New York City. There’s no place like it. Love it or hate it, this city will leave an impression on all who visit. For me, after my second trip here, I feel the same as I did after my first (over fifteen years ago!): I love the excitement, the entertainment and the diversity this city provides. I love visiting… but I don’t think I would love living here. 🙂 I need my space; I need peace and nature; I need occasional silence. Just because I can’t picture myself living here, though, doesn’t mean I’m not already looking forward to my next visit.
After spending a relaxing weekend in the Hamptons, my Aunt Georgann and I started the second part of our trip, which began with spending a couple of nights in Forrest Hills with Maxine.
On Monday, we were dropped off in Manhattan and immediately made a bee-line for the subway to purchase passes then make our way toward the 9/11 Memorial.
I really wasn’t expecting this memorial to be so overwhelmingly moving. I hadn’t read up on it prior to arriving so had no idea what it was going to be like until we were there.
Haunting…chilling…yet also a beautiful tribute to honor and remember those who lost their lives on that fateful day.
I personally believe the design of this memorial couldn’t be more perfect: two large, square basins, water running down the inside walls into what appears to be a bottomless abyss in the center, the names of those lost etched on the wall surrounding it.
The basins stand where each of the twin towers once stood. I had chills as I stood there, knowing what once towered over the surrounding buildings, knowing how many people died on that very spot. I can’t even imagine what that day was like for those who lived through it.
There is a 9/11 Museum located onsite but we had heard that reservations are required for a specific entry time so we decided to forego it. We spent some time walking around both of the basins then started heading toward our next destination: Battery Park.
We had purchased tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island prior to our trip and had a ferry departure time of 1:00. It was still early, so we leisurely made our way toward Battery Park via an absolutely beautiful scenic walk along the Hudson River and through South Cove Park.
This area was so, so lovely! A wide promenade lined with shady trees, colorful flowers and many benches, with a view of Jersey City across the river. We thoroughly enjoyed this peaceful walk – especially in the lovely, cool weather!
We picked up a quick bite to eat at Battery Place Market – yummy sandwiches and…a GREEN SMOOTHIE!!! My first since leaving home. I was just a tad excited. 🙂
Although it was still early for our scheduled departure on the ferry, we decided to head on over to the pier and see if we could get on a bit earlier. This place was crazy!! So many people and insanely long lines! But, (important tip here!) we were able to bypass ALL of it because we had pre-purchased our tickets online! Score!
We were through security and onboard a ferry in ten minutes. Yay! The ride to Liberty Island was very nice, the Statue of Liberty becoming larger and larger as we neared.
As soon as we were on dry land, we picked up audio guides and started walking around the island. We actually didn’t use the audio guides much but just wandered around on our own.
One of the things I loved the most about being on this island was the view of Manhattan. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the dense population of buildings across the river!
Our tickets included entrance to the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty so we went through security and took the stairs to that level. A lot of stairs! But I love to climb. 🙂
Ever more spectacular views from this vantage point. My favorite views of the statue itself however were from its star-shaped foundation which is where I headed next.
Next stop on our little tour was a trip to Ellis Island. This small island contains the building where immigrants to the U.S. passed through from 1892 – 1954. It was later listed on the National Register of Historic Places and reopened its doors to the public in 1990.
We walked through various rooms and exhibits and watched a 30-minutes film, Island of Hope, Island of Tears, which was actually very interesting. I love history and really enjoy visiting places like this!
Leaving Ellis Island, we made our way back to Lower Manhattan. We had decided to eat dinner in the city before heading back to Queens but had no idea where we wanted to eat. I think it would probably take ten lifetimes to eat at all of just the good restaurants in this city! The dining options can be pretty overwhelming!
We finally decided to go to Eataly since it was on our list of restaurants to try and had been recommended to us by numerous people. Great choice!
Eataly, created by Oscar Farinetti, is an overwhelming (in a good way!) foodie mecca. It’s one of the largest Italian markets in the world and is comprised of a variety of restaurants as well as retail shops, bakeries, food and beverage counters, a cooking school and…a Nutella Bar. What?!?
It was actually a bit confusing for someone who has never been there before and doesn’t know how it “works”. But we finally figured it out and decided that pasta was what we were craving so we headed over to La Pizza & La Pasta.
We were seated at the counter that extends along the open kitchen which we really enjoyed. I found it completely crazy how fast the cooks work and how they can keep track of all the dishes they’re creating without skipping a beat. It was truly fascinating to watch!
We split two appetizers that ended up being so much bigger than we were expecting! A delicious spinach salad and a deconstructed pizza topped with cherry tomatoes, arugula, shaved parmesan, fresh basil and olive oil. So. Much. Food. And we still wanted to order pasta. 😛
I ordered the simplest sounding dish on the menu: Spaghetti Cacio e Pepe (spaghetti with cheese and black pepper). And it was seriously one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever eaten. So, so good. Georgann had Tagliatelle al Ragù di Manzo (tagliatelle with short rib ragù and parmesan) which was also quite tasty.
Although I would have loved to try one of the house-made gelatos, or some fresh pastry, or gourmet chocolate, my stomach wouldn’t allow another morsel to enter it this evening. We both agreed to make a point to return to this crazy market but never made it back. 😦 Next visit I guess.
Our first full day in the city was, well, full! 🙂 And wonderful.
We purchased 7-day unlimited subway passes for our time in Manhattan. We hadn’t really researched all of the options prior to us standing in front of a ticket machine holding up the line, so we just made a spur-of-the-moment decision. I really think we made the best decision as we didn’t have to worry about refilling the cards and we took the subway a lot! The 7-day unlimited pass is currently sold for $32.
There is a museum at the 9/11 Memorial that I’ve heard is really good. When you purchase tickets, however, you have to pick the date and time you’d like to visit, so that can make a last minute decision to go kind of hard (unless they’re super slow and you can enter right away – which I hear rarely, if ever, happens). The current rate for adults is $24.
Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island weren’t necessarily at the top of my list of things to do in New York but I’m very glad we decided to visit! Being up close and personal to the statue was really neat and, as mentioned before, I love history so Ellis Island was also interesting to me. The only way to get to Liberty Island is by ferry and tickets include the ferry ride to both islands as well as entrance fees.
The price of a ticket varies based on the type of ticket you purchase (if you want to go up the statue and if so, how high). When we arrived at the pier around noon, all of the tickets to go up the statue were already sold out for the day. So if you want to experience that option, definitely purchase tickets in advance! That will also save you a LOT of waiting in line! Tickets can only be purchased through Statue Cruises and start at $18 for adults.
Eataly is a must for anyone visiting New York!! I can’t tell you how many people told us we should go there! Give yourself plenty of time to walk around this massive complex – there is so much to see! They provide guides/maps that can help you navigate the craziness a bit. There are seven restaurants to choose from but only three accept reservations. If you don’t want to sit down, there are also some counter-service options. It’s an experience, to say the least, and I wish we had had time to visit again and explore some more!