Tuesday, January 29, 2008

New York Part II

So after a rather longer delay than I had initially planned here's the second part of my New York trip. Recap: part one talked about how inexpensively we got to New York. Now you'll get to hear all about it.

We arrived on Manhattan island at the Penn Station subway stop, so around 34th street, which is in heart of the hustle and bustle of New York. It is surrounded by shops, tourist places, restaurants, billboards, and neon blinking lights. So we hop off and begin our trek to the hotel. We decided to walk because it's a good way to view the city and view it we did. Not only did we realize our hotel was in a prime spot, near all the major sites of Manhattan while being in a residential sector, this entire area was primed. I walked past huge buildings all with different types of architecure. Some had lots of levels and some were mostly residental. Most of them contained some sort of shop on the bottom, or bank, or food place. You could see bits of the old city mixed in with the new. Commericalation mixed in with serenity. I soaked it all in.

After this initial stroll we headed down to see the Statue of Liberty, or as Sarah so fondly calls her, "the lady with the torch." We had decided earlier that we would not visit Ellis Islang because it costs to visit and we were trying to keep costs low. However, native New Yorkers, and those who have visited lots, know there's another good way to view the statue for free... via the Staten Island ferry. So we took the metro down to the ferry, hopped on and watched as it went past the lady with the torch. I got multiple pics of her and the city skyline itself, for you see a great view of NYC as you cross over to Staten Island. I saw many different boats out on the Hudson and we passed Ellis Island. It was nice to see the beacon of hope up close and to really realize that my ancestors passed through those same waters a long time ago.

We then headed off to the World Trade Center Memorial which is in that same general area. The subway station was in current repair so a shuttle took us to the site, totally free of charge, and showing us another view of NY that most tourists don't see. All of us know what happened on 9/11 and the city is still recovering from the devastation. Some of the buildings are still being reconstructed, work on the new tower memorial is comencing and the subway station there has been permantely closed. We walked past the bronzed memorial that is built into the firehouse that lost most of its crew and is located a few short feet from ground zero. Through a small hole in the fence tarp I was able to view ground zero, see the massive devastion that occurred and finally understand what I had seen on tv. It is still a very somber site and I believe always will.

We then walked the streets some more and ate and began to see the city at night. We walked up fifth avenue, the world renowned shopping district, past the largest Macy's in the world, you know... home of the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade. Saw Times Square briefly all lit up (more to come on that) and up to the New York Public Library. As an avid reader I was very excited to see this place and even more so because it's the centerpiece in a great global warming movie called The Day After Tomorrow. We took some pics, saw it and realized that was getting colder by the minute, yet we had one more stop to make... Rockefeller Center. Rockefeller Center is home of NBC Today's show and also to the annual Christmas tree. It also houses an ice skating rink. S weo spent some time there. We saw the people ice skating , the flags waving and the NBC studio. We toured it to get warm, and enjoyed the scene. Finally we headed back to the hotel after being up since 5am. Boy were we ready for warmth and sleep.

Sunday morning came too soon but we were excited. We were seeing a broadway show, woohoo!! Typically it was also a very cold day with the highs in the 20's without windchill, which there were plenty of. Before the show we decided to head off and visit Grand Central Station, one of the oldest train stations in the country. It's still in use and in amazing shape and very beautiful. We saw the old time stone architecure built in here with the sweeping archways, granite walls, and sprawling concourses. There was a really good food court in the basement with an amazing assortment of foods. Also, on the main level there was a market where you could go and buy food. It had fish, fruit, veggies, breads, cheeses, danishes, etc. All fresh and all handmade. We picked up a few danishes for the bus ride home on Monday and were on our way to Broadway.

That's where I'll leave you folks for now... Broadway and the Lion King.

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