Posted by: Mary | August 9, 2012

NYC Day 2 – 9/11 Memorial on Memorial Day

Our trip was timed perfectly to visit the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero on Memorial Day.  We booked our tickets online in advance (required, or purchased on site in advance, but not at the time of entry), and started our day at the memorial.  I had never been to NYC before this trip, so I never saw the twin towers, except in photographs, but I remember 9/11/2001 very well.  I recall exactly where I was when the first tower was hit and how I heard about it.  I remember monitoring the news that day and for the weeks that followed.  It was one of the biggest tragedies in my lifetime and was surreal to stand where everything took place and see the large holes in the ground with the waterfalls where the towers once stood.  All around, building is going on, and some of the new towers are nearing completion.

We waited in line and went through the security procedures before walking into the monument area.  The museum is scheduled to open later this year, so for now, just the grounds are open.  You can see the two waterfalls that make up the footprints of the original towers, and they are surrounded by the names of all of those who lost their lives that day.  Computer monitors are set up so that people can look up the names of loved ones and find the panel where their names are engraved surrounding the waterfalls.  It was a very moving experience, especially to be there on Memorial Day.  Following the 9/11 Memorial, we visited the WWII memorial at Battery Park and then the Vietnam Memorial a little farther along.  At the Vietnam Memorial, there was a small gathering of Vietnam Vets hanging out and playing music.

We took the free Staten Island Ferry from Lower Manhattan to Staten Island for the view of Manhattan, and also got a view of the statue of Liberty. We grabbed sandwiches and ate int he ferry terminal while awaiting the next ferry back and decided that we’d have to take the ferry again at night to see the city lights.  We wandered around Wall Street and the shipyard area where there was a lighthouse monument to the Titanic and a lot of tourist shops and restaurants.  Then we headed to Macy’s (of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade fame) on 34th Street.  My niece wanted to go into the store and look around, even though we have Macy’s at home, so we gave it a shot but with the Memorial Day sales going on, it was a madhouse and we ended up leaving.  We found seats in the closed off street on the side and listened to a musician play for a while before heading off again.  (Did you know that NYC’s Macy’s is the largest department store in the world?)

For dinner, we crossed off the third item on my niece’s list of “must do in NY”.  We went to Grimaldi’s pizza for NY-style pizza.  It was a small restaurant (note: cash only if you go) inside the landmark Chelsea Church.  There weren’t a lot of tables, but we were lucky enough to get the last one without a wait.  The pizza was very good and we were not disappointed. It’s worth noting that they do not sell pizza by the slice, so if you go, expect to buy a whole pizza. 

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  1. I recently visited this city and I fallen in love with it. It has something special that grabs you and when you leave NY, you feel that you miss it…

  2. I agree, Javier. It was my first trip to NY and I don’t know what took me so long, but I’m ready to go back.

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