Tuesday, February 5, 2013

New York City Highlights

Justin and I are in Boston for the month for his work (more on that later!) and since we are so close to so many cool places, we decided to take advantage of that! We thought being three and a half hours away from New York City was just TOO close not to go. I have never been, but have always dreamed of it! I've had this crazy visual of what it would be like since I was in the second grade and did my first report about the Empire State Building. I wondered if it would be anything like what I saw on movies, or if it would be as cool as everyone says it was. Well, Justin told me not to get too excited just in case I was let down. Let me just tell you, I was NOT let down. It was actually so much better than anyone had ever told me, and so much cooler than what I saw in the movies. I walked around that city with this big silly grin I could not take off for the life of me. I fell madly in love with New York City.

Our hotel was right in Times Square so I got to look out my window and watch all the action happen when we decided to go in for the night. It's true what they say, NYC really is the city that never sleeps. And I think that is pretty cool.

We spent the weekend seeing everything we could shove into two days. Times Square, Central Park, China Town, the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. If we had more time we would have done more, but we only spend two days there. :(

Justin wanted to see Ground Zero, but I wasn't on board 100%. I just hate sad things. But he talked me into it and I'm really glad he did. We walked to the site where it all happened and there was a huge waterfall taking over the old space of one of the Towers. aEvery name of every person that was lost that day wrapped around the wall of the waterfall. When we got there, there was at least a hundred people around us, but all you could hear was the sound of falling water. It was like the whole city of New York had just stopped. Nobody was saying anything, just standing in front of the huge monument soaking in every name that lined the walls. It was such a sad, beautiful moment.

We walked into one of the other memorial areas you go to before the exit where they had set up a room full of memories. People were talking about the people they lost that day. The clothes they were wearing the last time they saw them, the last things they said before heading to work, the lives they left behind, and how after all these years, it still hurts just as much as it did on September 11th. And I sobbed. I felt so embarrassed to be crying in front of so many people, but I couldn't stop! I had NO idea how big this moment in American History actually was until I stood in that room and listened to all of that. My heart just wouldn't stop aching. I tried to make my way to the exit so people wouldn't think I was the crazy chick, but all the while thinking, is this what so many people have been feeling for the last 12 years? I had no idea because it didn't personally affect me. I was young and naive and everyone in my family was OK. But so many Americans were and are still grieving over such a huge loss. Justin hugged me tight and told me that it was good to feel those emotions because that's what made me a true American. I only wish I would have felt them sooner.

I am so glad we went and really just wanted to encourage anyone who makes a trip to New York to visit Ground Zero. It will change you.
Back to a happy topic- my absolute favorite part of the trip was our ferry boat ride. I can't begin to describe how amazing it was. Just being out there on the water and seeing the entire New York City skyline, there's nothing like it. I told Justin I wanted to move there just so I could ride the ferry every day.

One thing I can't figure out is how a place so dirty, can be so beautiful all at the same time. I don't think ill ever understand it! There's trash all over the streets, and weird smells, and Justin got asked to buy drugs a couple times (scary!!!) but at the same time, it was breathtakingly beautiful. We got to the top of the Empire State Building, and I literally gasped. I couldn't even say anything,  it was so BEAUTIFUL. I didn't want to spend the money to go to the top because we had just been on top of the Sears Tower in Chicago and I thought it would be basically the same thing, but I was so wrong and I'm glad we decided to do it. The view from the top didn't even compare to what we saw in Chicago.

Next time we go we want to spend a little more time so we can do a few more things. Justin and I had so much fun and if we end up moving to Boston, we will definitely be going back to New York City a lot more.