Sorry this post is soooo late. It took me two weeks to write this!
In the last post before we embarked on our European Getaway I stated that we would be starting our trip in New York. Since we were going for a family wedding my parents and siblings were also making the trip. Everyone arrived on different days since we all have different work schedules and travel plans. My sister and I arrived first. Since we were bridesmaids we had to arrive prior to the rehearsal dinner.
Our plane landed early Wednesday morning and one of our cousins picked us up (Thanks Amy! You rock for getting up so early and driving us to Brooklyn). We had a little bit of time before she had to head back to Long Island for work so we grabbed some breakfast. Afterwards my sister and I decided shopping trumps sleep so we set off for Manhattan!
Our first stop? Canal Street. But first I may have needed a subway nap.
Canal Street is notorious for selling counterfeit items and for being a tourist trap but since we are tourists we love it! We just walked around and did some light shopping.
Then we wandered over to Herald Square to go to Macy's because it is humongous and fabulous.
And visited the Empire State Building.
Then we went back to Brooklyn to get ready for the rehearsal dinner. Sadly I didn't take any pictures. All I can say is that the drinks were flowing and I was having a great time. Jonathan and my brother arrived early the next morning and after they dropped off their luggage we set off to do some sight seeing.
Our first stop was the 9/11 Memorial. This was my favorite part of our time in New York and by far the most moving. I don't think any American could visit and not react emotionally. Seeing it in person really puts the day into perspective and it seems incredible that such a massive loss could take place in a such a small area. Truly heartbreaking.
They have two pools that mark where the towers used to be. All of the names of the victims are organized by groups. The first responders are all together and then broken down by agency and companies. For example, the names of firemen from the Fire Department of New York City are together but then they are organized by battalion and so on.
Some of the hardest names to read are those pregnant women. It will have a name followed by "and her unborn child." The memorial staff will also place flowers on the names on what would have been that person's birthday. I wasn't the only person crying.
The most unexpected part is the Survivors Tree. It was found a month after the attacks in the rubble of the towers. It was badly burned and reduced to an eight foot tall stump. It was taken to nursery in the Bronx and nursed back to health. Then it was replanted in the memorial piazza. Visitors place flowers and other items around it.
Next we walked over to Battery Park and boarded the ferry to Liberty Island.
It had been years since I been to the Statue of Liberty and the last time Jon and I were in New York it was closed. Due to security concerns and new safety measures instituted after 9/11 the island and pedestal are open to the public but only a certain number of people a day are allowed up to the crown. When we booked our reservations there were no available crown tickets until November. Despite our disappointment we still had fun.
By the way did you know that it's not called the Statue of Liberty? The actual name is Liberty Enlightening The World.
We ended the day by charging our phones on the street and grabbing some pizza.
Then we had a big family dinner at my uncle's house before going to bed to rest up for the wedding the next day. There should be a ton of wedding photos here but once again I failed at taking pictures. But it was really fun and the bride was stunning.
The day after of the wedding was our last day in New York so after we slept in a bit we met up with my parents in the city. We walked past the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall. Federal Hall was the first capitol building on the U.S. and its where George Washington's Inauguration took place.
Then we went to Central Park and wandered around until it time to meet my aunt for dinner in Queens.
We went to an Ecuadorian restaurant where we got down on some traditional dishes. My mom makes some dishes but not very often so its always exciting when we can get some!
And that concludes the New York part of our trip. Once dinner was over we hailed cab and made our way to the airport. I love visiting New York. I have a fabulous time every single time and I love getting to see my family. My sadness at leaving my family was tempered this time by our excitement to go to EUROPE!