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By GAIL CHOOCHAN
After seven hours of driving through the winding, hills-are-alive roads of upstate New York and Pennsylvania, we found ourselves trapped in Jersey City.
We were just a few minutes away from New York City, the last stop on our mini family vacation. Only one thing stood in the way: the Holland Tunnel.
One of the major connections to Manhattan, the Holland Tunnel offers an excellent opportunity to practice sharing the road. Several lanes merge, with cars practically on top of one another, until they are pared down to two (yep, two) lanes through the tunnel.
On this hot Saturday afternoon, parents had reason to be especially proud of the drivers they raised, with hardly a spray of obscenities or even a heavy-handed honk. I aimed to set a good example--after all, Mom and Dad were in the car.
The day had started at 10 a.m. in Niagara Falls--the New York half.
With an aunt visiting America for the first time, my parents had decided to show off a couple of the country's most prized landmarks: that waterfall tourist trap (don't get me wrong, it is lovely) and the Statue of Liberty.
Now, two hours later, I can hear the GPS mocking me. The countdown to our final destination (Club Quarters World Trade Center) has stopped forever ago. I turn it off. I'm tired and hungry, and if I hear "recalculating" one more time, this boxy back-seat driver is going to hit the sidewalk.
The Financial District is not as frantic as Times Square to the north, but it's still buzzing with fast cars, even faster taxis and hordes of tourists. My new hotel find is right smack next to the World Trade Center memorial, and with all the construction and closed-off streets, finding a parking space is an adventure.
After a short power nap, I rallied my elderly travel partners for dinner in Chinatown, just a few subway stops away. As we waited for the N train, I discovered that my father had never been on the subway before. I was filled with proud-daughter joy, knowing I was a part of this great life moment. Meanwhile, Dad sat back quietly as if it was no big thing.
STATUE OF LIBERTY cruise departs 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Battery Park; $17 adults, $14 seniors 62 and older, $9 ages 4-12, free under 4. Additional access from Liberty State Park, N.J. Advance ticket purchase highly recommended; statuecruises.com. SEPT. 11 MEMORIAL AND MUSEUM open daily 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. through Oct. 8, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Dec. 31. Reserve free tickets online at 911memorial.org. CLUB QUARTERS WORLD TRADE CENTER 140 Washington St., between Albany and Cedar streets. Accommodations include standard rooms, suites with kitchenette, studio apartments. Rooftop bar and restaurant. $150 and up. Discount parking available. 212/577-1133; clubquarters.com.