Monday, March 28, 2016

September 11th Memorials - New York City

While in New York City we stayed at the World Center Hotel in Lower Manhattan which is directly across the street from the September 11th Memorial and Museum.  Everyday when we would leave the hotel for our day out and every night when we returned we got to see the new One World Trade Center and the memorial pools.

In fact, one of our very first views coming out the subway for the first time was of the tower.  It really is an impressive building at night.

One World Center with Tree at Nigh NYC

And during the day when the sun is shining bright.

One World Trade Center Sunny Day NYC

And even when there are clouds.

One World Trade Center Clouds NYC

From our hotel we had a great view of the Memorial Plaza and the north and south pools which are set in the footprints of the twin towers that were destroyed in the terror attacks.

9-11 Memorial View from World Center Hotel NYC

The pools are very large and I can't really impress upon you the size through pictures alone.  Look again at the little people in the picture surrounding the pool and maybe that will help.

Around each pool is a ledge filled with the names of the victims who perished from the terror attacks. It was a somber moment to realize just how many names there were. We saw one name that had a white rose through it.

White Rose in Name on South Pool 9-11 Memorial at Night NYC

The memorial staff go out each morning and put roses in the names who have birthdays that day. When we first saw it we thought a family member had put it there, but to find out it was the memorial staff seems to make it even more special.  It is just a little way they try to keep the memories alive.

The Memorial Plaza is filled with trees.  It really is a peaceful area.  But there is one pear tree that has special meaning.  It is called the Survivor Tree because after the towers fell and despite all odds, this one tree managed to do just what it is called, it survived.

Survivor Tree 9-11 Memorial NYC

Ok, it doesn't look like it survived in this picture, but it was winter!  In 2001 they uprooted the tree and took it to a safe place to nurture it while they cleaned up and rebuilt Lower Manhattan.  They were able to move it back and you can see the scares where branches use to be but every spring it buds back out being a symbol of hope and recovery.

If you plan on going to the museum I highly suggest you get your tickets in advance.  We walked up just thinking we could walk in but they only allow so many in an hour to keep from getting overcrowded. (It still was way too crowded for me!)  So we stood in line for awhile not knowing this. Then we found someone to ask and they said it would be awhile but that we could go to the kiosks along a far wall to make our purchase.  The line was much shorter but still took awhile.  We needed to get through the museum and get to the airport by a certain time so we could catch our plane home. It was a little worrisome that we would not make it on time because we had to go at a later time to the museum than originally planned. It all worked out though.

(Note to self: plan better on the day you are going to leave to return home!!)

Let me show you some of the museum.  It is sad and hard to look at but it needs to be looked at.  It needs to remembered.

First thing the museum starts off with is how things were that day on September 11, 2001.  It was a beautiful Fall day with a spectacular blue sky.

World Trade Towers Picture 9-11 Memorial NYC

It showed how the towers looked at night.

World Trade Towers Picture at Night 9-11 Memorial NYC

Then it showed from that same viewpoint what the towers looked like after the planes had crashed into them and they started to fall.

World Trade Towers After Being Hit 9-11 Memorial NYC

After the pictures you start the descent into the lower floors of the museum and you can get a good view of the last column removed during the clean-up process.

Close View of Last Column Removed 9-11 Memorial NYC

Survivors were allowed to attach memorials of deceased loved ones and to write messages on the column.  Also on the column the number of victims was spray painted for the police department, fire department, and civilians including those in Pennsylvanian and Washington DC.  (For example the New York Fire Department lost 343 of their own.)

There was an art piece in the museum called Trying to Remember the Color of the Sky on that September Morning.

No Day Shall Erase You From the Memory of Time 9-11 Memorial NYC

In  part of the blue there was a sign that was just heart wrenching.

Reposed Behind This Wall Are Remains 9-11 Memorial NYC

There were examples of the destruction caused.  This one is of a steel beam from the north tower somewhere between the 93rd and 96th floor.

Section of Steel Facade, North Tower floors 93-96 9-11 Memorial NYC

The sign beside it said that the underbelly of Flight 11 caused the twisting of the metal seen at the top with enough force to gash the many tons of steel.

They also had a fire truck from Ladder Company 3 which was one of the very first to respond to the plane crashing into the first tower.  It responded before anyone realized it was a terrorist attack.  They just thought a plane had crashed into the tower.

Ladder Company 3 Truck 9-11 Memorial NYC

Since they were there first this fire truck had the worse impact from the blast of the towers falling after the second plane crashed.  All that were present perished trying to save others.  True heroes in my book.

I warn you it is hard to go through this museum. I can't imagine how family members and others who lived through it can see it all and relive that day.

