I was really pleased when granddaughter Katie asked me to accompany her yesterday for a visit to Jersey City NJ. She is searching for an apartment and I was eager not only to spend a day with her, but also to get back “On the Road Again.” After all, I’ve been off the road for two whole days! I haven’t been to Jersey City for many years and had some rather negative images of it embedded in my mind. All of that was changed yesterday as I observed an old city in the throes of renewal. The Jersey City that I remembered from long years ago is no more. We have to be careful of our stereotypes, both of places and people, formed by images and relationships in the past. Places change and people change and often for the better!
Driving in the area is still as treacherous and confusing as ever, and at one point we found ourselves at the toll booth entering the Holland Tunnel into the Big Apple. Fortunately, the toll booth attendant and the police woman nearby took pity upon us and permitted us to turn around without paying the $15 toll. Another stereotype was demolished then and there. People (in urban NJ and elsewhere) are generally friendly and helpful (except perhaps when driving the streets of Jersey City and the NJ Turnpike at rush hour).
Katie and I had a little time to spare between appointments and spent an hour or so walking in Liberty State Park in Jersey City. It was a bit chilly, but the scenery was impressive. We could see Ellis Island, the skyline of New York City, and the “backside” of Miss Liberty as we walked along. This was my first opportunity to see the ONE World Trade Center, the monolith built to replace the twin towers destroyed in the September 11 attacks. It is now New York City's tallest skyscraper and a beautiful piece of architecture.
What a wonderful day in the “city” with a beautiful young woman at my side—and that young woman is my granddaughter!