Thursday, May 24, 2007


1,172: THIS ROADTRIP HAS SEVEN DAYS

Previously on Roadtrippin': The journey begins with a long drive across New York state and a cordial conversation on the Niagara.

Day 2: Albany, NY to Newark, NJ


After a good night's rest, I packed the car and headed down the road that would be my main route down the Hudson, US 9, the old Albany Post Road.

Hoffman's Playland
First picture of the trip: an amusement centre just north of Albany. First of many scary clown drawings seen over the next few days. Almost made me wish I had this tune on the radio while driving by.

Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza New York State Museum (1)
New York State Museum (2) Into the Museum
First stop: the New York State Museum, located on the south end of the government plaza in downtown Albany. Naturally, I used the underground entrance.

American Elk Sneaky Moose
Left: one of many animals permanently captured in mid-stride in the Adirondack Wilderness exhibit. Right: Hey guys, don't you notice the moose behind you? He's coming this way! Run! RUN! (now you know why the photo is blurry).

The first exhibit I looked at was a gallery of art by Alex Katz drawn from the Whitney. I didn't linger long, as a security guard stuck to me like glue, which drained any motivation to look at the work. Maybe I radiate something that instinctively makes enforcement officials dislike me.

9/11 Firetruck Here's How to Get to Sesame Street (1)
Left: from the 9/11 exhibit, one of the fire engines involved in the tragedy. Right: At last, I found the way to Sesame Street...or a replica of the set in Metropolis Hall.

Van Buren's House (2) Van Buren's House (1)
Next stop: the Martin Van Buren National Historic Site in Kinderhook. I was a week early for the official tourist season, so I strolled around the grounds of the home of the eighth president (1837-1841).

FDR and Eleanor Should The Horse on the Left's Name Come as a Surprise?
It was an afternoon full of dead presidents, as I rolled into Hyde Park to wander around the Franklin Delano Roosevelt National Historic Site. I caught the Roosevelts in the middle of a leisurely afternoon read. I just missed one of the tours of the home and library, so again I strolled the grounds. The name of one of the horse pens in the stable did not come as a shock.

Dead Presidents (1) Dead Presidents (3)
Time to compare presidential burial sites. Martin Van Buren (died 1862) lies under a tall pillar in a tightly-packed Reformed Church cemetery. FDR (died in office, 1945) rests under a white slab surrounded by grass, with a garden lining the edges of the plot.

Except for a SUV following me so closely that I had to run a red light in Hyde Park, the drive down river was relaxing. I stayed on the east side of the Hudson to Tarrytown, crossed the Tappan Zee bridge, then hopped on the Palisades Parkway to meander my way down to the Comfort Suites in Newark. I arrived around 5:30, checking in just ahead of a busload of teens from a bible college.

Staten Island Signs Tick Tock Diner
After rest and a quick call home, I hopped back in the car and wandered around. This led to my first drive in any of the five boroughs - a quick trip over to Staten Island. The photo on the left is the only prooof I was there, since traffic was heavy, the sun was setting and my route took me mostly by residences or strip malls (for the curious, I went over on the Goethals Bridge, then circled back via Forest Ave, Richmond Ave and Victory Blvd). I suspect I should have gone over an hour or two earlier.

Back on the mainland, I got lost looping around the many bridges in the industrial areas east of Newark, winding up on the Pulaski Skyway twice. After a drive through the Ironbound district of Newark, I ended up heading north to Clifton, stopping at a few stores along the NJ 3 strip. I ate a late dinner at the Tick Tock Diner, which had the classic silver siding. I had a corned beef sandwich (piled thick, likely knife-carved, slightly fatty but tasty), with a side of potato salad and a vanilla egg cream.

I headed back to the hotel and flipped on the TV. The lowlight was The 1/2 News Hour on Fox News Channel - imagine a bad installment of Weekend Update stretched out, with a pronounced conservative (not mock-conservative) bent. Not a laugh. Not a chuckle. FNC is much funnier when it sticks to its "fair and balanced" regular news coverage.

More pictures from the day are in the ever-expanding Flickr set.

Next: Manhattan - JB

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