Friday, November 16, 2012

NYC Day 2

So remember a year ago when Brad and I took a week long trip to New York City for Thanksgiving? And remember how I began but never ever finished blogging about it even though it was the best time ever, ever?? Well, I got a little bit of fire lit under my rear since Thanksgiving 2012 is less than a week away, and I can't let an entire year lapse. So, without further adieu, let's move on to NYC Day 2!! 
On Day 2 in the Big Apple, our schedule consisted of consuming as much of the Downtown portion of the city as possible. (Did you know that in NYC, Downtown is called such because it's literally the bottom of the island? Then there is Midtown in the middle and Uptown at he top. Neat. I bet that's where it all started...) We woke up before the sun in order to make it onto the very first ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty in an effort to beat the crowd and squeeze as much into the day as possible. It was a cold and dreary day, but we made the best of it!

The Statue of Liberty was AWESOME! We had considered not actually sailing out to the island, and just seeing it from the shore instead, but I'm so glad that we did the whole thing. We felt incredibly patriotic as we drew closer to the monument, imagining how so many immigrants felt after weeks or months at sea coming to America, and finaly seeing Lady Liberty's glowing torch as a symbol of their long awaited freedom. It was much more moving than I anticipated, and we weren't even there yet!
We expected the Statue of Liberty to be pretty standardly cool, since it's a main tourist attraction, but we had no idea just how amazing it really would be. (Or how large it is up close!) We rocked some headsets as we simultaneously participated in a self-guided audio tour of the island that explained every aspect of the statue's history, symbolism, and implications for our country. By the time we made it around to the front to get a good, square view, I had tears in my eyes. What an experience. I was pleased to see that even visitors from other countries that were listening to the audio tour in their native languages were equally touched by the heart behind the Statue of Liberty. It made me realize how much of an honor it truly is to live here.

We hopped back on the ferry and rode it to the nearby Ellis Island, where all of those immigrants who passed the statue a century ago officially docked on American soil. We were in the immigration museum for hours and hours learning about the stories of so many people who chose the United States as their home. 

Once we got back on the mainland, we grabbed a couple hot dogs from a cart and ventured over to the World Trade Center 9/11 Memorial sites. There are two giant fountains in the places where the twin towers once stood, both with water flowing down the four walls into a pool which then dropped down farther, letting the water fall out of sight. Names of people killed as a result of the 2001 terrorist attacks were engraved in the stone all along the entire edge lines of both fountains. It was incredibly humbling to see name after name as far as you could see. And even more humbling to see people out there honoring those who died, even in the rain. So many names were commemorated by loved ones with flowers perched into the carved space created by the letters. So far, Tuesday had proved to be a pretty emotional day.

While we were downtown, we walked over to the Financial District. Brad's a kind of financial guru, so he was totally geeking out to literally be strolling down on Wall Street and to stand outside of the New York Stock Exchange. He couldn't resist posing for a picture with the Charging Bull, even though it was fenced off because of those pesky Occupy Wall Street protesters.

Brad and I were so tired from the early morning and chilled to the bone from walking in the cold drizzle for so long (and we were ahead of schedule), that we decided to spend a little while napping back at our hotel. We finally crawled back out of our warm cave to visit Little Italy for our only preplanned, nice dinner of the week. The authentic Italian restaurant that I can't remember the name of now was amazing. It was so authentic, in fact, that Brad and I were absolutely certain that it was run by the mob, and that they had a hidden room in the back with one light bulb dangling ominously from the ceiling where they threateningly interrogated people on a regular basis. Our very kind, very Italian speaking server, who we think was the owner, made strong suggestions for our menu items, and we willingly agreed with him simply because we wanted to leave our dinner with all ten fingers still intact. We didn't regret it; the pastas were delicious!

From Little Italy, we had a pretty long walk in the rain back to the nearest Subway Station. (The rain didn't hinder me from talking Bradley into posing near a gigantic nutcracker for a photo op. A tourist is a tourist no matter the weather!) By this time, I was all but whining about my sore, soggy feet hurting so badly. Who knew you would walk so much when you visit the city?? Even though I had ditched my cuter tennis shoes from the day before for my straight-up running shoes in an effort to have more comfort, it was still pretty brutal. Brad estimates that we walked an averaged of at least five miles every day we were there. Ow.
So my sweet hubs had the bright idea to walk into some random massage parlor to take advantage of their advertised special for a back and foot massage. Good idea. Except it was torture! Turns out they specialized in deep tissue massages, and we both thought we were gunna die! I think each of us let out cries of pain at one point or another during the 20 minutes. When we got out of there, we both tried to play it cool until Brad finally admitted that it was super painful, and I laughed and let go of my pride to agree that it was some of the worst pain I've ever willingly allowed to happen to my body! We both just laughed as we limped the rest of the way back to the Subway Station.

And with that, NYC Day 2 was officially complete! It was rainy and dreary and emotional on a few levels, but it was absolutely wonderful! I will never forget the first time that we got to see some of the most iconic landmarks of the city (as well as the nation), or the time we cried and then laughed because we were crying and then laughed until we cried again about our painful first massage experience. :)
Stay tuned for NYC Days 3, 4, 5, and 6! And if you want a recap, here's NYC Day 1 that I actually posted in a timely manner a year ago.

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