I think this is probably going to be the final part in this series – unless I can’t fit the rest of what we got up to in New York in one post, but I’m gonna try to squidge it all in. All I can say is I’ve struggled to squeeze everything into 6 blog posts, I can’t even begin to work out how we fitted it all in to just under 2 weeks! Madness!
So, Day Two in New York started with a visit to Ground Zero. We were were toured around by a wonderful man who was a photo journalist back in September 2001. He told us about his personal experience and also showed us St Paul’s Chapel, which was only a few hundred yards from where the first tower fell, and yet was completely undamaged by the debris. It turned into a place for the firefighters and rescue workers to rest, recover and eat before going back in to the rubble and save more lives. Even now it has boards covered in missing persons posters and memorials to some of the people who lost their lives.
Looking at the beautiful memorial pools that have been built in the exact footprints of the twin towers was a very humbling experience. The sound of the water seems to shut off the noise of the city and give you a moment of reflection. The names of every single person lost that day are engraved on these pools and the staff at the memorial search every day for who, of these thousands of names, would have had a birthday that day, and place a flower in their name – what a lovely, respectful tradition.
It was very humbling to be there, and the pools and the museum, which documents every moment of the events of that day, was one of those moving experiences that really made me realise even more, the scale of it all. I was only 11 when it happened and I still remember going home from school and watching it all on the news – being there and seeing it just made it seem so much more real.
After we had finished at Ground Zero, we headed to the Staten Island Ferry, which only takes 25 minutes and is completely free! From the ferry you get the most fantastic view of the Statue of Liberty – we did a round trip just to see it. Works out quicker and cheaper than going on one of those set trips to Liberty Island and seeing it from the ferry really gives it some scale as to quite home big it is! It also gave me an excuse to use my uber-zoon lens that I’d been carrying around with me all holiday (though it did also get some use on the whale watching too!)
The next day we started our day by going on the High Line walk. The High Line is an old railway line above the west side of manhattan that has been done up to become a gorgeous walk with the most stunning and iconic views of the city. It is amazing that in this busy and bustling city there are these places that are so calm and serene – we even had a cheeky gelato half way along and watched some live music. It is absolutely beautiful and the plants and the whole way it has been done is completely stunning!
We finished the High Line and wandered through to Greenwich village – we actually walked past the apartment that is meant to be Carrie Bradshaws apartment and I am completely mortified to admit that I didn’t recognise it – we literally walked right past it and I didn’t realise until I got to uploading on instagram when I got some wifi and the suggested location was “Carrie Bradshaw’s Apartment”!
We also, luckily walked past a tour group at just the right time as the guide said “…and if any of your watch friends, this is the building their apartment is meant to be in…” and we looked up to see the building that they show every time they have a scene change into the apartment building in Friends! Amazing!
We went for lunch in a lovely little cafe in Greenwich Village with Scarlett, a cousin of mine, who we saw in ‘A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and had a really lovely catch up over coffee and caesar salads. After lunch we headed to the TKTS booth in Times Square, trying to find ourselves a deal on some tickets for that evening – our last night in the city, we wanted to see it out in style!
We managed to get a great deal on tickets to see “An American In Paris” so we quickly shot back to our apartment for showers and to get changed before heading to the theatre.
“An American In Paris” was absolutely stunning – I’d never seen then film, though now I really want to – the musical was completely beautiful. The dancing was flawless and I couldn’t pull my eyes away from the stage – every single person on that stage was exceptional and the whole show was just fantastic – I really really loved every second. Stunning love story, music I already partly knew and loved, and the dancing was out of this world – I really could have gone back again – perfect for our last night in the city.
After the show we wandered back to the apartment, and went to bed – knowing only too well we would have a very very long day the next day.
On our last morning in New York we went to the One World Observatory at the new world trade centre building. It was incredible – honestly. The moment the skyline was revealed was completely breathtaking and seeing the whole of the city from so high up was spectacular! Even the lift up was an experience, travelling so fast and with walls made of screens with a timeline of the New York Skyline shown on them as we rose up the building like a cork shot out of a bottle.
It was the perfect end to our trip really, to open our few days in New York with a helicopter ride and end with seeing New York from the tallest building in the northern hemisphere – perfect incredible experience book-ends!
We then had a bit of a wander, popped in to Ellen’s Stardust Diner (amazing 50s style diner where all the staff are also performers and they all sing whilst they wait the tables!) for some lunch and then a little bit of a shop before heading back to the apartment to pick up our cases and head to the airport ready for our flight back (which we warmed up for by drinking all the fizz in the first class lounge after a lucky cheeky upgrade!).
New York was incredible – having wanted to go for years, not only did this trip live up to my expectations but it made me want to go again, and soon! I absolutely love it out there and feel like I have barely scratched the surface. New York – I’ll be back!
This whole adventure has been one of those things where it really does feel like we did so much in such a short space of time – we really crammed it in, kept ourselves busy and made the most of every place we went to. We got home, jet-lagged and exhausted but having had the most fantastic time!
I’ve been back a month now, and I’m already getting itchy feet to get away again – I’ve caught the travel bug and I can’t get enough of it. Seeing the world and learning about different places and different cultures and experiencing things I had never imagined – Is there any better way to spend your time, really!??!
To read the posts about the rest of this crazy trip, click here.