Sunday, September 13, 2009

Exploring the Big Apple

Nick and I started off our day at Ground Zero. It's weird to see so many tall buildings surrounding this large bare area. When you look up, it's hard to imagine that two buildings taller than the rest which are still there used to stand in this vacant lot. Visiting Ground Zero was more emotional for me than I thought it would be. My eyes watered, goose bumps appeared on my arms, a chill went down my spine, and my stomach hurt. I can't even imagine what it must have been like on 9/11 eight years ago. We also toured St. Pauls church which is where the fire fighters and volunteers ate and slept during the 9 months that followed 9/ll. There are many plaques with information and reminders of that day. This church is also a place where George Washington prayed after he was inaugurated into office.

From there we walked North through China Town and then continued into Little Italy. Both were really cool! This week Little Italy is celebrating one of their saints and so there was a festival going on in the streets. Nick ate an Italian sausage dog and I had baked ziti for lunch, both were on the go, expensive, but really good!

After walking through here, we boarded the subway and went into Central Park. We had planned on renting bikes, but were glad we didn't cause they have to stay on the main road and can't go on the paths.

A little info on Central Park that you may not know... twenty five million people use Central Park each year; on an average spring weekend day, a quarter million children and adults flood these precincts from all over Manhattan. There are 21 playgrounds, 150 water fountains, and more than 9000 benches, which would span 7 miles if you lined them up end to end. There are more than 50 monuments and sculptures in the park. Central Park is 843 acres!

We spent a total of nearly 3 hours there, zig zagging back and forth through the park, taking pictures, watching people play cricket, beach volleyball, and baseball. We also watched people try to drive remote control sail boats in the fountain and others paddle row boats in the lake. We hiked up to the Castle which was really cool and over looked the Great Lawn. After a while we found a nice shaded area under a tree in the "Great Lawn" and laid down and rested. While we were there a little two year old boy ran by us screaming for his mom. I sat up to see if he was really lost. Another lady came over to him and once she calmed him down she called 911 to report a missing child. After about 5 mins of her giving descriptions to the dispatcher, I see a lady walking around frantically. I announce that I think I found the mom, and then she runs into our direction! Luckily this story had a happy ending!

Next on our list was a walk over to River Front Park. This was pretty cool. There was a red tail hawk in a tree eating a rat, so we got a picture of that. From there we went to Times Square. The billboards are HUGE and every where. We saw giant beer bottles, cell phones and so much more. Even though it was cool, I can't help but think that if these companies spent a tenth of the amount that they do on electricity and maintenance on these signs, how many schools they could build in Africa or how many starving people they could feed. People in the US however would prefer to have a "cool" place to visit and take pictures of then give back to those in need. We also watched some street performers who would line 5 people up in a row and and do a flip over them! In order to preform on the street, people have to audition, so you know that they are probably worth stopping to watch!

The weather today was great! The sun was out but not too hot! We decided to stay in our original hotel because it is still cheaper than switching!

We ended tonight early because I had a horrible headache all day and because we have to get up really early tomorrow which will be a long day.

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