But there was some hope in the tree that survived, in the statue I talked about in the last post, and in a pane of glass.  Not something you would normally think of as giving hope but out of the 40,000 window panes in the World Trade Towers, one survived.  One pane didn't shatter.

One Surviving Window Pane Info 9-11 Memorial NYC

One Surviving Window Pane 9-11 Memorial NYC

The best thing in the entire museum was this part where you could write words of love and encouragement on a screen and it would show up on a map on the part of the world where you told it you were from.  It was nice.

Words of Comfort and Love 9-11 Memorial NYC

There were other memorials in Lower Manhattan beyond the Memorial Plaza and the September 11th Museum. One particular place is St. Paul's Chapel just a few blocks from Ground Zero.

St Pauls Chapel Info NYC

Now St. Paul's Chapel was famous before September 11th.  It is the place where George Washington worshiped!  George Washington!  The very first president of our great country!!

Want to see where he sat?

Of course you do!

George Washingtons Pew St Pauls Chapel NYC

During the recovery effort this became a place for  rescue workers to take a nap, get some food, or have some medical help.  They did leave one pew there showing all the scuff marks made by the workers just trying to get a few moments of rest without taking off their heavy work boots.

9-11 Pew Marks St Pauls Chapel NYC

The pews have been taken out and the church is more of a museum now although church is still held there on Sundays.  The  museum is dedicated to showcasing the outpouring of love and support New York City received from all around the world after September 11th.

There were banners, paper cranes, police and fire patches, and even police and fire hats from all over the world!

9-11 Sign from Oklahoma St Pauls Chapel NYC

9-11 Peace Cranes and Patches St Pauls Chapel NYC

9-11 Worldwide First Responder Patches St Pauls Chapel NYC

9-11 Worldwide Patches from First Responders at St Pauls Chapel NYC

9-11 Worldwide First Responder Hats St Pauls Chapel NYC

The last memorial I would like to share with you is on Staten Island.  This just means that we got to take a 25 minute ride on the FREE Staten Island ferry which runs every single day of the year!  I didn't realize how big that silly ferry is!  I want to say it had FOUR different levels!  There are great views from the ferry of the Statue of Liberty and the Lower Manhattan skyline.

But back to the memorial.  It is called Postcards and is a short walk from where you disembark from the ferry.  From the side it does look like an envelope, which for whatever reason I didn't take a picture from that side.  It looked really cool too!

I'll show you the view in just a moment but the entire monument is dedicated to the 275 Staten Islanders who perished September 11, 2001.  The inside has the profile of each person along with their name and date of birth.

Postcards Profiles 9-11 Memorial Staten Island

It was really sad, but again.  All of these memorials are there for a purpose.  They are there to help the ones who survived and to help them heal.

I really liked the Postcard.  While it is a memorial to the Staten Island people it also is a memorial to the events that happened across the river.  I will leave you with a look at the Postcard how I think it was meant to be seen.

Postcards 9-11 Memorial Staten Island and Manhattan Skyline at Nigh

My next post will be about Ellis Island.  I hope you will return to read about it.

Until then!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Iconic New York City

For our 2015 Christmas trip, Frankie and I decided to go to New York City.  We had been wanting to go for awhile now but for one reason or another we kept putting it off and going to other places. We had a great time and I would love to share some stories from our trip.  When anyone thinks of New York City I would imagine these are the things they think of.  I do, at least!

In no particular order these are THE iconic images of New York City!

The Subway!

Frankie, show us the way!

Frankie Enter Subway Station NYC

The subway system can be intimidating and at times confusing and frustrating!  I mean just look at the map!!  

NYC Subway Map

In other countries we have been to it was VERY clear which line to use and which direction you would be going because they used the standard of using the end of the line name to show direction.  The subway in NYC did that most of the time but occasionally it would just say uptown, downtown, or something else and you had to just know where you were and which way you wanted to go.  We figured it out but we do have some experience with subways. We ended up on the wrong side of the platform only once the entire trip.

While down there we saw some great signs telling people how to be polite subway riders (sad they have to do that, but oh well). I only have a picture of one of them.

Subway Pole Safety Sign NYC

I wanted to take more but there were always people sitting right in front of them and I didn't want to seem like a creeper taking a picture of something above their heads. Plus, it was really hard to get a good picture with all the shaking of the train.

There was one sign that isn't that interesting but there is a story that goes with it.

Drop Something Leave It Subway Sign NYC

This sign was posted all over the place.  Again, sad they have to even have a sign like this put up.  Really, who does that??  I can answer that because we saw with our own eyes a man drop his cell phone (an old flip phone) onto the tracks.  He then jumped down onto the tracks to get it!!  

I am pretty sure I just stood there with my mouth hanging open in shock.  I seriously didn't think ANYONE would do something like that!!  

