Life · Travel

A Wicked Last Day in the Big Apple

Thursday was our last full day in New York, our original plan for this day was to keep it free and do anything we might have missed. Mam was hoping to go to Jersey Gardens to do some more window shopping but given that we didn’t get to go up to the One World Observatory on Tuesday and we had already paid for the tour we decided we’d make the most definitely longer than 5k trek down to the Financial District to do that.

As we were up and out of the hotel by 7:30 or 8am every morning we made it down pretty early & thankfully there was no rain or strong winds on the day so we were able to go up to the observatory. The elevators are pretty cool inside, there is a warning for anyone who is afraid of heights or gets motion sick to either close their eyes or face the elevator doors as you go up the 102 floors in 47 seconds and you see the city build it’s self around you as you go up.

The view’s from here were much the same as the Empire State Building but still worth the visit! Mam had made a promise to conquer her fear of heights by stepping out on to the glass floor of the observatory however there isn’t any – that’s in the Sears Tower in Chicago! But there was a little screen that mirrored the ground below us so we’re all really proud that Mam stepped on that!

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There’s a couple of observation decks in the observatory and you can buy a tablet to use as a guide to point out the buildings you can see and gives you some facts about them. We didn’t bother with that as we got so much information from our bus and boat tours we decided we’d just enjoy the view!

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Next we walked over to the Irish Hunger Memorial – something my cousin mentioned to us before we went over but neither of us had heard about it before. Reading up on it, it’s a memorial for the Great Irish Famine back in the 1800’s. There are stones from each county in Ireland in the memorial and there is a reconstructed Irish cottage incorporated into the memorial. It was nice to see a bit of Irish history in New York as so many Irish fled to the states during this time. The only downside to this is you wouldn’t really know what it is unless you went looking for it. There isn’t much information on the site about what it is or represents. It’s kind of just left to speak for itself and maybe that was the intention but I felt a little bit lost trying to understand it when we were there!

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After the memorial we decided to be idiots and WALK the entire way more than 5K back to our hotel! Luckily it wasn’t raining but man are my feet broken now (especially since we did a 10K walk on Sunday when we came back too!!). When we eventually made it back to our hotel we freshened up and went to John’s Pizzeria on 44th street for a whole load of garlic bread, chicken wings and pizza cause how could we not have pizza in New York?

After dinner it was showtime, literally.. We had booked tickets to see Wicked on Broadway before we went over. I had a half an idea of the story line but the show was absolutely amazing! I’m still listening to the songs!! One thing I loved was a little novelty to trick people into buying a drink at the show. When you bought a drink it was served in a Wicked travel cup so when you got your drink you automatically got a keepsake from the show rather than having to buy a t-shirt and if you didn’t add alcohol to the slushie it only cost $7 which of course is all I spent cause I’m a cheapskate sometimes!! But it was well worth the $7 for the travel cup!!

And that’s it our New York trip certainly went out with a bang! Friday all we did really was have a dash around the shops to pick up some presents and sweets to bring back & checked out of the hotel and went to the airport 5 hours before our flight for fear we’d be late!!

New York has quickly become my favourite place, I just loved everything about it! I was afraid that I’d hate the busyness about it and all the hustle and bustle but surprisingly I think that was my favourite part! The place was buzzing all the time and it was just incredible. I was 100% not ready to come home when we did, I’d have stayed there so much longer if I could! I guess I’m just gonna have to go back again!!

Click here for New York Day 1!

Click here for New York Day 2!

Click here for New York Day 3!

Click here for New York Day 4!

Life · Travel

Ground Zero Walking Tour

Tuesday took us down to the Financial District for our walking tour of the 9/11 memorial. Of course us being the early birds that we are, we were up bright and early and decided we’d grab a quick breakfast and walk the 5K (I still believe it’s longer) from our hotel to St Paul’s Chapel where we met our tour guide Alison.

This tour was another one of my favourites. Our tour guide was actually in college in New York on the day of 9/11 and shared with us her story of that day. It was really chilling hearing a first hand account of what happened.

We started the tour at St. Paul’s Chapel – known as the little chapel that stood, as when the towers came down St. Paul’s Chapel only lost one pane of glass despite how close it is to the World Trade Centre.

Moving on from the chapel we went towards the new World Trade Centres, some are completely built others are still under construction. Along with the new World Trade Centres a new transportation hub called the Oculus was built (which I just realised in the 1,000 pictures I took I didn’t take one from the outside, but this is just inside the door).

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Next we moved over to the fire house where the first responders came from. Hundreds of firefighters and police officers lost their lives in the events that happened on 9/11 and the fire house has a mural on the side of the building dedicated to all those who did and continue to put their lives on the line for others.

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Moving on to the two pools that represent the twin towers that fell. It’s eerily haunting to see the amount of names on the memorials. The designer that designed the memorial decided to put the names of all the emergency responders, flight passengers and co-workers together to keep the names of those who could have been close to each other during the time of the attack. The two things that got to me the most about the memorial was seeing a woman’s name with “and her unborn child” written next to it as she was pregnant during the attack. The other thing that hit me hard was that when it is one of the victims birthdays workers at the memorial site place a white rose in their name & seeing a few white roses dotted around the memorial really got to me.

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North Pool
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South Pool
The last stop on our walking tour was what’s known as “The Survivor Tree” the only tree in the area that survived the attack. Though the tree was severely damaged and charred, it was nursed back to health in the Bronx and was replanted by the memorial in 2010.

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While we were here we were supposed to go up the One World Observatory, however due to weather issues and problems with the elevators we couldn’t so we were given passes to come back another day.

Just as we started walking back the 5k to our hotel the heavens opened and it felt like we were back home in Ireland for a while with the amount of rain that fell. We hailed a yellow cab to take us back to our hotel so we could dry off and get ready for dinner. After dinner we decided we’d go back to visit Grand Central Station as we didn’t see much of it other than the food court on Tuesday!

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This was one of mam’s must see’s when we were here and I’m glad we went, it’s such a fabulous building and I just loved the buzz around the place with everyone rushing about to and from their trains.

Click here for New York Day One!

Click here for New York Day Two!