We said goodbye to Cape Cod and drove towards New Jersey to see my husband’s brother and his family and relatives. We left Cape Cod on July 3 before the Independence Holiday. We drove 260miles and about 7 hours, including rest. We used Interstate 195 and 95. And we crossed two states, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
My husband’s brother suggested that we visit a museum called “Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center,” which explains native Indian culture and history.
During this road trip, when we stopped in Oklahoma, I knew that the Cherokee tribe was forced to move to Oklahoma by the government in the past. (Please check the Oklahoma version, which I posted in June.) Here, between Connecticut, and New Jersey, there was a tribe called Mashantucket Pequot Tribe.
This tribe had lived in this area 1,000 years ago during an ice age. They used to live in the South West of Connecticut. They had a high skill of hunting. They caught big animals like Moose. They thoroughly and effectively utilized the animal skin for their coats to protect from the cold weather, and get meat for their food, and bones for equipment for cooking. There are animation videos and many exhibits, so we could see easily and understand their lifestyle.
Around the 1700s, European entered this land then the Indians fought against the intruders. The population of the tribe was over 11,000. But the Europeans spread a virus, so half of them died. They suffered from a tough and challenging time with war and diseases. Finally, in 1983 when the president was Ronald Reagan, the US government reserved this land as Mashantucket tribe’s property.
And, there is a casino called “Foxwoods Resort Casino,” which the government authorized to do casino business in 1992. This casino resort business secured employment for the tribe.
Through this museum, they hold some events with the tribe to protect and convey their tradition. This is a great environment to keep and preserve their great culture for the young generations.
About Mashantucket Museum is from here
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To long-awaited New Jersey
After visiting the museum, we started to drive towards New Jersey, which we had long-awaited. Unfortunately, the weather was cold and rainy. It was icy even it was July. We entered New York state safely in the heavy rain. The scenery changed to many red brick buildings, and I felt we were in New York City. When we were crossing the George Washington Bridge, we saw Manhattan from our car windows.
Therefore, finally, it took a half month to get to my husband’s brother’s house in Fair Lawn, New Jersey. We stayed at his place for three days and the other three days at a hotel in Manhattan. We hadn’t seen his family for a while. So we focused on visiting the husband’s family, relatives, and friends, this time without sightseeing. It is hard to describe whole days in New York. So I am going to write some topics.
Independence Day with family
We arrived at my husband’s brother’s house on July 3, before Independence Day. We planned several events such as a BBQ in the backyard, watching the fireworks from the river, and so on. However, we thought that Manhattan would be very busy and challenging to park the car. As a result, we stayed at home and did the BBQ and took it easy. After breakfast, we went out shopping for food to cook at the BBQ.
This time my husband’s niece and cousins gathered for a total of eight people. I made Guacamole, and the brother’s wife cooked Caponata and salad. We had a great time. We enjoyed the conversation and BBQ. It was such an enjoyable Independence BBQ party.
During the BBQ, an unexpected guest appeared. A wild rabbit! I saw squirrels everywhere in Los Angeles, but I had never seen a wild rabbit in my life!
After the BBQ, my brother’s wife showed us a natural park where she walks every day. There was a pond, many greens and we saw many wild birds. So I breathed fresh air and did a good exercise after the big meal.
Honestly, I wanted to see big fireworks show along the river, but we would better avoid the crowd. So, we walked the neighborhood. While we were walking, we heard a big noise from fireworks. So, we stopped at several places to watch some fireworks.
And surprisingly, I found lightning bugs everywhere. I saw it in Chicago as well. I never imagined that I could see lightning bugs in the US!
It is hard to recognize lightning bugs. For example, flashing yellow lights are lightning bugs.
Sightseeing in New York City
Six days in New Jersey and New York, we focused on meeting family, relatives so we couldn’t do sightseeing a lot. But I would like to introduce our sightseeing spots.
❖ I visited a small cozy town called Nyack which is along Hudson
We saw Nyack which husband’s old friend is living. This small cozy town is 26 miles from Manhattan. Their gorgeous beautiful house stands on the hill, and we could see the spectacular Hudson River view from the windows and patio as well.
Friends showed a lovely park from which we could see the Hudson River and the big bridge called “Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. “
Nyack was much different from Manhattan city without the crowd and busy traffic. So why don’t you visit this cute town if you travel to New York? I believe that you can have a comfortable and relaxing time there!
Also, Nyack has a street with excellent restaurants and boutiques. When we visit New York City next time, I will go there again!
❖ The view from Staten Island Ferry
After we stayed a couple of days at my husband’s brother’s house, we moved to a hotel in Manhattan. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to do sightseeing this time. However, we used our spare time and got on the Staten Island Ferry. This was the first time in eight years that I rode on this Ferry. This Ferry goes between Manhattan and Staten Island. And free!
