New York Trip
August 2004



Of course, it would not have been fair for my mother and sister not to have 
vacation, so my parents spent several weeks discussing where we could go 
together as a family. At some point, they decided that we would go to New York 
City. This ended up being very convenient for my hobby, as three presidents are 
buried relatively close to the city. My animal loving sister was very happy about 
this turn of events as well, for she was interested in seeing dozens and dozens 
of dogs being walked along the streets of Manhattan. With everyone pleased, we 
set off for New York in August. The ride went by very quickly until we reached 
the George Washington Bridge, which was incredibly crowded. The traffic 
slowed us down for quite a bit, and by the time we reached our hotel it was 
nearly 6:00 PM. After we proceeded to grab some dinner, my parents felt that 
there would be no better way to introduce us to New York than to visit the 
Empire State Building. Several hours later, we found ourselves looking down 
from the skyscraper's observation deck on its 86th floor. My sister and I spent 
several minutes trying to locate the Statue of Liberty, which we eventually 
accomplished. Following some purchases from the gift shop, the four of us 
returned to our hotel. 

The next day was filled with excitement, as we traveled by ferry to Liberty 
Island. I though that the island's main attraction was just a statue, unaware that 
their was an entire museum located in its base. We were able to pose beside the 
statue's original torch and life size replica's of its head and feet. Upon our 
departure from the island we attempted to enter Trinity Church's graveyard, but 
to no avail. The gate had been closed several minutes earlier. By pure chance 
however, the burial ground's most notable resident (Alexander Hamilton) is 
buried alongside the fence, so I was still able to get my photo taken with his 
grave. 

The following day brought forth an unforeseen complication. Upon our 
arrival at President Grant's Riverside Drive tomb, we were struck by a sign 
that forbade indoor photography. Stunned, we walked inside and found that the 
staircase leading to the president's sarcophagus was blocked off. My father 
strode over to a park ranger and attempted to persuade him to let us into the 
crypt, but the stern employee would not budge. He insisted that we could not go 
down due to the risk of a terrorist attack. As the conversation progressed, it was 
clear that we were getting nowhere. Eventually, all hope was gone. Several 
minutes later however, the man went on break and was replaced by a ranger 
who had heard our pleas. He instructed us to go downstairs quickly and take 
our pictures, but not to use the flash for fear of being discovered. We did as 
we were told, but the photos did not come out well at all. Nervously, the ranger 
allowed us to use the flash but instructed us to pick up the pace. After we took 
some more photos of the sarcophagi and some surrounding busts, we 
hightailed it out of there and back up to the main room. We graciously thanked 
the courteous man and departed just as the previous ranger returned from his 
break.

Following our victorious visit to Grant's Tomb, we drove forty miles to 
Oyster Bay, New York, which holds the remains of the 26th president. We 
found Youngs Memorial Cemetery with no trouble at all, and strolled up the 26 
step's to Theodore Roosevelt's grave. His simple tombstone is surrounded on all 
sides by a tall metal fence, and the gate was locked at the time. Accepting 
defeat, I stood in front of the gate as my father took some photographs. In the 
meantime however, my mother had walked next door to a bird sanctuary and 
asked who had access to the gate. An employee had the caretaker's phone 
number and gave it to my mother, who called the man and asked him if he 
could come and unlock the gate. Within a very short period of time, the 
caretaker arrived and opened the gate to Roosevelt's grave. Grateful, we 
stepped inside and took the necessary photographs. After he locked the gate 
once again, the caretaker gave us an unexpected tour of the entire cemetery, 
showing us the graves of Roosevelt family members and notable residents of 
Oyster Bay. Once the tour neared its end, the caretaker gave me several 
papers and pamphlets regarding the history of New York and replicas of early 
American currency. Happy, we thanked the man and sped off to our trip's final 
destination.

It was dark when we reached our hotel in Poughkeepsie, so we had no 
chance of visiting the final grave of our vacation that day. Instead, we turned on
the TV and watched the Summer Olympics as I went over the following day's 
itinerary in my mind. After grabbing breakfast in the morning, we drove past 
Samuel Morse's house and traveled north to Hyde Park. Hyde Park is the 
location of Franklin Roosevelt's home, museum, and burial site. My sister Olivia 
was very excited about visiting this historic site, as she was a huge fan of FDR's 
loyal Scottish Terrier, Fala. Inside Springwood, Roosevelt's home, we learned 
many new and interesting facts about the 32nd president, such as he and his 
wife once served the king and queen of England hotdogs. When walking in the 
hallway, we stopped at a small room with a chair and rope in it. Our guide told 
us that it was an elevator, and the half paralyzed Roosevelt used the rope to pull 
himself up to the second floor every day. With these facts in mind, we exited the 
home and walked through the estate's rose garden. In the middle of the garden, 
we found Roosevelt's humble grave marker. After we took some photos, my 
eager sister kept asking me the location of the president's pooch's grave. I 
informed her that he was buried behind his master and was near the sundial, 
news that definitely pleased her. After strolling around the grounds and taking 
some more photos, we bought my sister a stuffed animal of Fala and departed. 
Our lengthy journey was finally over.
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