We woke up at our usual early time and had another breakfast in bed. This morning we were headed to the World Trade Center Museum for 9am entry. In plenty of time we caught the subway there and managed to get perfectly lost! New York would benefit from copying London with some better directions in some places. although maybe it was me and my map reading! Once we finally found our way there amongst the commuters, I had made the school girl error of forgetting to bring our tickets. Luckily after putting my phone on roaming I could pull up the tickets and we had no problems getting in.
Generally I am not one for museums at all, history isn’t usually something I am interested in, but this was completely different. It is odd to have something so significant that’s happened during our lifetime and remembering it being reported on the news and TV. We spent over four hours in there and found it very good, with lots of detail although definitely overwhelming and graphic in parts. I was really surprised by the amount of visitors with kids in tow, not the place for them in my opinion.
It was interesting to see and learn more about, but also quite emotional and intense at times. We liked that there was a memorial center which was separate to the rest of the museum and solely focused on them. Listening to the taped recordings and watching the videos got a bit much though, especially those who were in the second tower, telling family it was next door and they were going to be fine. The photographs of people jumping out were really sobering and upsetting. We were surprised to see that someone from our hometown in Southampton had died in the towers too.
We covered most of the museum, and could have probably explored for longer if we didn’t get so hungry. We didn’t expect to be there so long otherwise we would have had a big breakfast before so we didn’t have to rush. We left to find the rain had kicked off again; we briefly visited the reflecting pools and then tried to find Umami burger for lunch. It was a bit of a wild goose chase and the rain was getting worse so we changed our plans. Originally we were going to take the Statue of Liberty ferry and check out century 21, but instead decided to take the subway in search of lunch.
We found ourselves in Big Daddy’s Diner, a very American chain place with free wifi and games to play at the tables. They had some crazy milkshakes on the menu including one with bacon in, but I restrained myself opting for the fairly safer option of diet coke. We both went for sandwiches with tater tots. I decided to try sweet potato tots, which were different, although I think the regular were best. Mine was a monsterous ciabatta with grilled chicken, bacon, avocado, caramelized onions and a whole heap of other stuff.
Everything was really good but I was still struggling with the portion sizes as I always do. On our way we stocked up with yet more Christmas candy, making me a bit concerned about luggage space! Next up was FAO Schwarz to check out the Big piano and have a wonder around. The candy was very expensive so we gave that a miss, but the store itself was really festive and pretty to see, once you could escape the hoards of people.
From here we strolled down 5th Avenue all the way to Bryant Park, stopping off at Bergdorf Goodman, Saks and Hollister on the way. I had a wobble and bought more chocolate at Lindt, even though we have this at home there were some funky flavours that have yet to make it to the UK. At this point the city started to look really pretty as the Christmas lights were out in force and twinkling amongst the taxi’s.
Right on cue the rain came, although it was lighter than yesterday the temperature had definitely reduced. We found ourselves at the holiday market where I was tempted to buy some gel candles as Christmas gifts, but they were glass and I had a feeling they wouldn’t be accepted in my hand luggage. There was an event on here too, with singing and ice skating performances, and a Christmas carol session before the tree lighting.
Amy and I joined in the carolling for a bit, trying not to laugh as we both can’t sing for toffee. The atmosphere was really fun and just so Christmassy despite being right at the beginning of December. Before long our toes and noses were starting to go numb, and we decided to pop back another day to see the tree lit up.
From here we took a walk through Times Square to McDonalds. Yes, I know, this is far from a destination but at that point in time it had all we needed – cheap drinks, free wifi, warm fairly comfortable seating and bathrooms! Much easier than venturing back to the hotel. We sat there for a while for a break, catching up on Facebook and messaging home. The wifi was far more reliable here than at the hotel anyway.
At this point we weren’t quite hungry enough to eat, but didn’t fancy going back to the hotel and being stuck in the same situation as previous nights. I really wanted to try the build your own burgers at The Counter, and when we swang by there was no wait, so decision made. I went for beef with pepperjack cheese, spicy sour cream, grilled onions, jalapenos, cucumber and avocado on a bed of quinoa with a side of shoestring fries. The food was delicious! I loved this idea of a DIY burger, especially as I’m not really a fan of burger buns. I also ordered a strawberry iced tea, which was my most exotic drink of the trip so far!
The food overload had pretty much taken our energy, so we had a very brief walk through the lights before catching the subway back to the hotel, a whole 12 hours after leaving in the morning. This is generally how I like to do things, but it was a lot harder with the rain and cold to not have a brief break during the day.
Our legs were super tired once we got back, we had covered a lot of ground today. I sorted through the various purchases for Christmas and birthdays before relaxing in bed with a new book – the perfect end to a long day!