We had heard that 8:30-10:30 is the best time to visit the Statue of Liberty, because that's when the lines are shortest. It seems to be true, because the ferries that were unloading when we were leaving were chock-a-block with all manner of huddled masses.
Like the rubes we are we discovered once we were on Liberty Island that the Citypass tickets we'd bought were only good for getting us onto the island, not into the monument itself, and that the tickets for the monument had to be purchased back on the other island, the island called Manhattan. So that was a bit of a downer, until we convinced ourselves that it wouldn't be that cool to be up inside the statue. You can't see her from inside, you know. And the grapes were probably sour anyway.
I was pretty amped about seeing the Statue of Liberty. I think she is one of the most beautiful and regal pieces of art in the world. It's difficult for me to articulate my feelings about it, because I get all muddled and weepy, but she is, to me, the American soul made flesh (or copper, in this case). That poem by Emma Lazarus never fails to bring a tear to my eye. She does not represent war or conquest, but charity and selflessness and tolerance. She represents our goodness. We forget too often how we came to be, and how we came to be great.
She is just as breathtaking as I hoped she would be.
Now, on to things of lesser import. John says that the way to get to know a city is to walk it, and boy, do I know Manhattan. Claire and I traipsed all over creation, lugging the stroller up and down many flights of stairs, and Norah was a perfect angel the whole time. We went to Great NY Noodletown for lunch and I was cheered by the fact that I could see dead pigs hanging on hooks in the back when we got there. I like restaurants that don't put on airs. I mean, who among us does not have a dead animal or two hanging in our kitchen?
The food was superb, as I knew it would be, as it was recommended by both the Dummies book and Tipsy Baker's sister. I got duck noodle soup, Claire got beef noodle soup, and we shared the salt-baked shrimp, which is stupendous. And the skin on my duck was so good I wanted a whole plate of it. I don't understand people who don't like the skin. They are nuts. Well, more for me.
We walked past Katz's delicatessen, but were too full to try anything. Then we went to the Tenement Museum and did the tour on "The Moores." I am super morbid, so this tour was right in my wheelhouse, as it discussed the squalor and filth of the Lower East Side during the time this family lived there, with the garbage and horse excrement flooding the streets, the swill milk, the drinking water contaminated by privies, the outbreaks of disease and the high infant mortality . . . it was gruesome and fascinating! I highly, highly recommend this experience. If nothing else it will make you appreciative of our modern amenities, as you stand, sweating and fanning yourself in the muggy New York heat, looking at the three wee rooms in which entire families lived. Plus my meaty arms came in handy when they had us all heft the big wooden laundry bucket full of rocks (to simulate water). Unlike the other tour-goers, I barely even swore in unhappy surprise at its weight.
After this we were feeling a little squalid ourselves and stopped for Italian Ices somewhere in what once was Little Italy.
Then we went to Russ and Daughters, where we bought chocolates and smoked salmon and cream cheese and salmon roe. On our way home we saw Mitchell from Modern Family, woo! We also accidentally rode the subway to Harlem.
Then we got all tarted up and went to Babbo for dinner, where we walked right in, sat right down, and had a crazy dinner.
The food was all delicious and perfect. I am so happy we went there, and that I ordered kookoopants food per Tipsy's instructions, because really, when else am I going to eat lamb's tongue? The sagey seasoning in the tongue, the rich, beefy sauce on the ravioli, and the tender, clean-tasting rabbit . . . so very, very good, even with the dink at the next table holding forth about how his father is a millionaire who made them eat steak for every meal, and where should he go for the summer? The Bahamas, maybe? He also has opinions on where the "old money" lives in Manhattan, if you're interested. He was speaking in that voice people use when they're pretending to have a private conversation, but really they're trying to make sure everyone in the restaurant hears them. Tacky.
If you were wondering, walking to and from Babbo in 4-inch heels is a stupid, stupid thing to do.
Home and to bed.