The kids arrived in Newark on Wednesday afternoon excited about getting on the ship. But we were not getting on the ship until Friday but there is plenty in Jersey to keep them interested. First off I had to explain the difference between New Jersey and just plain Jersey, where we are going on this trip.
New Jersey was given as a proprietary colony to Carteret, who was the Bailiff of the Bailiwick of Jersey, one of the Channel Islands. Carteret was loyal to Charles I until he we beheaded and sheltered the future Charles II and James II on their way to exile. When Charles II was restored, and when Britain took over old New York (which was once New Amsterdam), and, in fact the entire of the New Netherlands, Carteret was rewarded with the Eastern half of a colony. It, along with the western half (awarded to a bloke named Berkley) became New Jersey. Little brother, the Duke of York got the bigger chunk of New Netherlands and you can guess what he named it. I explained this all to the grand kids as we passed signs noting the Turnpike exits for Carteret. Not sure if I should quiz them.
On the 19th we went to my old hometown of Jersey City, which has become gentrified, but not beyond recognition. The hospital where I was born, an art deco monument to the free health care provided by the city during the depression is not condos, the Jersey Avenue brownstones are remodeled and many of the warehouse lofts are yuppie havens. The old rail yards and some of the train stations are now Liberty State Park, with a 9/11 memorial, restored wetlands in the Hudson River estuary and great views of the Statue, Ellis Island and of New York City, where the Empire State Building is only the 8th tallest and the new World Trade Center boasts 1776 feet.
The old Jersey Central rail station is both abandoned and restored. The place where immigrants going west from Ellis Island boarded their train of dreams to head to relatives in Chicago, Minneapolis and the Dakotas.