It is now the oldest City Hall still in use in the United States. this is my first home in the USA; Perth Amboy. 13 years of my life and a big taste of Americana. Right around the traffic circle in front of it you have a park in the middle its the G Washington park with a replica of liberty bell;the bell that sound off American independance in Philadelphia.
Construction of the building began in 1714 and was completed in 1717 or 1718. It served as the local courthouse and jail, and was also used by the Provincial Assembly until 1775. The building has twice been rebuilt after being badly damaged by fire; first in 1731, rebuilt until 1745, and again around 1765 following an arson attack believed to have been committed by a former inmate who was imprisoned on debt charges. It was rebuilt a second time in 1767.
City Hall has undergone three renovations, most recently in 2006, although some of the original structure remains. The building is now Victorian in style.
A two-room surveyor's office was built adjacent to City Hall in 1867, which was used by the General Board of Proprietors of the Eastern Division of New Jersey.
Some notable moments done here are
On November 20, 1789, the State of New Jersey became the first to ratify the United States Bill of Rights.
On March 31, 1870 Thomas Mundy Peterson (1824–1904) became the first African-American to vote in an election under the just-enacted provisions of the 15th Amendment to the United States Constitution.
go see American history at its best
Carlo's Bakery or CARLO'S BAKE SHOP was founded in 1910, in Hoboken New Jersey, by Carlo Guastaferro. In 1964 it was purchased by Bartalo "Buddy" Valastro Sr. Bartalo "Buddy" Valastro Jr. currently runs the bakery with help from his La Famiglia - his four older sisters, three brothers-in-law, and other assorted family members and friends.
The Bakery has gained public attention as the setting of the TLC (The Learning Channel) television series "CAKE BOSS".
I love this show, as every week it highlights the every day happenings at the bakery. Buddy gets orders for some pretty amazing cakes. Some are just for birthdays or anniversaries, but some are huge creations, such as buildings and life-size animals. One episode had the staff creating an exact replica of Buddy's wife Lisa, as he wanted to surprise her for her birthday. Customers sometimes ask for specialty cakes and it takes the skill of his workers to figure out how to accomplish making such a cake. Pretty incredible.
Be prepared to wait in line to get into the Shop. The day we were there, the wait was at least an hour.
Built in 1764, The Proprietary House served as the home of the last Royal Governor of New Jersey, William Franklin, son of Benjamin Franklin. Remaining loyal to the crown, he was arrested there in 1775 at the outbreak of the War for Independence. The house was almost lost to fire after the war, but was rescued by John Rattoon and sold to John Woodhull who turned it into the fashionable resort known as The Brighton. It was later the home of Mathias Bruen, one of America’s wealthiest men in the mid-1800s. At the last turn of the century it became a home for retired Presbyterian clergy and their widows and orphans called The Westminster. After a period as a boarding house, it was rescued by concerned citizens and is presently owned by the State of New Jersey.
It continues to serve the community as office space and The Proprietary House Association operates the first two floors as a museum. It is the only Royal Governor’s mansion that survives in the original Thirteen Colonies. We invite you to visit this amazing house!
At this festival, women carry the very heavy statue of St. Ann through the streets of Hoboken. The festival also has fun food, games, and live music at night. Definitely get the zeppoles (fried dough balls covered in powdered sugar). Yummy.
Sandy Hook is a unique sand spit that consists of beaches and an old fort, within sight of New York City's skyline and the Statue of Liberty.
Fort Hancock operated on Sandy Hook from 1874 to 1974. Its main purpose throughout the years has been defense of the vital New York Harbor. The fort was home to America's first disappearing gun battery, and in the 1950s, Project Nike antiaircaft missiles were stationed here. Sandy Hook was also home to the Sandy Hook Proving Ground an ordinance testing site that was operated until 1917 when the function was moved to the much larger Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland.
Fort Hancock is home to the second best preserved Nike Ajax site in existence. The site has been restored and contains the original missile bunkers, as well as three Nike Ajax and a Nike Hercules on display. Each fall the base hold a Cold War Day. Tours are offered one weekend a month from April to October.
Duke Island Park is part of 2, 700 acres of land which consists of public park, estate park and gardens. It is owned and developed by James Buchanan Duke who later on transformed this once farmland into an extraordinary landscape.
He donated Duke Park Island to the government years back which the people of New Jersey are now enjoying right now.
Lush green trees, shrubs and grasses make it so ideal for a weekend getaway, family picnic or just a stroll for a cool breeze.
Shaded walkways, bicycle pathways, picnic areas, barbeque grillers are provided for free.
You can feel the serenity of the place once you're inside the park. You can do fishing in the lake, boating or play football.
Special events like birthday parties can also be held at the park.
Ellis Island played a vital role in American history and heritage. It served as the immigrants passage way when they entered the United States date back 19th century.
The museum houses photos, letters, immigrant records, memories, life stories and other memorabilias of the immigrants of the United States of America.
There were families, male, female, young, old who seek for better opportunities, freedom and self expression. Better life for themselves, for their families and for their children.
Its been decades now since they first set foot in the Land of the Free yet amidst the crowd of the museum when we visited the place, i feel like i was with them...hearing their stories and their experiences. Take time to be silent and feel the atmosphere..as if they're still there...their hopes and dreams...THEIR AMERICAN DREAM!
