Wednesday, October 26, 2016

New York City

Since we had been to New York City three years ago, this time we wanted to do some of the things we didn’t have time for before (or weren’t opened at the time).  So we bought a New York Pass that covers admission to over 80 attractions.  It was a good way to go, but I think I’d need about a year (or at least a couple months) to enjoy everything.
For this trip to NYC, we stayed at the Meadowlands in Secaucus, an easy 15 minute bus ride into New York City, because we’re too cheap to pay Manhattan hotel prices (or we like to maximize our travel budget).  Matt only had one day to spend with us before flying home, so we started by taking the subway to Battery Park.  From there we took the boat to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Then we walked up to the 9/11 Memorial.  The plaza is now open to walk around (last time we had to go through security to enter the area), but the line for the museum (that wasn’t opened when we went in 2013) was too long for the time we had, so we went back another day.  We also went on the grounds of St. Paul’s Trinity Church, one of the oldest churches in the country, that was miraculously undamaged on 9/11.  Matt insisted on eating NY pizza, so we did that for lunch and then boarded a hop-on, hop-off bus for a city tour.  We did the lower Manhattan loop and got off at Chinatown.  Then we took the subway back up to Times Square where we shopped and hung out with the hundreds of other people that were there on a pleasant Saturday evening.
The next day we took our rental car to La Guardia airport, then took the bus and subway through Queens and into Manhattan.  There we took the upper Manhattan hop-on hop-off loop and got off at the Guggenheim Museum.  After that museum, we walked down to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I didn’t realize what a huge place it is; it would take days to see it all.  So since we only had hours (it closes at 5pm), we had to be selective.  Then we finished the bus loop and headed back to the hotel. 
The following morning we took the subway back to the 9/11 Memorial and visited the museum.  It is an excellent museum that touches on every aspect of that day, and is a sobering reminder of the tragedy.  From there we walked to the seaport area on the East River and took a water taxi under the Brooklyn Bridge, past the Statue of Liberty, and up the Hudson River.  From the terminal we walked to the Intrepid Museum, which has the aircraft carrier, a submarine, and the Star Trek Experience.  That would be cool if you’re a big trekkie (I’m not).  Then we took a bus to Rockefeller Center to go to the Top of the Rock.  The view from there is amazing; from one side you can see Central Park and upper Manhattan, from the other, lower Manhattan and beyond.  We got some dinner at the Tri-Tip Grill (good and inexpensive) before doing the tour of Rockefeller Center.  I didn’t know that it consists of 19 buildings that house offices of many international companies as well as broadcast studios and Radio City Music Hall. 

For our last day, we went back downtown to a couple historic locations we wanted to visit.  The first was Federal Hall, where George Washington was inaugurated as our first president.  The Bible he used when he was sworn in is displayed inside, and outside is a large statue of Washington.  This location (although the building is not the original but was rebuilt in 1842) was the original US capitol under the Articles of Confederation and then the Constitution.  It is located on Wall Street across from the US Stock Exchange.  A couple blocks further down is Fraunces Tavern, built in 1719 and one of the oldest buildings in Manhattan.  It was the site of many important events of the revolution, including Washington’s farewell to his officers of the Continental Army at the conclusion of the war.  The building is owned by the Sons of the Revolution and still houses a tavern and restaurant downstairs, but the upper floors are a very interesting museum.  It contains many handwritten documents, paintings and flags from every era of American history.   After that we took the subway back up to Times Square area and did some shopping.  The next day we took an Uber ride to the airport to catch our flight home.
Statue of Liberty
9/11 Memorial

in 9/11 Museum
St. Paul's Trinity Church

Freedom Tower
Times Square on a nice Saturday night

Lower Manhattan skyline from water taxi

Central Park and Manhattan from Top of the Rock

Rockefeller Center

Washington statue at Federal Hall

Fraunces Tavern

view of Hudson River and Statue of Liberty from airplane

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