So I have not been home for nearly a week and I am very almost feeling normal again! Note to self “Never Fly With a Hangover” … especially not the mother of all hangovers!
…After an epic snow storm we land in New York only two hours later than planned – which is a hell of a lot better than I expected, so at 4:00 am UK time and two bottles of Prozzeco down we called it a night.
Woken to the distinct sound of New York cab drivers honking their horns to let the world know that they had made it to another day, I got showered, dressed and ventured into Time Square.
After a Caramel Latte to blow off the cobwebs, we made our way down to Juniors for quite possibly the best breakfast of my life!
We were served by a guy called Cleveland who was not only a great server but a happy guide, not only did he answer our question as to which way we needed to head to get to SoHo, he actually wrote down exactly what bus we needed and where to get off before sending us on our way – Kudos Cleveland!
As we left Juniors– almost too full to continue without a nap – we found ourselves talking to a gentleman from Big Bus – New York and paying what we thought was an absolute bargain for a 5 day bus ticket covering pretty much all of Manhattan along with the Statue of Liberty cruise.
Ignoring Cleveland’s directions we headed off on The Downtown Tour with Big Bus who have the most excitable guides on board that I have ever known! Annette was our first guide of many great guides and opened with the questions we grew to expect from each guide going forward –
- How are you enjoying New York?
- Where are you from?
- What are you looking to see today?
With these questions answered, they promise to show you which stop to ‘hop off’ at before giving you perfect instructions as to where you are aiming to be.
The most breathtakingly beautiful place I have ever experienced ever!
One of the places in the world that, old, young, black, white, rich or poor, you would have to be made of a bloody hard stone not to be effected by.
As we walked around the outskirts of where the towers once stood, we were blown
away my the familiarity of the names engraved into the memorial – there were at least two names identical to people that I went to school/worked with, which only made the sadness that you inevitably feel when walking around this stunning tribute, all the more real.
As we walked, we tried to place this beautiful, peaceful place that we found ourself walking through, into the context of why we were there.
I tried to picture the iconic images and the heart stopping footage that, now so familiar to us all, haunted my dreams when I was younger.
I simply couldn’t- this place that of peace and calm could not be further from the scenes of horror from 2001 – and quite right too!
As we touched the names of the mums, dads, brothers, sisters, friends, lovers, colleagues that found themselves unwittingly embroiled in what is now a huge part of world history, we could not help but notice the beautiful roses, that we guessed had been left by loved ones, we noticed a name that brought a very different kind of emotion.
As they say, a picture speaks a thousand words.
We then decided to visit the museum, with very little knowledge as to what content it held but sure that if it was anything along the lines of the memorial outside it would be stunning.
I was totally wrong.
The museum is nothing like the memorial. The memorial gives you time for quiet reflection. The museum does this in places, but this is a place of fact – and the facts alone blew me away.
The ‘Survivors Staircase’ where 100’s of people escaped and the metal frames where the aeroplane hit, the shoes abandoned by a worker running for her life and a cell phone of someone who may not have made it home, the details that are included within the museum left me speechless at times.
I remember asking ‘When do you think it occurred to someone to save these things?’ but as an after thought I realised that the majority of these ‘non things’ would have been everything to the people they left behind, and police would use as evidence to the first act of terrorism that I, a young teen at the time, can recall.
The museum covers every angle, the history of the buildings, the ’93 attack, the planning of 9/11, how they did it, why they did it, the terror, the grief, the anger, the hope and the resilience.
As the week continued, many people – without prompting – shared their stories with us.
Day one in New York City, was an incredibly emotional day and definitely one that I would encourage any one who has the opportunity to experience.
I would visit New York again simply for this reason … and we spent best part of a day here!
To be continued – Day 2