WALKING AROUND CASTLE CLINTON

This building, which defended New York before there was even a United States and during the War of 1812, sits in the middle of Battery Park.

It’s located right across the way from where tourists pick up the boat to go see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty .

Many people know Castle Clinton as the place where one picks up and buys their ticket for the ferry.

But what many people don’t know that it was eventually named for New York governor , De Witt Clinton, and it protected New York City harbor from British invasion during the War of 1812.

After the war and before there was even an Ellis Island Immigration Center, this is where immigrants checked in when they came to New York City .

Right before you get to Castle Clinton, you’ll notice a statue simply titled “The Immigrants ”

It’s a tribute to those who risked and continue to risk their lives coming here for a better life.

As you enter the fort, no matter if it’s just to buy your tickets or just to kill time, take a look around you at this place .

It’s old and it really shows it.

I’ve visited other forts, such as Fort McHenry down in Baltimore and Fort Jay on Governor’s Island here in New York.

Neither of them are showing their age as much as Castle Clinton is.

There’s no wonder that this place is used mostly for buying tickets to see two if the country’s most important landmarks .

There are park rangers around as this is part of the United States National Park Service , but it’s sad to see the condition of a place that’s as much a part of New York history, as well as United States history .

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NEW YORK WORLD WAR I I MEMORIAL IN PICTURES

This is much smaller than the memorial in Washington DC , but it serves the same purpose .

This memorial honors the soldiers and sailors of all the branches, that’s Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard, who lost their lives at sea fighting in World War I I .

NEW YORK KOREAN WAR VETERANS MEMORIAL IN PICTURES

It was a nice day to visit Lower Manhattan, so I did.

In Battery Park, near where the boats that take you to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island , there’s many monuments and memorials.

One of which is called “The Universal Soldier.”

If you look closely , this is actually part of the New York Korean War Memorial .

Around the statue are the flags from the countries that sent troops to Korea.

Also around the statue are the dead, missing and wounded from some of those countries.

Let the pictures tell you the story.

A VISIT TO THE AFRICAN BURIAL GROUND NATIONAL MONUMENT

“For All Those Who Were Lost

For All Those Who Were Stolen

For All Those Who Were Left Behind

For All Those Who Were Not Forgotten”

These words are inscribed on a granite wall outside of the African Burial Ground National Monument in New York City .

The wall is hiden by scaffolding now, but the first time that I walked by it , these words spoke to me as they should everyone, not just Americans.

The monument is located right near New York’s City Hall and the oh so many courthouses that may look familiar to you if you watch the t.v. show, Law and Order .

It’s also close by that bridge that seems to dominate the Lower Manhattan skyline, The Brooklyn Bridge .

The monument is part of the United States National Park Service.

It’s open on Tuesdays through Saturdays and the admission is free.

The building is officially located on Elk Street , but right underneath the Elk Street sign is another sign that lets you know that you’re going in the right direction right after you get off the subway at the Chambers Street Station.

The street sign reads “African Burial Ground Way.”

As part of the building is under construction you have to walk around the corner to the entrance.

The monument was officially open in 2006.

As you walk into the building and see all the exhibits, you notice two things.

One that slavery did take place in New York City, and how the city had more slaves than any city in the South including Charleston, South Carolina.

You’ll also see a West African heart shape figure called a Sankofa.

You’ll see it a lot throughout your visit.

The Sankofa asks you to “learn from your past so that one may prosper for your future.”

Each exhibit makes you think.

You learn that not only did Europeans sell slaves, some of their fellow Africans did as well.

You also learn, sadly, that if a slave was ill on the voyage to the New World, they were thrown overboard .

What shocks you more, if the exhibits weren’t shocking enough, is that many African slaves and free Negroes, couldn’t be buried in the city or New Amsterdam , as it was called then.

Remains of 419 men, women, and even children, were discovered in the late 1990’s, and finally given the prosper burial they deserved.

The seven mounds that you see that are now covered by scaffolding are the remains of the 419.

One might say that this monument is sobering.

Some people might say that, but it opens your eyes to a part of American History that many Americans don’t know or seem to care about.

African Burial Ground National Monument

290 Broadway , First Floor

New York City , New York 10007

212-637-2019

PICTURES FROM MY VISIT TO FEDERAL HALL

Washington DC wasn’t always the capital of the United States .

New York City was and Federal Hall was the place where George Washington was sworn in.

The Federal Hall Memorial is located right across the street from the New York Stock Market right on Wall Street .

You can’t miss this building.

It’s the one with the big statue of George Washington in front of it.

Once you walk into the building , one sees a replica of George Washington’s desk .

Everything you want to see is on the first floor, and it’s not only the story of George Washington’s journey from his home in Virginia to New York City to be sworn in, but it’s basically showing you the history of the American colonies, especially New York .

