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The McClearys actually go places

My niece Meredith came to visit us for a week in July. The real pull for Meredith is that she's a computer geek like Tim, and he lets her go to work with him and tinker on things he sets up for her. But we also did some other fun things. Although I told her that her 5 siblings shouldn't expect that any trip to Aunt Rachel's includes these things, because I was worn out for a week afterwards. But it was fun.

On Saturday we took her into Philadelphia. We were just going to go to Fairmount Park and have a picnic and see the Japanese House, until we found out that there was an entrance fee to the house, so we ended up driving into center city and walked around some of the more famous sites: Independence Mall, the Liberty Bell, Penn's Landing, etc. But we still had our picnic in the park first, which was great. Mer and Tim had fun throwing the frisbee for a while. The kids had fun with big sticks (but they have never learned the art of speaking softly, alas.)
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Monday, since Tim had off, we drove up to NYC. Meredith had been to Ellis Island, but never anywhere else, and it was an adventure for her to do city things like ride the subway and dodge traffic and panhandlers.
First we went to Battery Park, but we were too late in the day and the line to the islands was too long...we would have spent half the day waiting. So we contented ourselves with just looking from the shore. We ate the lunches we packed on a bench there, and then got distracted with some street performers. I could smell the schtick a mile away and stayed at a distance so as not to be pestered for money. They had a whole "be afraid of cigarettes and alcohol" spiel, and then at the end said "who feels guilty about not giving us money?" and started chasing people and yelling at them to give them money. Pretty subtle. While Meredith watched them, the kids played in a really cool fountain there. I figured they'd dry!
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Meredith wanted to stop by Ground Zero. It's a mess, all under construction. The last time I was there was in February 2002, and it was still rather raw. Very different now...but the mood is still very somber around that place. Everyone seems to remember and reflect there.
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At Battery Park was a sculpture that apparently had been where the Twin Towers were. It had been blasted into the air and came back, dented and worse for wear, but still intact. They've moved it to the Park with a plaque explaining what happened as an inspiration of resiliency.
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No trip to New York is complete without a trip to the top of the Empire State Building. Here's a picture of the Chrysler building taken from there.
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Finally, Mer and the kids at TImes Square (though you probably can't really see them all that well), and the city lights from Weehawken New Jersey, after taking the ferry back to our car. I just like saying "Weehawken." "Hoboken" is a close second. It might even be worth living there just to say "I'm from Weehawken" if it weren't for all the crime and city blight. And the smell. Ah, well. It's better than Newark.

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