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Ending this adventure at Battery Park

“Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.” - Jack Kerouac

Statue of Liberty

October 26, 2003

On our way back to where the car was parked, we wandered through Battery Park, which overlooks the Hudson River where it feeds in to New York Bay, with New Jersey on the other side of the water. For many, the park is just a thruway between New York’s financial district and the Staten Island ferries to the Statue of Liberty. But the park is so much more than that.

The area of the park has much history behind it. Indians fished the waters off of these shores. This is where Dutch Settlers landed in 1623 to establish New Amsterdam. The park is named for the artillery battery that the Dutch built to protect their new city. The British would later control these cannons. It was also the point of departure for the last British troops after the American Revolutionary War. A major landmark at the park is the Castle Clinton National Monument. A fort was built there during the war of 1812 to protect America from the British. It was named Castle Clinton in 1817 in honor of Dewitt Clinton, who was the mayor of New York City at the time. After the army left the site in 1821, it was leased to the city to serve as an entertainment center and became known as Castle Garden. In 1855, Castle Garden became the New York State immigrant processing facility, the first such entity in the nation, until 1890, when the federal government took over immigrant processing and opened up Ellis Island to serve that purpose. Castle Garden then housed the New York Aquarium until 1941, when a proposal was made to tear down the entire structure due to planned construction of a bridge from Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn. The public protested and instead, the site was designated as a national moment in 1946.

Battery Park


For us, on this last day to explore together on this trip, the park was a quiet place to stroll, to reflect on the meaning of the day’s and the week’s activities. Although we packed so much in to so little time, we had much quality time as family. We had wanted to take the boat from here to Staten Island for a close up view of the Statue of Liberty, but time was running out for Teresa and the rest of her car group. So we would have to settle for the view of the statue across the bay. The park was a nice place to unwind, at least on this late October day.

We got to Teresa’s car and it was time to say goodbye. Teresa, Bonnie, Duran and Nathan would head back to their homes in Pennsylvania. As for me, I headed to Grand Central Terminal, otherwise known as Grand Central Station, to take the subway back to my hotel room near JFK airport that had already been reserved.

View of Statue of Liberty from Battery Park


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