New York State of Mind

What a way to celebrate our 1 year anniversary, my birthday and Scott’s birthday.  It was an amazing trip.  It was packed with lots to stop and see and learn in just 8 days.

We first flew into Newark, New Jersey and had a scary shuttle bus over to the Financial District in Manhattan at 1:30am.  The driver was crazy and it was raining and the van was packed.  But we arrived at the hotel by 2am and quickly went to bed.

We were up by 7am Saturday morning.  It was a rough morning.  We quickly grabbed some breakfast at a diner around the corner from our hotel and then caught a cab to Times Square to check in with our tour bus.  Once we checked in we had to walk about 5 blocks to meet the buses.  All of that was done in the rain.

Once we got on our bus we were good to go.  Our tour guide was informative but a little annoyed with the Turkish people who couldn’t stop talking while he was explaining things.  We mostly drove past stops while it was raining out, it was a nice way for us to get used to the City.  Our first stop was The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.   This church caught fire about 2 months after 9/11 and has been slowly restored.  The stain glass windows (all original) were amazing to see.

St. John Divine

Our next stop was Grant’s Tomb.  During that stop we learned that Grant is not in fact, buried in his tomb below the ground – he is actually above ground.  So clearly the answer to who is buried in Grant’s Tomb is no one.

Our last stop of the morning was a small quiet garden in Central Park called the Conservatory Garden.  It was beautiful to see this garden in the middle of the huge park.  They do not allow biking, skating  in that area so you can really be at peace while sitting in there.

We headed to lunch in Little Italy.  Our tour had it set up so we could just walk up to the restaurant, Grotta Azzurra, get a seat and order off a selected menu.  The food was great!  I had the chicken parm and it was excellent.  After lunch we walked across the street for some espresso and cannoli.  There were so many different choices of cannoli it was hard to pick just one.  Then we walked around Little Italy till it was time to get back on the bus.

Great Cannoli’s

The next hour was spent on the bus driving around NYC and seeing different sites.  We then headed to Battery Park area and hopped on a Ferry to get a tour of the City from the water.  Our tour guide on the boat was awesome!  She was knowledgable but most of all funny!  We went under the Brooklyn Bridge and then back down to about Mid Town and over to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.  Overall, that was the most fun we had on the tour.  The bus dropped us off in Rockefeller Center and then we walked back to find the Subway.

Grandpa’s first stop in the USA (Ellis Island)

On the way to the Subway we found Times Square.  It was insane.  There were vendors in all over the sidewalks with knock off purses, wallets, sunglasses.  We did stop to get a hotdog from a street vendor and a picture or two of Times Square. It was just too crowded to hang out there for long.

We quickly found a subway station and made it back to our hotel for a much-needed nap.

While I was sleeping, Scott looked up some places to go to dinner that were in walking distance to our hotel.  We went to Adrienne’s Pizza bar and it did not disappoint.  Of course we order a pizza that was way too big but it was an excellent introduction to New York pizza.  After dinner we decided to walk around the neighborhood.

We stumbled upon Fraunes Tavern, this is the exact place that George Washington said good-bye to his officers after the Revolutionary War.

And as we kept walking we found Wall Street, which was down the street from Trump Tower.

Up the street from Wall and Broad was the Trinity Church, this is the site of the original Occupy Wall Street protests.  There were a new protesters hanging out along with one lonely cop making sure they don’t get out of hand.  While walking by the graveyard next to the church we found Alexander Hamilton and Robert Fulton’s gravesite.  This was one of the biggest surprise finds on the trip.

As we continued our walk we ended up right outside Ground Zero.  We visited the fire station that was next door to the World Trade Center and saw the plaque that paid tribute to the firemen from that station that lost their lives as well as a nice copper plaque on the wall to remember the day’s events and all the victims names.

Memorial on the fire station next to Ground Zero

1 World Trade Center

After that we headed back to our hotel to get some sleep for the next day.

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