That's not all.  Once he got his phone he wasn't tall enough nor strong enough to pull himself back up onto the platform!  He struggled for a few seconds before three men went over to pull him up.  Once he was up he kept saying "Gracias, gracias, gracias."  (That's "thank you" in Spanish.) He was NOT Hispanic and his Spanish accent was hideous!

One man was muttering, "Your phone is not worth it, man."  Another just shook his head and walked off.  As we continued to wait for the subway it was obvious that the man had a mental illness by the way he was acting.  All that matters though is that he was alright.  I don't think I could have handled seeing a person die right in front of me in such a gruesome manner!!

Moving on, let's see more of iconic New York City.

Outdoor Statues!

I just LOVE outdoor statues.

Love Scultpure NYC

See what I did there?  Teehee!

Now seriously. (As if.....)

 Next up, the Wall Street Bull, decorated for Christmas no less!

Charging Bull Wall St NYC

I had to wait for everyone to get out of the way to get that shot with no people, but patience prevailed and I got my people free shot.   Now most people were just standing by the head of the bull for their picture and then there were the others. Maybe it is just human nature to want to be gross.  Maybe it was the lack of a sign saying not to do so, but here you go.

Head in Charing Bull Butt Wall St NYC

I think he might need a bovine anatomy lesson as to where his head SHOULD have really gone. Besides, how would HE feel if something like that were to happen to him??  I did a horrible photo edit to give a little insight into this.

Yeah, take that sir!!

There were other people doing other things as well, but I didn't want to remember that quite as vividly, so no picture was taken!

Anyhow, let's move on to a majestic statue that doesn't just represent New York City but all of America, the greatest country in the world, Miss Liberty herself!

Statue of Liberty NYC

I wanted to bust out with the song  "God Bless the U.S.A" by Lee Greenwood, the first time I saw her. We did go visit Liberty Island, but I am saving that for another post.  It deserves its own, don't you think?

Another statue that we saw was one called Double Check by J Seward Johnson in Zuccotti Park.  It is a business man checking to make sure he has all that he needs before going to a meeting.  

Double Check by J Seward Johnson in Liberty Park NYC

It really didn't have much meaning when it was first placed in Lower Manhattan and it probably never really would have if the September 11th terror attack  had never happened.  What brought it to life was the fact that after the towers fell and people were able to look around they saw this statue still standing.  It was covered in trash, dust, and soot and had been uprooted but it was not destroyed.  Ever since, the statue has been called the "survivor statue" and is a symbol of hope and recovery.

Speaking of hope, other positive words that come to mind are fortitude and patience.  Ok, so maybe that is a stretch but Fortitude and Patience are the names of the lion statues outside of the New York Public Library.  If I am remembering right and have my directions correct then this is Patience.  

NYC Public Library Lion with Christmas Wreath

Of course, I am not very good with directions, but then again it's a 50/50 chance of getting it correct! I think the lady in the corner (I will name her Sandra) disagrees with me but whatever.  She doesn't know everything.

For the next two, I don't really think they are considered statues, but they are outdoors, they are structures, and they are iconic, so I feel quite confident lumping them in here.  (And if Sandra doesn't like it, well, tough tooties!)

This is the arch in Washington Square Park.  Isn't pretty at night especially with a huge Christmas tree in the middle of it?

Washington Square Arch with Christmas Tree NYC

There was a guy just hanging out there telling tourist where the best place to stand would be for the best pictures.  I didn't listen to him.  I figure he was going to charge for the information.  I have become jaded since our trip to Mexico City and the tour of Metropolitan Cathedral that we didn't know we had to pay for until AFTER the tour.

Shake it off, Jennifer.  Shake it off.  It was almost two years ago! 

I'm ok.  I'm ok.

Want to see something iconic AND fun?  Check out the ice skating Santa Claus at the Rockefeller Center ice skating rink!

I'm ready for a new category.  

Buildings of New York City!

The first one is really the inside because the outside was not that impressive.  This is a video from inside Grand Central Station.  Just in this one short video I wonder how many different people walked by and where they were all from.  

Often when me, my sister, the dogs, and the cat were all in a room with my mom she would exclaim, "What do you think this is Grand Central Station?"   I can now see why!

Let's look at some buildings from the outside that I am sure you will know what they are even if I don't tell you.  

But I will tell you anyways.  

I'm a teacher.  

It's what I do.

Here we have the Chrysler Building.  I have no idea what it is used for, I think it is just an office building, but it sure is pretty!  I love the art deco style and the eagles on it!

Chrysler Building NYC

Next, the Empire State Building, which is another office building.  For $32 you can go to the 86th floor and look out over Manhattan.  We chose to look at the 86th floor from the ground for free. Ha!

