While Willem had time off over the holidays and to make the most of my current unemployment, we decided to go see some tourist sites around the city. First off we explored downtown Manhattan and went to the 9/11 memorial which was breathtaking. The memorial is free to go to but they appreciate donations. To get to the memorial you have to go through an intense security check which is fair enough considering the circumstances. When I walked in I was immediately overcome with emotion. It was such a strange feeling being there and thinking back to what it must have been like in New York on that day. The memorial is beautiful, such a simple idea that works so well. They have built waterfalls in the grave of where the towers once stood. The waterfalls are surrounded with the names of the lives that were lost, a white rose is placed on the names when it is their birthday.
If you are interested in 9/11 I recommend watching all the documentaries on the attacks. It will make you think.
The next day we caught the ferry over to Staten Island which is free. We didn’t spend much time exploring Staten Island but the ferry ride over has amazing views of the city and The Statue of Liberty. After catching the ferry back over to Manhattan we walked to the Brooklyn Bridge and crossed over to Dumbo. The walk to the Brooklyn Bridge is just as beautiful as the bridge itself. You get to walk around the port and see all the ships that are docked. We also walked through a small area called South Street Sea Port which had a little slice of home in the form of Cotton On in a shipping container. I wanted to buy everything in store. Mainly because it was the only place over here where I understood sizes, but alas, no changing rooms. I ain’t wasting money on things that may or may not look good. Only buy if you absolutely love it as my mother would say.
The day we crossed the bridge it was incredibly busy. It is a lovely place to run but I felt so frustrated for runners trying to cross that day. Watching them having to constantly stop start because of foot traffic is like trying to stream TV shows through certain websites – painful. The wind was out in force that day too. So even though the views are spectacular, I couldn’t get off the bridge fast enough. When wind hits your face in winter here it is like straight ice, so we cut our exploring short.
But no worries as the next day we set out to trek through Central Park starting right from the top at 110th Street. The difference by street numbers is very apparent. From the Upper East Side (aka Gossip Girl Town aka Billionaireville) which Central Park also runs through, you can go up a few streets and be in The Bronx. We certainly noticed the difference when we hopped off the subway. You are completely oblivious to the different neighbourhoods you are crossing through once you are in Central Park. In an episode of 30 Rock (all events in my life tend to reference back to either 30 Rock, The Office or Friends – damn you NBC and your fantastic television!) Liz has to make a trip uptown to somewhere like 245th Street to deliver Christmas presents but Tracy jumps up screaming “I will not let you go to that neighbourhood alone Liz Lemon” and insists he and Dot Com go with her. Dot Com is there just to protect Tracy, I see why, the higher the street number the worse the area. Then from another perspective for which we will flashback to the aforementioned Gossip Girl. When talking about going to NYU which is in Downtown New York, Blair says it’s like people past 14th Street forget there is a class system. I find it fascinating the difference there can be in neighbourhood and people just between a few blocks. In New York there is something for everyone, you really can be whoever you want to be and live as luxurious or frugal as you wish. As a friend once told me the $1 slice of pizza tastes just as good as the $5 slice.
Ok back to Central Park. We started at the top and made our way down. Central Park covers something ridiculous like 50 blocks so it takes a while to see all of it. The park is like it’s own suburb there’s an ice skating rink, sports fields, food stalls and a hefty squirrel population. My main highlights were the reservoir and the Alice in Wonderland statue. I have been in love with Alice in Wonderland since I was little so was so excited to see the statue. The creator of this Alice art piece made it for his Wife who always loved Children. It was hard to get a good clear shot as children were using it as a jungle gym. So if you can’t beat ’em? Join ’em! I climbed right on up there with them to get my shot with that beauty.
There is always so much going on in different areas of the park. On the day we went we were lucky enough to see a gorgeous ballerina performing at sunset. She was wearing a wind chime on her hand so as she moved, the chimes made light noise. I managed to get some great photos with the sun behind her as she danced.
It’s good to feel like a tourist again when everything feels a bit overwhelming.