So after a fews of distraction and current events, let me take you back to the Land of the Big Apple, Day #2.
We did so much that I can hardly believe we saw it all. First, we went to the New York Public Library. I really wanted to see it because of a scene in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" (yes, that movie is the main reason I love NYC, and I don't care what you say about it), even if it wasn't actually filmed on site. It was so beautiful ---I had no idea it was so beautiful! I thought it would be big, but the architecture and art truly amazed me. The lobby alone was fantastic. We walked through it, and I think I found the reading area where "Holly Golightly" was reading, although now it's filled with flatscreen computers. There was even a Gutenberg Bible, one of 7 fully-intact Gutenberg Bibles in the world.
Next, we went to the Statue of Liberty, well, Battery Park to see Miss Liberty from the shore. I wish we could have gotten closer...she looked so small from where we were...but she was beautiful. We could also see Ellis Island, and the Staten Island Ferry was tugging its way through the river. I think if we ever go back, I'd like to actually go inside the Statue of Liberty and spend more time exploring Central Park. There just wasn't enough time to see it all, and I'm just glad to have had the opportunity to go to NYC in the first place.
There are several memorials in Battery Park. First there is the East Coast World War II Memorial, which is very inspiring. There is a giant statue of an eagle and grey slabs of stone on either side. There must be 8 or so slabs altogether with the names of so many men who died in the war.
There is also the New Amsterdam Monument, a giant maypole-looking monument dedicated by those who founded "New Amstserdam." Finally, there is "The Sphere," a giant ball made out of copper or something, alongside the eternal flame. It is in remembrance of the 9/11 tragedy.
Aaron really wanted to see Wall Street, but you can't see the stock exchange goings-on anymore, unfortunately. We stood outside the Stock Exchange Building, though, and Federal Hall, where George Washington spoke. To think, we were standing where our first president stood!
Just down the street from this is Trinity Church, which is just fantastic. The stained glass is really something. There is a graveyard surrounding Trinity Church, and this is where such famous men as Robert Fulton and John Watts and Alexander (and wife Eliza) Hamilton are buried.
There is a metal monument there that looks like the roots of a tree. There was a tree - a giant tree - that was destroyed by the 9/11 attacks, but the roots of the tree protected the cemetery so that none of the gravestones were damaged.
We bought a hot dog from a street vendor, then went to Ground Zero. For some reason, I thought that you could walk on the ground at Ground Zero, but it's all barred off by construction walls because it's still such a mess. They're constructing 2 pools where the bases of the towers stood.
We went to the 9/11 Museum, which was so heart-wrenching and incredible. There were stories and pictures from survivors and families of victims. I always cry when I think of 9/11, but I all but broke down as we walked through the museum. There were wallets and photos, a stuffed animal that they found in the arms of a firefighter, a steel beam from one of the towers, and a firefighter's uniform. And an airplane window - that was the most horrific, Aaron and I agreed.
Next door is the #10 Fire Station and a metal mural on the wall of the building in memory of those who gave their lives from that unit.
We walked up a glass tunnel into a large tower, but we didn't go in the tower. From the tunnel, you could look down on the ruins of Ground Zero. It looked like a big pile of nothing...just stone and dirt and construction equipment. But to know that something belonging to a victim could be in that rubble was deeply moving. And the memories of the scenes of people jumping from the towers or running away from it, terrified and covered in ash from head to toe...that is what gets to you.
We went to St. Paul's, which is where they took a lot of the victims on 9/11. It's a neat church, and we saw George Washington's pew. There were cards everywhere from people across the country. There were also a couple of pews that the church was going to restore, but decided instead to leave as they were. When the firefighters rested there, they laid on the pews with all of their gear on so that they could be ready at a moment's notice. This scuffed the pews up pretty badly, but leaving them this way was a reminder of the service they gave.
We realized that we were somewhat near the Brooklyn Bridge, so we decided to hop on over there. I'm glad we did. We didn't walk very far across it, but we had a lot of fun. And it was pretty cool to think that Sarah Jessica Parker filmed the intro to "Sex and the City" there.
We got a little lost, but eventually found our way to Famous Original Ray's Pizza, a great pizza join in New York. The woman working there was so nice! She said in a thick accent to Aaron, "You have a beautiful wife," and she kept smiling at me. It really made my day!
After Famous Ray's, we went back to the hotel to rest for a bit, then to The Oak Room, a swanky bar/restaurant at The Plaza Hotel. We were all dressed up, which I think is so fun...it makes me grown up and rich! We ordered martinis at $20 a pop (yikes)! Aaron had a few gin martinis and I had a couple of cosmos and we ordered the cheese platter - yum! The Oak Room is where famous celebrities and politicans go, although we didn't notice any there. We heard the most interesting conversations, and Aaron swears that the couple next to us were a married man and high class call girl...it was interesting. It was fun to see people walk past the window, look in at us, and say to each other, "Oh, the Oak Room!" like it was a very elite club.
We took a gander through The Plaza lobby, which is gorgeous! I can't believe that people actually live there permanently! You know The Plaza..."Home Alone," "Eloise," "Sex and the City."
A stroll along 5th Avenue and Central Park was the perfect farewell night for NYC. It was all so beautiful and fabulous at night.
We hopped back toward our hotel on the subway, where we were lucky enough to have a brush with genuine New York rats. And they're huge. Like the size of cats.
Instead of going to our hotel, we went to Peter Dillon's, an Irish pub about a block away. We quickly made friends with our bartender, Barry, who even bought Aaron's dinner from a takeout place because he was ordering some for himself anyway. He took a photo of us behind the bar (I cropped myself out...it was bad), talked about soccer, Ireland, everything it seemed. It was a lot of fun, and I felt a bit intoxicated and very tired, so even though I didn't want to leave, we headed back to the hotel for our early morning at La Guardia.