Often times we tend to take for granted those things immediately around us. Life becomes so hectic, we really don’t have time to notice and then when we do take the time to slow down, we go somewhere else, a place different then where we are every day. Thus, it is not surprising that even those who live in this great New York City often walk around the streets knowing “of” places but not really knowing much about them.
I was one of those New Yorkers. I knew a lot more than I realized, but not as much as one would expect from a native New Yorker. New Yorkers tend to get set in their neighborhoods rarely venturing out past certain streets or borderlines they set for themselves due to insecurities or misinformation or preconceived notions and stereotypical generalizations, or just plain laziness to travel.
Once I returned I wanted to make sure that my children would not be one of those New Yorkers. No neighborhood would be too scary or too far. We have a lot of ground we haven’t covered but for now, I’m starting out with the basics. What every New Yorker should know about.
And one of those places is Battery Park. Not just the Battery Park that one rushes past to catch the Staten Island Ferry or subway. Not just the Battery Park that you walk through to catch the Ferry to the Statue of Liberty. The Battery Park that served as the introduction to the newly arriving immigrants to the USA.
So while her oldest son was playing flag football, my husband and I decided to take the little ones to Battery Park, to begin introducing them to the place where it all started.
Despite it being a bit chilly during our visit with not too many signs of spring, walking along the promenade was enjoyable and very pretty. The boys loved watching the tourists docking the ferry to Liberty Island and watching the Staten Island Ferry as it approached the NYC port. From a distance we could see Lady Liberty as she stood proud and welcoming.
By far, the monuments found all throughout the park are really what makes this place feel so historical. It was interesting seeing how the boys were drawn to gently touching them and getting close to them, almost as if they knew they meant something important. My youngest one could not stop looking at the New York Korean War Veterans Memorial, while the 3.5 year was fascinated, and rightly so, by the World War II Memorial.
My favorite monument is “The Immigrants”. It’s such an awesome portrayal of the fear, insecurities, and hope of those who come into this country everyday in search of new beginnings, just like my family did years ago.
Pier A Harbor House, originally established in 1886, was renovated and turned into a nice bar. Its clock tower was erected in 1919 as one of the city’s first memorials to veterans of the First World War.
It’s a an easy walk around to see most of the sights, especially with little kids. So if you find yourself downtown make sure to check it out and get a bit of NYC’s important history.