Empire State Building NYC

Now we have St. Patrick's Cathedral.  It is a large Catholic church that's been around awhile, oh you know, like since 1879. I love the outside, it reminds me of all the old Catholic churches we have seen in Europe.  It really stands out among all the other buildings on 5th Avenue!

St Patricks Cathedral NYC

It is, of course, gorgeous inside!

Worshipers St Patricks Cathedral 5th Ave NYC

There was something in this church that I had never seen before and left me a little baffled.

Prayer to the Holy Face of Jesus St Patricks Cathedral 5th Ave NYC

It wasn't the picture that got me.  It was the prayer that was posted nearby.
Prayer to the Holy Face of Jesus 
Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Face of Thy Beloved Son for the honor and glory of Thy Name, for the conversion of sinners and for the salvation of the dying.  O Divine Jesus, through Thy Face and Name, save us.  Our hope is in the virtue of Thy Holy Name.   
I don't understand why you would pray to just the face of Jesus. That truly baffles me.  If anyone can explain, I would like to know.

Anyhow, two more buildings to go!

We just walked by Radio City Music Hall without stopping or going in.  We could have taken a tour or gone to a show but we really aren't into that, so we took a picture and moved on.

Radio City Music Hall NYC

This was my favorite building of all. It is called the Flatiron Building and is an office building.  

Flatiron Building NYC

"So, why is it my favorite?", you might be asking.  Well let me tell you! If you know me or you have read any of my other posts, you probably know I teach math.  Any building that is different from a rectangular prism is going to catch my eye!  And when I talk about prisms in class it is good to show examples and this triangular prism allows me to show them something cool and real-life!  I think I will make them find the volume.  I just have to find the dimensions, which I am sure I can find online somewhere!

Time for more iconic New York City.


You have GOT to see this pigeon taking food out of my hand.  The pigeons in New York are BRAVE little boogers!

Ok, now for the real icon food of New York City. (Although, I suppose the pigeons are iconic in there own way.)

Hot dogs from a hot dog push cart!

Hot Dog Stand NYC

New York City Hot Dog with the Works

This was Frankie's.  The hot dog vendor asked him what he wanted on his hot dog and he asked what she suggested.  I think it ended up being ketchup, sauerkraut, onions, and mustard.  I gagged a little but he loved it.

I did get one eventually.  My toppings....mustard.  Let's just say, I not a hot dog person, but when in Rome.... a hot dog!

We also tried the pretzels.  Sadly, they had the essence of hot dog to them in every bite. It wasn't pleasant.  If you can find a fresh one or really like the taste of hot dogs, go for it otherwise you might want to pass!

Pretzel NYC

When you are walking around Manhattan and you find yourself hungry but not wanting to stop for long at a restaurant, tired of hot dogs, or if you don't want to spend a lot of money then grab a slice or two of pizza and eat it as you go!

Pizza by the Slice NYC

We were welcomed to Chinatown....

Chinatown Sign in NYC

...where we saw a Popeyes with the sign also in Chinese.  I thought that was interesting.  I am sure someone from China might need Popeyes explained since there are none in China, unless you count Hong Kong.  (Does Hong Kong count?  I am still confused by that whole situation.)

Popeyes Restaurant in Chinatown NYC

As we were walking along in Chinatown, we crossed the street and found ourselves in Little Italy.  Bada bing bada boom! Just like that!

Little Italy Sign NYC

Man oh man, did Little Italy welcome us!  Just look at those cannoli!

Cannoli in Little Italy NYC

Little Italy also had the coolest fire hydrants painted in the colors of the Italian flag!

Italian Colors on Fire Hydrant Little Italy NYC

Last topic.

Rescue Workers and 9-11!

New York City rescue workers (police, fire, ambulance, etc.) are amazing icons of New York City.  

NYC Firefighters Station 224

We walked past this fire station with their door open and Frankie asked if he could take a picture.  They were so nice about it!  They forced me to be in a picture too but I made Frankie delete it as soon as we walked away.  I got nervous and made smiley squinty face.  

It went something like this.

It wasn't pretty.

I am sure that the brave men and women of all rescue workers were respected by many before the terror attacks of September 11th, but knowing what they went through and that so many perished elevated them in status, if to no one else, they did in our eyes.

Our hotel was in Lower Manhattan across the street from the September 11th Memorial.  Everyday when we would walk from our hotel to a subway stop we would see reminders of that time.  I could never comprehend fully what those people who were there went through since I wasn't there.  I was almost 2,000 miles away, a lifetime away really.  So far removed from Ground Zero, I cannot truly know the depth of fear they felt.

I do know I will never forget no matter how far away I am.  The twin towers will always be an icon of New York City!

We Shall Never Forget Sign at Resturant Near Ground Zero NYC

My next post on our New York City trip will be about all the September 11th memorials we encountered.  I hope you will return to read about them.

Until then!