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Statue of Liberty

Guest post by Sunshine
In our quest to see the “New 7 Wonders” in 7 years, Becca and I have added the additional challenge of seeing as many of the semi-finalist Wonders as possible.  Some are going to be tough to fit into our busy schedules, like the Moai of Easter Island or Timbuktu in Mali.  But others are safe to visit and in cities or countries we plan to visit anyway.  So with the eyes still set on the 7 Wonders prize, we are trying to see others when we can.  Conveniently, there is a pretty cool semi-finalist just 4.5 hours north of DC in New York.

baby beaNew York City has a lot going for it these days: My sister, brother-in-law, and niece, Imogen, all live there, and Michigan has started playing a basketball game there once a year.  In addition to those two items, which inspired a weekend trip up to NYC last year, the city also just happens to have my newest niece, Beatrix, and America’s only semi-finalist wonder, The Statue of Liberty.

So with a new Michigan game scheduled for Saturday, December 21st, I let me sister know Becca and I would be heading up that weekend.  Even though nothing was set in stone, we had heard that tickets to the Statue of Liberty can sell out way in advance, especially if you want to go all the way to the crown.  So in July or August, we bought crown tickets for the morning of the 21st here.   It was a gamble, but we thought it was worth it.

As the months sped by, we got our tickets to the Michigan v Stanford game at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and the trip was confirmed.  It was a good thing we had the crown tickets as well.

We rode a DC2NY bus up on Friday and got in early enough to grab a late dinner with my friend Jeremy and his fiance’.  We ate at a great taco place a couple blocks from his place, Tacombi.

The next morning we were off to catch our boat ride to Lady Liberty.  The ferry ride over to the island is pretty fun in itself.  If offers great views of the city and it’s always fun to be on a boat.  We also lucked out in that is was fairly mild weather for a late December day in NYC.  Be prepared to jockey for space on the boat as pretty much everyone is trying to take photos of the city and the statue as you approach.

Here is some quick background on the Statue of Liberty: “The statue, designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886, was a gift to the United States from the people of France. The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States: a welcoming signal to immigrants arriving from abroad.”
statue of liberty

Even though we were coming from the continental side, the statute was quite something to behold.  Once you’re on the island, there are free audio headset tours, and you can explore all around at your own pace.  The statue base features a really nice museum documenting the history and construction of the statue.  Be sure to take some photos as any World Wonder experience, even semi-finalists should be well documented.  Once inside the statutes base, you can take an elevator or some stairs to the top of the pedestal on which the statue stands.  There are some great views from the pedestal, especially with Manhattan in the background.

If you’re lucky enough to have crown tickets, and I highly recommend getting them,  you have the pleasure of climbing the tightest, twistiest spiral staircase I have ever been on in a public setting.  Just to make the roughly 150 foot climb more challenging, the staircase is very dimly lit to increase your chance of slipping.  All in all, I loved the added difficulty of getting to the crown.  It made it seem like more of an adventure, because it was tougher than I expected it to be and there was like a 10% chance I might get hurt on the way up or down.

The crown was much smaller than I expected or the opening credits of Perfect Strangers led me to believe.  You can only fit about 6 tourist up there with one park ranger to babysit us.  The views of NYC were even cooler from the crown, and additional picture must be taken.

After our now successful trip to American’s only semi-finalist Wonder, we cruised back into Manhattan.  After a visit with the nieces, we met up with some Michigan people for the game.  After the early devotion we poured Nik Stauskas’s way last year, he rewarded us with an impressive 19 pt and 4 assist night.  More importantly, it came with a win against the mighty nerds of Stanford 68-65.  Robinson and Irvin also had solid nights in the win.  The game was fun and a great second showing for our second trip to NYC.

