I mean that literally – it’s just a parking lot with access to tank services, bathrooms and laundry. But the view and the access to Manhattan was second to none. A quick ferry trip and you’re at the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island or across the bay in downtown Manhattan.
So this trip qualifies as dry camping but certainly it’s not typical – it’s called “Urban RVing”. After we settled in, we bought round-trip tickets to Liberty Island and used our return ticket instead to go across to Battery Park in lower Manhattan which is where we were greeted with some friendly, city-squirrels. A brisk walk from there up past Wall Street, stopping for pizza and salad before we headed up to One World Trade Center where we met Harry the “WTC Man”.
Harry was quite a treat. He visits OWTC most days with a message, wanting passerbys to think about 9-11 and the people involved in the calamity that historic day. “History, it’s not a mystery.” he said repeatedly. Harry seemed to enjoy our time together as much as we did. It’s not often that he runs into homeschooled children nor children (or adults frankly) who know more about the finer details of 9-11 than the average tourist. But we’re more historians than tourists, you probably know that by now. For Harry, it’s personal though as he lost a nephew that day and he wants people to remember more than just images of towers exploding into fire and collapsing into ashes.
After talking with Harry for probably 20-30 minutes, we crossed the street to the memorial footprints.
In 1995, Julie and I traveled together for a training she led in the WTC towers. We walked it daily for several days and stayed just around the corner at the Hilton Millenium – still standing. It was chilling to see it all now. And the reflecting pools – damn – it grabbed us more than we expected. The water falling into the footprint of the Twin Towers is beautiful. But that water dropping into a center hole – an abyss if you will – is haunting.
New York City is always like that for me. It’s rich with chaos, tragedy and competing needs. But when you look a little deeper, both the history and the cultures sneak up and give you an appreciation of a city that represents far more than a single community, but instead it stands as a marker of human evolution and aspirations on the global stage.
After the World Trade Center memorial, it was a quick walk to the World Financial Center Ferry and back across to Jersey but not without a few skyline photos for the road.
Liberty Harbor RV Park in Jersey City, New Jersey ( website )
Access to Culture, History & Activities: 5/5
New York City has it all (not to take away from Jersey).
It’s dry camping (50-amp) and tank maintenance is on property so this park is about location not amenities.