East Coast Post - NYC

What better way to enter New York City than through Grand Central Station?

Of the three of us, Roy was the one who had never been to NYC, so we made sure to hit up everything he wanted to see and do most.  If you know Roy, then it doesn't surprise you that pizza was a high priority.  We spotted a plain and unremarkable looking pizza place, but it had a long line, so we figured it must be good.  They sold pizza slices for 99 cents!

At first we stood at the bar that ran along one wall {no chairs} but it was a bit crowded.  So we thought we'd eat while walking to Central Park.

We found some cool rocks to sit on for our little picnic, although almost all of our pizza was gone by the time we got there.  It's crazy how dense the park is in places.  You can almost forget you are in one of the largest cities in the world.

We came upon a sweet vintage carousel, which immediately had us missing Camden.  So did all of the playgrounds.  Cam would have loved it there.
Parts of Central Park also reminded me of my beloved Hyde Park.  But some things I'm not sure you'd find in any park anywhere else.  Like the Halloween theme they have going on at Bethesda Terrace?

What's that about?
But it's all gorgeous, and it had us belting "That's How You Know" from Enchanted.

Of course we had to visit Time Square and stand in line for the discounted Broadway tickets.

We grabbed tickets for Phantom of the Opera, fulfilling a childhood dream for Kirsten.  Our seats were great, and the whole thing was absolutely amazing.  We all loved it.  Seeing the matinee was more affordable, but it also took up most of our day.  When we got out of the theater the sun was low and we knew we had to hurry to see more.

The 9/11 Memorial

We turned the corner and saw the somber groups of people, heard the crashing water.  But the moment we got close enough to read the endless names in the bronze panels… that's when it got spiritual.  We spent a lot of time there, walking the perimeters of the watery footprints of the old World Trade Center.

I was in seventh grade when the attacks happened, and it was confusing and scary even with the 2,000 miles to cushion the terror.  Actually being there for the first time brought me new and more personal perspective as I touched individual names.  Even names of women that were accompanied with, "and unborn child."  

The three of us hardly spoke.  For a while we even separated to meditate on our own and pay our own respects to the nearly 3,000 people who died.

The memorial is beautiful.  The pools are huge - each almost an acre - and they are the biggest manmade waterfalls in North America.  It was really impressive, and helps bring a great spirit about the place.

Roy's favorite building in New York was the new World Trade Center being built adjacent to the pools.  It has not yet opened {we could see some work was still being done inside} but the architecture is inspiring.  It is built in such a way that when you look up from the base, it looks like it never ends.  Like it just goes right up into the clouds and keeps going.

Symbolic, I think.  Another tribute to those who passed on 9/11, and those who lost.  And a message to anyone who thinks they can win with hate.  It's been nicknamed the Freedom Tower.

None of us expected the memorial to have such an impact on us, I think.  It took a while to break out the smiles and jokes again.  But the city is a living thing, and we soon found ourselves caught up in it.

New York Stock Exchange

The old Federal Hall where George Washington was inaugurated.

Cool old church was there during the first inauguration, but everything else looks really different now.

That tiny sliver in the background?  Yeah, that's Miss Liberty.  This is as close as we got to her.

If you only had one night to eat in New York City, where would you eat?
The decision seemed impossible, especially as famished as we were.  So we headed to Little Italy, knowing we could follow our noses from there. 

We knew we found the right place when the guy who welcomed us in could barely speak English.  I tested for fraud by pausing by the kitchen on my way to the restroom.  All the cooks were yelling at each other in Italian.  Score!

It was a little early for dinner, so the place was empty.  But the ambiance… I mean just look.

We all got different plates but we just couldn't keep our forks to ourselves.  It was all amazing.  Ten minutes later we were quite literally licking our plates, feeling lucky we'd found the place.

When we left we found some kind of Italian festival going on down the street.  There was a funny little band, vendors, and carnival games.  I have no idea what we were celebrating, but I'll take any excuse.

So we also got our "Italian" dessert!  The Italian man informed us that he has more varieties of cheesecake than any other street vendor.  I only wish I could have tasted them all!

I about died of joy when we got to go inside this Christmas shop.  I would love to see New York near Christmastime!

We passed through a corner of China Town.

As the sun set we re-entered Grand Central Station, tired and happy.  On the train ride to April and Scott's we FaceTimed with Camden again.  And once we got to see his smile, we kicked up our feet and dozed the rest of the ride.

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