Wednesday, 15 August 2018

My New York Diary: Day 1

Day 1: Sightseeing

It was an early morning for me on the first day of the holiday since I naturally woke up at 6am and couldn't fall back asleep, which wasn't exactly a bad thing. I was out of bed and getting ready for the day at 7am, and got a chance to properly do my makeup and get my outfit sorted. That probably shouldn't have been my number one priority, but hey ho. As I've said before, I'm a narcissist, and I wouldn't want to look like a slob in one of the coolest cities on earth. Since the forecast said that Thursday, Day 1, would be the hottest day of the holiday, I dressed accordingly in a cropped top and floaty shorts, which was a good idea. I'm still not sure if taking my little hoodie out with me was as good an idea, because while it protected my shoulders from sunburn, it was swelteringly hot.

First thing on the agenda was the Empire State Building, our logic being that we should do the most iconic tourist attraction early before it got too busy. Even though it was barely past 9am, there were still plenty of people milling about, queueing to get to the top. It was easy to see why once we were up on the 86th floor and looking out across New York City. The sky was clear, the sun was out, and at that height, there was a pleasantly cool breeze. With weather like that, how could the experience not be amazing?

And that's it. That's the view from the top. A huge city made just a little bit smaller. It was even worth the vertigo that kept hitting me in waves whenever I looked down at the buildings below instead of out towards the horizon. It left me stunned that somewhere this big and busy and bustling could even exist. I felt very small up there, but not in a bad way. Just an awestruck way.

From there, we made our way to the Shake Shack in Madison Square Park for a bite to eat. Their bacon and cheese fries were the bomb! Maybe they weren't the most appropriate choice for the first meal of the day, but who really cares? We were on holiday, after all. After refuelling, we had a long walk ahead of us to get to the National September 11th Memorial & Museum, but it was worth it when we got there and saw the colourful walls and murals near the entrance.

'Everyone's different and everyone's the same.'

I would be inclined to say that the museum was my favourite part of the New York trip, just because it was the experience that I'm sure will stay with me the longest, and the one that hit me the hardest. I don't remember the events of September 11th 2001 as I was only four years old when they took place, but the museum put everything into perspective like nothing else in my life ever had. It's not a museum for the faint of heart, or at least, certain parts of it aren't. Some of the images really make your heart stop because of how devastating they are. The voice messages left from people in the towers to their loved ones left me in tears. The tributes are so touching and heartbreakingly sad, and the museum itself is so tasteful and does such a beautiful job of telling an awful story that it left me reeling. Everybody was quieter in there, taking everything in and speaking less, or at least speaking in hushed tones. There was an atmosphere of respectful awe, and this unspoken urge to simply observe and learn. The museum is impressive as well as harrowing, and I'll never forget it.

The Last Column

Remembering the colour of the sky on September 11th

'United by hope'

Once we were back out in the sunshine, we took some time to walk around the pools and see the Survivor Tree, then we made our way through Battery Park to Pier A Harbor House, where we all had a drink and looked out over the water towards the Statue of Liberty. We had plans to walk to the Brooklyn Bridge, but we were all hungry enough at this point to instead walk up through Chinatown and Little Italy until we reached California Pizza Kitchen, where I tried gluten-free pizza crust and cauliflower crust for the first time. Honestly, they taste no different from the crust on a regular pizza, plus my meal didn't leave me feeling bloated, so win-win!

Definitely wasn't a Malibu and lemonade like I'd asked for, but whatever it was, it was tasty!

A well-deserved BBQ chicken pizza

Day 1 was exhausting but exciting. 24 hours in New York had given me some vague idea of the enormity of everything and the incredible diversity of the people there, and I went to sleep quickly that night, eager for what the next day would bring.

1 comment

  1. WOW! I really enjoyed reading this,I felt like I was there with you because it is so descriptive. xoxo


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