It wasn’t busy as I expected. And the weather was perfect. The Ferry started to move slowly. We could see Manhattan city surrounded by high buildings and the Brooklyn bridge. This Ferry is not for tourists. It’s a one of public transportation. However, it’s free, and we could see the Manhattan view and the Statue of Liberty from the Ferry, so it’s very famous for tourists now.
Just 30 minutes ride, then we reached Staten Island. This Ferry goes back and forth between Staten Island and Manhattan every 15 minutes. So if you don’t have enough time to spend sightseeing in New York, I recommend riding this Ferry and you can enjoy the scenery of New York and feel quick sightseeing as well. And it is free. It’s a good deal!
The Staten Island Ferry’s information is from here
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◆ An outdoor play at Central Park
On the final day in New York City, my husband’s brother’s wife gave us tickets to a play in Central Park. She won the tickets, and she suggested we go there to see it. I never imagined that I could see the play in Central Park! I was so excited to see it.
Last year, this show was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. And the day before we went there was the first day of the show, but suddenly, it started heavy raining and was canceled in the last minutes. So, when we went there. It was the first day. It means we were lucky. The theater was not so big, but the seats were almost entirely occupied. People were so excited to see this show for a long time.
We saw a famous Shakespeare show called “Merry Wives of Windsor.” Modified to the modern style and performed entirely by Black actors, a popular movement in 2020 in the US. Unfortunately, the content was a bit difficult to understand for me. I could understand less than half of the show.
The show was two hours. The audience was enjoyed their big performance with cheers and applause.
About this play
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Food in New Jersey and New York
Well, I would like to describe the food which we tasted in New York and New Jersey.
❖ To-go style Greek restaurant
My husband’s brother brought us to a new Greek restaurant called Eons on the first day in New Jersey. This restaurant is similar to a Mexican restaurant called Chipotle in Los Angeles.
First, we can choose Pita Pan, rice bowl, or salad. Then choose meat, side, and sauce. Just point to the ingredients from the showcases. There were many choices, so it wasn’t easy to decide from them. I chose a rice bowl with lamb meat, olives, parsley, and tomato salad, baba ghanoush（eggplant hummus）and yogurt sauce on it. It was not greasy, very healthy.
The specific information of Eons
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❖ Chart House in front of Hudson River
When I made a trip to New York by myself eight years ago, I tried to go to this restaurant, but it was so far from the middle of the city. So I couldn’t make it at that time. I wanted to go there for a long time, then my dream came true. I wanted to go to this place because it stands in front of the Hudson River and opposite Manhattan. So we can see the gorgeous view from the restaurant.
We made a reservation at 6 pm, before the sunset time. It was a bit windy, but we were seated at the patio since we’d come to New York. We could see the fantastic view of Manhattan when the sun went down and the night view as well. It was a fabulous view. I could see that scenery forever. We enjoyed the dinner and conversation with friends so much.
If you visit New York and have lunch or dinner at the restaurant which you can see the great view, I highly recommend this place. Then sit at the patio. However, visit there in the warm season.
The specific information of Chart House
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❖ The famous New York-style cheesecake
When we visit New York, we always stop at a famous restaurant for New York-style cheesecake called Juniors. There are some branch restaurants in Manhattan. This time we went to a place close to Broadway. They have several kinds of Cheesecake such as blueberry and chocolate flavor and so on. We ordered plain Cheesecake, which is our favorite. It is less sweetness, and rich taste of cheese, and a soft texture.
I feel “Oh, I’m in New York now!” every time I taste it. Of course, we can buy a frozen Junior’s Cheesecake in the supermarket in LA. However, the real Cheesecake is something special.
This is the plain cheesecake.
The specific information of Junior’s from here
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❖ Old deli in Manhattan
In the end, I would like to introduce one of my favorite places called “Zabar’s.” This is an authentic deli supermarket. We visit there all the time. However, this time before the outdoor play, we did a take-out there.
There sell not only groceries but also sell kitchen equipment and plates and so on. I love to see a lot of deli food, bagels, and kitchen equipment. I can spend a few hours in this place.
This time we got to-go of a Hot Corn beef sandwich with pickles and mustard. They can customize sandwiches. So, you can order anything you want and make your style sandwich! It is so much fun!
They have a small café style restaurant next to the market. So you can eat or can take out. However, it closed earlier than the supermarket. So check the business hour in advance.
The specific information of Zabar’s
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About the hotel in New York
We stayed at a hotel called The Jewel, which stands behind the Rockefeller Center. I always stay at Hilton Garden Inn on 35th street, but it was the holiday of July 4, so it was busy, and I could not make a reservation. This hotel is convenient, close to the subway station, 5th street, and Times Square. The room was a bit small, but the bathroom was clean and comfortable.
The specific information of the hotel
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Well, we achieved the target that we see the husband’s family in New Jersey. After this, we kept on the road trip towards the south. We stopped at Atlantic city, which used to be the East Coast version of Las Vegas.
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