David and I reached our goal! No, it's not weight-loss related. (Don't you read my blog? Can't you sense the loathing of exercise dripping from each post I write?) We have now done every single thing we hoped to do while living in New York City, having checked off the last two items (visit Governors Island and enjoy the Fourth of July fireworks) this weekend. I guess this means we can go home now. Except we have tickets for "West Side Story" tomorrow night, and I really don't want to miss that.
In spite of the constant threat of insta-thunderstorms (they come out of nowhere and nearly drown you), we managed to have a lot of fun this weekend, only getting drenched three or four times (much to the embarrassment of our useless umbrellas). David had the day off on Friday, so we ventured to Governors Island - 172 acres off the southern tip of Manhattan brimming with old military buildings and houses, all completely empty since the 1960s. It was the perfect place for a bike ride, a picnic lunch, and a little ghost-town exploration.
It was a bit bizarre to wander around an abandoned community so close to Manhattan. There's almost a feeling that the people who lived there evaporated in some sort of alien-led disaster. But the lawns are maintained and the buildings are still in good shape, and it's a great place for a peaceful view of the city.
As for the rest of our holiday weekend, our Independence Day celebration consisted of us wishing for our barbecue back home and finally settling for pan-fried hamburgers and a bag of Doritos. Then we headed out to claim a spot on 12th Avenue to view the fireworks. While a hard street is not quite as forgiving as the soft grass of the National Mall, the 75 degree temperature and light breeze made the wait absolutely pleasant. Michael was fairly easily contained with a supply of treats and games and a little girl (who was equal parts annoying and useful) seated next to us, who took a fancy to Michael and inserted herself into our family activities for a couple of hours.
The fireworks made our usual Capitol Fourth look positively small-town by comparison. Five barges were lined up along the Hudson River, each throwing off blasts of matching fireworks. Each individual boat produced the scope of the national show, so it really was five times bigger and better. Though, I will say, there is still nothing like sitting in front of the Washington Monument and watching fireworks explode over the reflecting pool.
Michael was impressed by the spectacle, ("Whoaaa! Big stars!") but a little uneasy about the noise echoing down the streets. By the end he had snuggled himself into David's shoulder and only raised his head for a particularly large "Oooooh" or "Aaaaah" from the crowd.
It was a wonderful weekend, and one that made me very grateful for all the blessings that come from living in America. God Bless the USA!