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Basketball, Baby, and Brooklyn

ROAD TRIP, BASKETBALL and BABY: Michigan v. West Virginia & Imogen in Brooklyn, NY

Guest Post from Sunshine!

michigan canadian flag

As you can guess from most of the posts on this blog, Becca and I love to travel, even if it’s just a weekend trip 4 hours away from home.  So normally, it doesn’t take much to get our butts moving and out the door.  Well, back in December 2012 (sorry for the delay on this, but better late than never, right) we had TWO great reasons for taking a road trip up to NYC.  The University of Michigan men’s basketball was 10-0 on the season and headed to Brooklyn to play West Virginia at the Barclays Center, and my niece, Imogen, was in need of a visit from her aunt and uncle.  Imogen, along with her parents, my sister Claire and brother-in-law Seth, just so happen to live in Brooklyn, NY within walking distance of the Barclays Center.  When things get this convenient, you just can’t say no to a quick trip up north. 

So on Friday, December 14th, Becca and I headed to NYC on a Bolt Bus, or a DC2NY Bus, or some other bus line.  It was almost a year ago now, and I can’t remember all the details.  The ride flew by with little of note and we got in to NYC in time to meet the family, play with Imogen and see some friends that night.

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Saturday was game day.  As it turned out, Princeton was playing an earlier basketball game at the Barclays Center that day.  Seth went to Princeton, so he went to the earlier game with Claire and Imogen, while Becca and I took in some of the city. 

Come game time, Becca and I got kitted out in our Michigan best and met up with Claire and Seth for the game.  Just to make things a little more fun, Becca and I decided that Michigan shooting guard Nik Stauskas, a Canadian, was our new favorite player.  To broadcast our fondness for the 3-pt sniper, we made Canadian flags in maize and blue, rather than the standard red and white.  Becca deserves most of the credit, as she did the hard work of getting the flags made and encouraging me to make and bring some sort of sign/flag in the first place. The flags turned out great and we were pumped to let Nik know just how much he meant to us. 

When we got to the Barclays Center, we discovered that Seth had gotten us great seats in the lower level behind one of the baskets about 30 or so rows up from the court.  It was a perfect spot to flash our maize and blue Canadian flags where Nik would see them.  Obviously, we were certain Nik would be inspired by our creative show of support.  I was personally counting on Nik to respond with 90-100 points, and probably swing by our seats at halftime to buy me a Molson and French fries with gravy.

Our plans were almost immediately wrecked, when our section attendant informed us that the Barclays Center does not allow fans to hold up signs, posters, or flags.  This policy is absurd.  Especially when applying it to people like us who were in seats with no one behind us and then an 8 foot high wall that lifts up the next section behind us.  Our flags could literally not block a single person’s view.  Other than this silly application of a fun-limiting rule, the Barclays Center is a pretty great venue for a basketball game.  I highly recommend it.

Luckily, before we got shot down by the section attendant, we did get to flash our flags long enough for my buddy Jeremy to snag a few photos of Becca and me from across the area.  Sadly, we suspect our brief flag waiving was not long enough for Nik to spot us. He merely had a good game, scoring 10 with 4 rebounds, 1 assist and 1 steal.  A solid stat line, but far short of the expected 90-100 points.  Despite this much lower scoring output, Michigan won the game 81 to 66.  A win’s a win, and I’ll take it with out without extensive maize and blue Canadian flag waving. 

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Even with our limited flag exposure, we latter learned that we inspired some folks back in Ann Arbor, as a larger and quite awesome maize and blue Canadian flag was produced by a Michigan fan and displayed frequently at Crisler Arena during the second half of the Michigan basketball season.  Excellent move Ann Arbor living Michigan Fan, I support your actions.  Bonus support to the staff at Crisler Arena for letting fans actually display signs, posters, and flags at games.

All in all, it was a great weekend trip to New York.  I highly recommend it, especially if you have a 1 year old niece to play with and your favorite college team is playing in town.

Update:  The University of Michigan basketball team liked their trip to NYC and the Barclays Center so much, they are going back this season (I was unable to confirm that they scheduled this second trip because they though our flags were pretty awesome, but I suspect it played a factor). The wolverines will be taking on Stanford on Saturday, December 21st.  Coincidentally, I also have a new niece, Beatrix, up in Brooklyn as well.  Obviously, Becca and I will be making a return trip that weekend.  As a bonus we got tickets to go to the top of the Statue of Liberty.  Look for an informative blog post recap of the weekend sometime in the future.  Hopefully, I’ll get it done in less than the 10 months it took me to write this one, but no promises.

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