National Parks of New York Harbor

During the holiday season, we took Metro North into New York City from near my parents’ house in Connecticut.  Traveling into the city means two things for us, amazing vegan food and sightseeing.

Federal Hall National Memorial

Our first stop was Curly’s Diner.  It is a tiny restaurant (aren’t most in the city?) with comfy booths and seriously tasty vegan diner food.  After some fantastic sandwiches, we made our way to Federal Hall National Memorial.  Federal Hall is now tucked in between the much taller buildings of Wall Street and the Financial District, but it holds a much more austere façade.  This is where George Washington took his oath of office.  It is now a museum.  We spent some time wandering around the exhibits.  You can see the Bible he swore in on (though it actually belongs to the Masons and was then in their possession so we did not get to see it).  They also have the railing he stood behind and the stone he stood on when he was sworn in.  Very cool historical artifacts.

We then visited one of my favorite places on earth.  Lula’s Sweet Apothecary.  Vegan ice cream isn’t hard to come by, but Lula’s serves up arguably the best ice cream I’ve ever had.  I had a classic hot fudge sundae and Anthony had a malted peanut butter shake.  As we were snacking, a little boy and his grandfather walked by.  The child had such a look of wonder on his face, that the grandfather took him inside and proceeded to ask him if he wanted a sundae for dinner.  Yay grandpa!

Lula's Sweet Apothecary – vegan delight!

We then made our way to another National Park Site – African Burial Ground National Monument.  We didn’t know what to expect from this site, since we didn’t know much about it before visiting.  Outside there are a couple of monuments and some plaques explaining a bit about the site, but the really interesting information is inside the museum.  A newer Park Site, the visitor center opened less than a year ago, the museum is really well laid out and has great exhibits.  In 1991, while digging for a new federal building, workers discovered the burial ground.  For about 100 years, through most of the 1700’s, free and enslaved Africans buried their dead in this Lower Manhattan location.  Buried by landfill, it was forgotten.  When re-discovered much protest led to the creation of the Park Site.  Now, you can watch an informative film, detailing not only the history of the site, but also the protests and community uprising that led the government to turn the site into a preserved location.  We were both really intrigued by the history and discovery of the site, and it is one of my favorite park sites recently visited.

The day was completed with a brief stop at Toy Tokyo, where we both got toys.  Stuffed owls for me, vintage Marusan Kaiju for Anthony.  Then dinner at Blossom du Jour.  More tasty sandwiches that weren’t too filling, a perfect end to the day.


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