First things first… it’s COLD in New York City this weekend! After weeks and weeks of abnormally warm temperatures in the northeast this fall, the weathermen have been warning of the oncoming arctic blast for days. And of course, today was the day I planned all of my outdoor activities. But the cold didn’t prevent me from enjoying the sites.
Let’s back up for a minute. Last night was not a great night for sleeping. Between the cacophony of horns and sirens sounding 17 floors below me and a strange bed, I took a series of naps rather than one long sleep. And while we’re in rewind mode, it’s probably a good time to talk about one other “issue”… I find myself in a bit of a dilemma when it comes to the first (and my favorite) meal of the day here in Manhattan. You see, Manhattanites seem to enjoy putting breakfast off til mid-morning. I’m sure I’ve mentioned before that I am up with the birds (it’s a rare day that I can “sleep in” past 5:00AM). And unfortunately, the “good” breakfast places here don’t open until 8:00 AM during the week and 9:00 AM on the weekends. Who eats breakfast that late in the day?? If you’re worried that I had to forgo breakfast altogether, you can relax. I had a delicious pain perdu at Maison Kayser just a few blocks from my hotel.
After breakfast, it was off to visit two iconic New York tourist attractions – the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Did I mention how cold it is today? Perfect weather for a boat trip (or not!). I switched my 9AM ticket to 10AM so I could climb up as far as the pedestal in the Statue (tickets for the crown are sold out months in advance). It was freezing and the wind was whipping, but what an experience! The view over the Manhattan skyline was incredible! A short boat ride from Liberty Island is Ellis Island. I really wish there were about half as many people at Ellis Island as there were. It’s pretty hard to read everything with hoards of people blocking the view. Still, it was a memorable experience learning about the millions who first set foot in America on that island.
After the boat ride back, I walked a few blocks to the 9/11 Memorial. I read a lot about the museum before coming here and decided it sounded too intense/emotional for what is supposed to be a fun weekend away. The memorial was impressive, but I thought seeing FDNY Ten House (the closest station to the twin towers and the one which suffered the most loss – both in lives lost and the firehouse itself – on 9/11) was much more moving.
My last tourist activity of the day was a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. I was well aware of the potential crowds on the bridge, but I was still able to snap a few good pictures. Once I got to Brooklyn, I meandered through some side streets to Brooklyn Bridge Park for photos of the Manhattan skyline before heading to Grimaldi’s for some authentic NY style pizza. Truthfully, I’d be hard pressed to pick it, or any other NY style pizza I guess, out of a lineup of pizzas. But it definitely hit the spot! I snapped a few more photos of Manhattan at dusk before heading back to midtown. A quick stroll through Times Square, and a stop at Magnolia Bakery for a sinfully delicious red velvet cupcake, and I was back at my hotel before 7 o’clock. Time to rest up for tomorrow’s cultural adventures!