Sunday, May 06, 2012

From Juneau AK to Hoboken NJ

My Grandson Nathan is graduating from HS in Juneau AK.  He is signed up to attend Stevens Institute of Techonology in Hoboken NJ.  He and his mom (my daughter) and dad went to Hoboken for 'new student day'.  Marie wrote a story of their trip.  I asked if I could distribute it.  She said I would be the only one interested because I was her dad.  So I decided to post it on my blog.  That way not to bother people by distributing them the story.  If they wanted to read it, they could come to my blog and find it.  If you want to send a message to Marie send it to me [tom42n]  and I will forward it to her. 

----- Original Message -----
From: Marie
To:  Dad ;
Sent: Saturday, May 05, 2012 9:28 PM
Subject: Oh Happy Day

Well, it was harrowing experience going to NJ, but Nathan loved it and is sure he wants to go to Stevens Institute of Technology (SIT)!!!!!

The flight was great!!! 4+ hours heading east and 5+ heading west. We rented two digiplayers. I sat in the middle seat and I had one ear listening to Nathan’s sitcom TV shows and one ear listening to Brian's tear jerker movies the whole time both ways. We arrived in Newark at 11:30 pm and called our free motel shuttle.

We decided to stay near the airport because we didn't want to try to find our way to SIT at midnight and the motel rooms were $100/night cheaper near the airport than the ones by school. We waited for a few short minutes when our motel van speeding and weaving in and around the other vans slammed on the brakes at the pick up point. We were tired from leaving Juneau on our 7:00 am flight, so I just told Nathan to make sure he fastened his seat belt. There was a little construction so our driver gave his spiel about how long it usually takes for pick ups and how the construction was lengthening his airport trips. He asked if we were planning to head into "the city" while we were visiting and told everyone the best way to get there.

Our room was very nice and even though the internet said they had reports of bed bugs, we didn't see a single one. Most of NY and NJ motels have reports of bed bugs on or some such site.

We arose around 9ish and headed downstairs just before they put away the free breakfast that came with the room. In fact Nathan just made it through with his doughnuts and fruitloops when they shut the door behind him. We went back to our room and packed up and got ready to head to the school and our next motel near the school. We got a ride from the motel driver who dropped us off at the airport and told us to take the airtrain to some transportation hub and to catch the train to another train to Hoboken, NJ. Nathan could probably tell you the exact names of the trains and stops as I wanted to make sure he could make it from the airport to the school without our help. His trusty smart phone knew the way pretty much and the airport had lots of information people giving directions.

After the train which I think was an Amtrak dropped us off at the subway/train station, I was inline to get our bus tickets and the train was expecting to depart in 2 minutes. The guy in line behind me told me I was wasting everyone's time because I was trying to figure out what the machine was telling me to do. And he started punching buttons for me and he kept punching that I had a debit card when I actually had a credit card. Needless to say the transaction would fail because I didn't have a pin number. Well, we all made the train even all the people in line behind me whose time I wasted.

The train dropped us off right in Hoboken, NJ about 1/2 mile from SIT. We dragged our rolling bags through downtown and passed by Carlo's Bakery home of "the cake boss", we had rented one of the seasons, so we were familiar with the store. There was a crowd of people waiting to get in. The motel says the show brought a lot of tourists to Hoboken. We continued on, dragging our bags along the Hudson River between the campuses.

There's an old cave at the school which apparently had some toxic water in the 50's or so and the community cemented the cave closed. I read they were talking about reopening it. Our next motel, a little less than a mile past the school, was beautiful which must've been why it was over $200 per night plus $50 per night per extra person. We had an awesome view of "the city".

After we got settled Brian and I headed out to a local deli and brought back sandwiches to the room. I then saw why the guy kept asking if we wanted half a sandwich. In our ignorance we kept saying no, because after all it was only being made on two pieces of bread. How big could a sandwich be? Well I swear it was at least 3 inches of deli meat between those two little slices of bread!!! Everything seemed very reasonably priced, so maybe everything was in fact expensive since we are used to Juneau prices.

We decided to venture out to the city. Our hotel was situated right at a little ferry dock that headed over to the city every hour or so for a 6 minute ride across the Hudson. Very fun ride. Lots of people all dressed up in suits and gowns for the evening. I think there was a wedding party staying at our motel. We didn't really know where we were going. The ferry had some free bus rides from the ferry terminal into the city streets. We got off the bus at Madison square gardens a landmark we'd heard of before. We walked around aimlessly trying not to let the crowd force us off our street so we could catch the return bus back to the ferry. We were overwhelmed with stores, restaurants and people, people, people everywhere!! If we weren't careful the crowd would drag us with them across a street. We couldn't decide where to eat until we spotted a KFC something familiar and since we don’t' have a KFC in Juneau, we dined at the NYC KFC.

After buying some specialty popcorn and a new backpack purse, we tried to find a place to catch our bus back to the ferry. I had been searching for a backpack purse for months and haven't found anything and NY had numerous leather stores with any kind of leather clothing and bags you could imagine and the cost was half the price of one I almost bought at one of the west coast malls. I noticed everyone was wearing leather in NY. Funny I had a leather coat in Juneau that I got at a garage sale and just recently gave it away because I never wore it. In NY everyone had leather. We found a ferry bus stop, but there were two big cross country busses and a van without a driver blocking the stop. The busses were yelling at the cops to get the van out of there, but there was no driver. I think the busses were for the entourage of someone famous. We were right outside a fancy hotel. Needless to say our ferry bus just flew around all the commotion and didn't see us in the crowds trying to wave him down. We walked down another half mile or so until we found another bus stop without so much action. We were exhausted.

We arrived at the campus for the accepted students luncheon and met the head coach for a tour of the school. He planned to meet us to give us his personal tour. He took us through the pool and talked a lot about the swim program at the school. He said varsity swimmers get their laundry done and Nathan's HS swim times are varsity times!! He will have to keep up those times. The coach said no trip home for Thanksgiving because Nathan has to be in the pool on Wednesday and Sunday that weekend. The coach said someone on the team works for Macy's so the ones that live far away usually man the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade balloons, so maybe we will see him on TV. Other than that, we went on lots of tours and sat through lots of speeches. There were 4,500 applications for a 650 freshman class.

It was pretty interesting as we got to talk to the Chemistry professor there. Nathan's interest is chemistry, so we talked to him for a while about his research. He works with pharmaceutical companies developing drugs. The work includes simultaneously solving numerous differential equations which is right up Nathan's isle. His two favorite class’s calculus and chemistry. We also talked to the PHD computer majors on their projects, pretty interesting they are doing a lot of research work for some of the major computer companies. They threw out a lot of names, but I don't remember any. They put out tons of candy and sweets for the reception as the SIT jazz band played. Very nice although there was a NY storm out that night. We walked back to our motel.

The next day was the professor luncheon and an appointment with the financial aid office. They are really giving Nathan a good deal. At the luncheon, we met another chemistry professor and some other students planning to attend SIT. Afterwards we walked back to the train and headed back to our airport hotel and then back to Juneau the next day. It seemed like a whirlwind and an expensive experience. I don’t' think I will be visiting Nathan too much while he's there. He will be able to come home for Christmas and maybe the summer if he doesn't get a job there somewhere.



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