You learn the story of how this building was the first home of the United States Treasury and Customs House.

If you need some information on New York City , and other National Parks in the country, there is a information room right before you exit.

I would advise going there right after you finish seeing the exhibits .

Yes, you can take pictures here.

Admission is free and it’s open Monday thru Friday .

Enjoy the pictures .

CAPITAL  JOURNEY  –  WASHINGTON ,  DC .  GETTING  TO KNOW  THE  NATION’S CAPITAL  

Besides  New York  City ,  this city is the “Mother  of  All 30 Plus  Teams  Tours.”

It’s  the  city that’s  all about  the  three  M ‘ s  – Museums ,  Monuments ,  and Memorials . 

It’s  that  city that isn’t  a  state ,  but it just happens  to  be  the  capital  of  the  United  States . 

It’s  Washington ,  DC . 

This of course ,  is a 30  Plus  Teams  Tour ,  so it’s  all about  the  sports  in town  also . 

Just  like  politics, they take their  sports  VERY seriously  here.

It’s  a  sports  lovers  dream . 

You’ve  got  four teams  to choose  from . 

There’s  the  Wizards in basketball ,  the Capitals  in hockey ,  and the Nationals  in baseball . 

It’s  very much about football  in this  town . 

In a place where  politics dominates EVERYTHING, it’s  not that surprising  that  politics are going  to  creep into your 30 Plus  Teams  Tour  of  Washington  DC . 

The football  team  is called the  Washington  Redskins . 

Some people  would  like it if the team  would change their  name  to something  other than a name that some  folks  find very offensive . 

Other folks  just wish that the people  who  are  complaining  about  the  team  name would just shut up  and go away so that they can enjoy watching  football . 

You aren’t  here to get into  a  name debate of the football  team  though.

You might not even like  football  and came to see one of the other pro teams  in town . 

More than likely ,  though , you’re here to see what the city is famous  for . 

All those monuments ,  memorials ,  and museums . 

Don’t  forget  to  bring  that camera  with you.

Washington  DC  is a photographer’s  dream ,  and you just know  that  you’re  going  to  be  posting  a lot of  Washington  DC on Instagram . 

Please  remember  though, that when  you  visit  some  of  the  places that the city is famous  for , show some respect.

They’re  memorials . 

Definately  respect  them.

There  are  lots of  museums  that are free here.

Even the National  Zoo is free, and don’t  tell  me  that  you  don’t  want to check out those adorable  Panda Bears.

Where in town  will you go first?

No matter  what  neighborhood ,  bring those sneakers  with you.

This is a very walkable  town, so don’t  be surprised  if  you  see lots of joggers.

They might even be your local  senator or congress person . 

Of course the neighborhoods  that you’ll  want  to  see  are Capital  Hill, Georgetown ,  Dupont  Circle ,  the area around the  White  House ,  and maybe  even  the  Washington  DC  Waterfront . 

How about  visiting  the  neighborhoods  that tourists rarely , if all visit?

Put U Street ,  Adams-Morgan, Anacostia ,  or the Eastern  Market on your list of neighborhoods  to visit . 

If you  happen  to  come into town by Greyhound , Megabus  or Amtrak  train ,  check out the newly renovated  Union  Station ,  one of  the  largest  terminals in the country . 

You could  get yourself  a day pass when you  take the Washington  Metro.

By the way ,  don’t  call it the subway, it’s the Washington  Metro  and you’ll  be  surprised  how clean it is.

Better yet ,  do what the good citizens  of DC do.

Get yourself  a reloadable Smart Card and get ready to  see as many monuments ,  memorials ,  and museums  as you can.

Just remember  to  hold onto your Smart Card because you’ll  need it not only to enter the train station ,  but to exit it as well . 

Don’t  think  you can see all these attractions  in  one trip to DC.

You can’t ,  so don’t  even  think  about  it . 

Get yourself  a  guidebook  before you arrive and make a list of  attractions  that you really  want  to  see . 

Check if you need timed tickets ,  which are free in some cases, but because some of  the museums  get very crowded, they give you a time that’s  best to visit . 

What should  you see if you don’t  have  that much time?

I  would  suggest  not only the ones that are on the National  Mall  like the Washington  Monument ,  Vietnam  Wall or Lincoln  Monument ,  visit some of the  museums that are part of the Smithsonian . 

Their motto is, “So many museums ,  so little  time . ”

The  National  Zoo  is part of  the  Smithsonian ,  but if you’re  only in town for a day or two ,  the Zoo might  be  out of  the  question . 

No matter  what  you  decide  to  do, enjoy  your stay in Washington  DC ,  whether  you’re  going  to  watch  a sporting  event  or if you’re  going  to  learn  a little  or a lot about United States  history .