Without exception every single American I have met during my trip has, on hearing that I intended to visit New York, recommended visiting Ellis Island, which also takes in a visit to The Statue of Liberty. Following these recommendations I enjoyed a fascinating day out taking the Circle Line Ferry from New Jersey's Liberty State Park.
If you do no other thing on a New York/New Jersey visit do this! Not only are the monuments, exhibits and tours themselves fascinating, even to a non-Yank like me, but also the ferry trip is a "Thing To Do" in its own right for the views of Jersey City and Manhattan from New York Bay.
The easiest way to get to the ferry terminal is by the Hudson-Bergen light rail to Liberty State (see tip on transportation) from which you can walk to the terminal or take the shuttle bus.
For more info see my New York page
The Bergen County Zoo is one of America's best small zoos, and a great place to take small children on a summer day. Their animal collection is focused on North America, Central America and South America. It includes bison, prairie dogs, elk, tapirs, capybaras, guanacos, mountain lions, ocelots, a condor, anteaters, tortoises, alligators, spider monkeys, rheas, tamarinds, and bald eagles. They also have a butterfly house, a petting zoo with farm animals (sheep, cows, pigs, etc.) and a miniature train that children can ride with their parents. Across the street from the zoo, in Van Saun Park, there is a large playground and a carousel.
Van Saun Park is a pleasant place to spend a summer afternoon with the kids. It has a very good small zoo, a carousel, a miniature train, playgrounds, picnic areas, pony rides, tennis courts and a baseball field. If you want to use the picnic shelters, you will need to get a permit in advance, as they are very popular for group outings.
New Jersey State Aquarium was pretty nice but since we were there, they are under going some heavy renovations and will not reopen until May 2005. There will be alot more exibits and things to do. You can spend many hours here exploring around, they also have a restaurant with a deck to eat outside with a great view of Philadelphia. They also have a great kids spot to play with an old carrousel and other cool rides for the kids. .
Storybook land is a great place for toddlers and small children. From an adult perspective, it's a poorly maintained rip-off, but little children love the place. Recently there have been some renovations, but SBL still leave a lot to be desired.
Rides are geared to the very young and many of the attractions are just dioramas and walk-throughs.
Thankfully the park is wooded and is tolerable even on really hot days. They don't have any water rides, but they do have a tent where you can get misted down, to cool off.
Admission fees are per person priced the same for adults and children, whether you ride the rides or not. There is no "spectator" option. Food is choices are limited and overpriced. I always pack a lunch.
Grounds for Sculpture near Trenton, NJ
Outdoor/indoor sculpture garden
Must see sculpture garden even for non-art lovers. Not stuffy at all. Very surreal as a matter of fact. Great cafe with outdoor garden seating. Very classy restaurant on site but too expensive for my tastes. I love just finding a secluded spot here and enjoying the atmosphere. For more photos of this amazing place, see my travelogue.
The highlight of our visit to Princeton was the excellent Art Museum on the university campus. This is just the right size to see comfortably in a couple of hours (less if you’re only interested in certain sections) and as well as the art on display itself, also provides an insight into the wealth of Princeton University and its benefactors. Many of the paintings on display are labelled as donations from alumni, and as these include works by Monet, Cezanne, Gauguin, Degas and many other famous artists you know they didn’t come cheap! There is also an extensive collection of ancient artefacts from civilisations such as China and Rome, as well as from closer-to-home cultures such as the Pacific Northwest Tribes and the Inuit. Add some good photographic works, including a couple by one of my favourites, Ansel Adams (e.g. Moonrise, Hernandez, New Mexico), and you can see there was more than enough to keep us occupied until it was time to leave for the airport.
The museum is free to visit and open to the public Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm and Sundays from 1 to 5 pm. There is strict security to protect the art works; no large bags can be taken inside (lockers are available) and we were asked to either leave our jackets on or put them in the locker as well, as carrying them over the arm means they could brush against a painting.
We spent a rather damp Sunday in Princeton on our way back to Newark for our flight home. Despite the rain we found plenty to keep us occupied here, most notably the excellent Art Museum (covered in more detail in a separate tip). Princeton’s centre is dominated by the campus of the university with its attractive old buildings. This is open to the general public to walk around, and a stroll through the grounds between showers was a pleasant way to spend an hour or two, and appeared to be a popular Sunday morning outing for local families too. The campus fills one side of the main street, Nassau Street, and is accessible through several gates. Once inside you find a real mix of architectural styles, with early twentieth century buildings (and a few even earlier) interspersed with more modern ones. There are also plenty of green spaces, and some interesting sculptures including work by Henry Moore and Picasso.
We sandwiched our walk between two refreshment breaks. A heavy shower just as we arrived sent us in search of a warming cup of coffee, and we found great lattes at Chez Alice, a café and bakery in Palmer Square just off Nassau. The baked goods looked delicious too but we were still full from a good breakfast at the Trenton Marriot so passed on these.
Later we had a tasty sandwich lunch at Zorba’s Brother, on Nassau opposite one of the entrances to campus. This again seemed to be a popular choice with local families, and we could see why as it’s a friendly, down-to-earth, family-run café serving large portions of Greek influenced food.
By the way, there is metered parking, but if like us you come on a Sunday this is free. However there are no signs to tell you this on the meters and we only found out because a helpful local lady told us after we had put our first quarter in!
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