We woke up refreshed and ready to go for Day 2. Our first order of business was to fulfill Savannah's request for an authentic New York bagel. As some of you may know bagels and cream cheese were a main source of sustenance for Savannah in her toddler years so bagels do have special meaning for us. After much research, we found that one of NYC's highest-rated bagel places was a few blocks from our hotel. So we hoofed it over to Ess-A-Bagel. Savannah was not disappointed as she appears quite content with her bagel:
Next up was the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. We approached this experience not knowing what to expect or how we were going to react, but felt that it was something we needed to do...and we are so glad we did. We all agreed it was one of the highlights of the weekend and wished we had spent more time there.
First we checked out the memorial which consists of 2 pools in the footprint where the towers once stood. Surrounding each pool are the names of those who perished in each tower. Some of the names had roses placed in them. It is quite powerful. We didn't take a picture but here's a good representation of one of the pools:
We then went inside, which is actually underground below where the 2 towers stood. The building itself is quite amazing. The original slurry walls for the towers form some of the internal walls:
There were many moving exhibits and displays:
There's an In Memorium room where you can see a picture of each victim (all 4 walls are covered) and read a story about each and every one of them if you choose to. We read a few. Putting faces on and reading stories about these victims is a powerful experience:
Most amazing was the historical exhibition, in three parts...before 9/11, day of 9/11, and after 9/11. It was very complete, very informative and VERY emotional. Hearing some of the voicemails from the victims that morning.....not knowing what's going on....was difficult. It all really brings home how fragile and precious each day is for all of us. No pictures from this display....we were just taking it all in.
Tying it all up at the end was a display of a brick from the house where we took out Osama bin Laden.
If you are in NYC and have the time, you have to go to this museum. You won't regret it.
We had to move on a little earlier than we would have liked because we had a timed ticket for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and needed to grab a quick lunch. We made our way over to Eataly NYC Downtown. This is a very cool indoor Italian marketplace with all kinds of food and drink. We had delicious Italian sandwiches but had to rush our way through lunch before heading out. More on Eataly later...
Off to Battery Park to take a ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It was quite cold and windy so we decided to stay aboard the ferry at Liberty Island and get off at Ellis Island. We did get a good view of the Statue of Liberty though...
Ellis Island was quite interesting, particularly in context of the immigration issues we are facing today. We didn't take any pictures here but learned a lot such as:
- It was only open from 1892-1954, but it took in 12 million people.
- It was only one of 21 immigration welcome stations across the country....but it gets all the attention.
- Unescorted women were not allowed to leave without someone here to accept them. Hence there were many quick weddings on the island.
- Mass immigration lasted only until 1924...things slowed down significantly after that.
Enough Ellis Island facts. It was a good reminder to me that that we are very lucky to be Americans and we owe it to those who aspire to our way of life an opportunity to achieve those aspirations.....regardless of their race or religion.
Back to Manhattan Island. We decided to go back to Eataly for a cocktail and an appetizer before dinner but made our way to Wall Street first for a very special stop:
The "Fearless Girl" statue was placed in front of the famous Wall Street Bull statue just recently on International Women's Day to make a statement about putting more women in leadership roles of corporations and on their boards of directors but it has been embraced as a symbol of defiance against Wall Street greed. The place was packed with people getting a photograph with the statue but we worked our way to the front to get the above picture. Here's what she looks like without all the people...facing off against the bull:
Back to Eataly for a glass of wine and a charcuterie. Life is good in the city:
We relaxed a bit and warmed up at the wine bar and then grabbed a cab for an early dinner in the East Village. Our dinner stop was the Asian Fusion restaurant Momofuku Noodle Bar. This place did not take reservations and it is very popular so we decided to show up just before it opened at 5:30 and we were glad we did because there was already a sizable line at 5:15 when we arrived. The food was excellent. For the Ann Arborites, it is very similar to the Slurping Turtle. We sampled excellent small plates such as shrimp, brisket, and chicken meatball buns, a kimchi and pickle plate, BBQ pork belly ssam, and smoked chicken wings.
We finished dinner fairly early but it had been a long day so we headed back to the Cambria to rest up and decide if we were done for the day or not. We got pretty comfortable at the hotel but decided to head out for a beer at one of the many Irish pubs in the neighborhood of our hotel near Times Square. Seriously there were probably 20 Irish pubs in a few block radius of our hotel! Steph decided to call it a night but Savannah and I ventured out to a place called The Perfect Pint. How could we not go for a beer to a place called The Perfect Pint?
The beer was good (far from perfect) and the company was great. We had a couple beers, took a quick stroll through the Times Square craziness, and headed back to the hotel for the night. Another great day!