A View with a Room

Stepping off the boat onto the marina on a ridiculously sunny Sunday afternoon I felt like I was on vacation.  But I had actually just taken a $1 ferry ride across the Morris Canal in New Jersey to Liberty Landing marina (a distance even I could have easily swam) to the Liberty House restaurant.

I am rarely surprised by places in the city I have lived in for 18 years.  Especially when that city is New York and you’ve been around the block a few times.  But that is exactly how I found myself as I stepped off the ferry and into the outdoor gardens of Liberty House in Liberty State Park (have you figured out by now it’s near the Statue of Liberty?).

Ok, that’s not New York you say, fair enough.  After making the leap across the Hudson to Jersey City two years ago, I have looked out onto the Liberty House wondering not only what goes on there (what with the random outbursts of music now and again and a fairly impressive fireworks display on any given evening), but how on earth would one get there?  Liberty State Park is that swath of green that lies behind the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, seemingly surrounded by water.  Having pieced together the mechanics of the trip across the narrow canal via the Liberty Landing Ferry, we decided we would make our way over.

We settled comfortably into one of the many outdoor living room areas furnished with overstuffed chairs and loveseats.  An overly cheery waitress greeted us with a full drink menu and a fairly impressive wine list (nothing terribly unique but someone clearly put some thought behind it).  We thought we were living large as we sipped our cocktails while looking out onto the emerging New York City skyline amidst these beautiful gardens.  And that alone would have made for a memorable evening.

But then the wedding started, the Monsoon Wedding.  A parade of the most beautiful Indian women in the finest silk saris I had ever seen.  I felt like I was on a movie set watching it all pass by.

It occurred to me, as I was watching this cultural dichotomy play out in front of me, with the Statue of Liberty as the backdrop, this truly is the future the Dutch saw when they came here and fought for New Amsterdam.  The names may have changed but the dream was realized.

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