It was a quiet morning in Park Slope as we pushed the thick wooden door closed behind us and descended down the cement steps. Bundled in scarves and sporting our sneakers again, we took the subway up to the Manhattan harbor area.
Tucked amidst the shadowed buildings, we found a Dunkin’ Donuts and breakfast happened. After coffee and carbs, we walked down to Battery Park to hop on the ferry. The bright sun and blue sky made an appearance once we made it from the pavement of city streets to the waterline. The weather for this trip was really spot-on.
After having a performer serenade me about hogs and Arkansas while waiting in line, we made it through security and boarded the ferry. Cruising away from Manhattan in the chilly breeze numbed our fingers and made for minimal pictures out of fear of dropping our phones into the water.
Alas! We arrived at Liberty Island and went through another tent of security to climb the base of the statue. If you want to go to the crown, you have to book way further in advance than we had.
Everyone takes pictures of the front of the Statue of Liberty so I felt obligated to snap a back shot. The statue was a lot smaller than I imagined it would be but it’s cool to say I’ve experienced it.
At the top, we soaked in a nice view of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and New Jersey. After warming up inside and exploring the little museum, we boarded the ferry again for Ellis Island.
As we disembarked, the sound of bagpipes filled the air. A group of students were lined up on the ramp into the immigration station. Coincidentally, Lilly’s alma mater was having its Scottish Festival the same weekend and she had been commenting about it. Lo and behold, Scottish Fest came to NYC for her! Be careful what you wish for.
We walked into the massive red-brick building and the first thing I noticed was how it resembled a train station. The open venue combined with the tiled high ceiling was incredible and there were so many rooms of museum to explore. Even the bathrooms had an eerie historic feeling that charmed me.
We walked around several of the exhibits to learn about the tests and obstacles immigrants had to go through when the first came to the United States. When our feet hurt and hunger made itself known it was time to find some grub.
Lilly wanted to show me Chelsea Market so we headed north to check it out and grab a late lunch. I was thoroughly impressed- probably because I’ve never seen anything like it. A Londonesque market of shops and restaurants were all tucked amidst exposed brick in this eclectic food hall.
We grabbed sandwiches and drinks at Bowery Eats– which is actually a kitchen supply store. I was reaching the point of hangry by then so that sandwich and Snapple was the best lunch ever. The twinkle light tunnel was pretty awesome to walk under. I mean, it wasn’t even Christmas and there was this rustic artistic feel surrounding us. Love it.
After lunch and some exploring of the market, we went up to the High Line to soak up some sun and walk around. I’ll probably never be able to fully appreciate the history of it but from the brief minutes we had to wander, I really enjoyed it.
Our next stop on the tourist trail was the One World Observatory. Due to construction and getting a bit turned around in the subway, we panicked a bit in our attempt to make it on time. The odds were in our favor, however, as we literally sprinted down the streets of NYC and up the stairs to the observatory.
Sweating and panting, we approached the officers at the top and explained our story and why we were slightly late. One of them teased that my ticket said May 10th instead of April and casually let us inside. Apparently they’re more lax than we thought.
The actual elevator ride up 104 floors wasn’t too freaky. I mean, it’s probably because the elevators weren’t facing the outside. They’re in the middle of the building so you zoom up, watching a video of how NYC architecture has changed over history.
The grand reveal was surreal. It looked like we weren’t even in a building. Even as we walked around to take in the entire view of the city, it was unbelievable. On a side note, it reinforced my desire to take a trip on the London Eye. New goal: check out a high view of all the cities!
I took a bazillion pictures because this thing has a 360 degree view. You can see all around the city: the shadows, the cars below, bridges, etc. I sound like a kid… but it was just really cool!
The most solemn part of the trip…
We went down to the 9/11 Memorial at the bottom of the observatory. It’s a garden area centered with two enormous waterfall reflecting pools. The frames are inscribed with flight numbers, names, and buildings. The atmosphere was solemn with outside sounds drowned in the noise of the waterfalls.
The pools are designed so that if you stand on any side or angle, you cannot see the bottom. To me, the realization of what that represents was the most emotional part.
Remember September 11th 2001.