This is my tattoo of Christian Bale...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

We only had the weekend to explore the city so we were up bright and early to begin.  After a bagel and coffee at a street side cafe we headed downtown.  Our first stop was the site of the World Trade Center.  I wasn't sure how I was going to feel about this.  There is no one in the country and perhaps in the world that wasn't affected on 9/11 one way or another.  I was extremely blessed to not have lost anyone I know personally on that day and I often feel terrible complaining that my birthday happens to coincide with the day.  I still feel uncomfortable saying my birthday and I avoid celebrating on the actual day but, again, I am very lucky that that was the worst of its direct effect on me.  It has since then of course affected me in many more ways.  That day inspired me to begin studying languages and international relations.  It became a habit to stay up to date with current world news and to study world history.  I am honestly not sure where I would be today if it weren't for the way 9/11 shaped my life.  Anyway, today it is essentially a massive construction site.  Although it looks different, I still felt a very strong wave of emotion come over me, vividly remembering everything I saw on the news that day. 

Freedom Tower Construction
After that we headed down towards the water.  We had an 11:00 check in time for the ferry to take us out to Liberty and Ellis Islands.  After waiting in line for well over an hour we realized that we had "reserve" tickets which essentially would allow us to skip the line and get right on.  While it was extremely annoying to realize this after an hour, it wasn't so bad because we still would have had at least another hour to wait.  During my first trip to the Statue of Liberty we climbed to the top however today that requires months of advanced booking.  Even to get to the pedestal require a few weeks notice so we just walked around the island's grounds and looked at the Statue from below.  It is amazing to imagine what it must have been like for my great grandparents and the millions of other immigrants that came into this country with that statue as their one beacon of hope.  It is unfortunate that her symbolism and motto do not have as much weight today as they did back then.

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free
From Liberty Island we took the ferry to Ellis Island.  This is the place the immigrants were taken to to be tested and sorted.  Most did not have a problem getting into the country and after getting through Ellis they were able to start their own adventures in America.

Great Hall of Ellis Island
After our ferry docked back in the city we walked towards the Brooklyn Bridge.  Our goal was to walk across it however it began raining and we were supposed to be meeting Nicole so we resorted to taking pictures from afar.

Nicole gave us the "New Yorkers" tour of the city.  We walked through Chinatown, Little Italy and SoHo.  These are all place I wouldn't think of visiting without someone to show me around.  As the rain began to pick up again we grabbed some pizza at Lombardi's and took it to a nearby park to eat.

NY Pizza in the rain
Since I obviously do not go to NYC often we decided to have a night on the town.  We headed back to the apartment for brief power naps and then started getting all dolled up.  We visited a few bars which were very entertaining.  The highlight of the evening would have to be the man who was a part of a Canadian bachelor party who had a tattoo of Christian Bale on his arms (from American Psycho... not from Batman he made sure to point out).

One of my favorite aspects of NYC is that the subway runs all night versus in Boston where the last train runs around 12:30.  We were able to head out around 11 and come back at 4 in the morning without having to crash on someone's couch or pay a ridiculous amount of money for taxi.

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