Last Day In NYC

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Although we didn't go to bed until well into this morning we again woke early to get the most out of our trip.  After a delicious brunch, Nicole wanted to take us on a tour of her school, Columbia University.  It was just as impressive as you would expect an Ivy League school to be.  I am fortunate enough to live in a state that is practically overflowing with excellent schools but Columbia was impressive.
View from a bridge on Columbia's Campus

After our tour of Columbia we visited the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine.  Walking into this massive building makes you forget you are in America.  It was as grand and imposing as many of the cathedrals in Europe and it was a nice way to take a step away from the fast moving pace of the city around us.

From there we visited the Children's Garden which had hundreds of small statues designed by children scattered throughout a garden.
One of the larger statues in Children's Garden

Nicole then headed back to her apartment while Ellen and I headed to Central Park to attempt to rent bikes for an hour or two.  While we looked up the location of the bike place on the map, it was much more difficult in actuality to find it.  Instead we stumbled upon a celebration of Japan Day.  There was singing, dancing, and dozens of people in costume so we decided to skip the bikes and people watch instead.

After some time we decided to walk down Park Ave to look at all the insanely expensive apartments that normal humans could barely dream of affording.  From there we stopped at Rockefeller Center and then explored Grand Central Station.  We had both previously seen Time Square and, while it is a place everyone should see once in their life, it is not something you necessarily need to see twice.  The flashing lights and mobs of people after two days of walking was enough to make us bypass that area.

Central Park

Rockefeller Center
 From there we hopped on the subway and made our way back to Nicole's where we grabbed some dinner and then packed our bags to catch our bus back to Boston!

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.

NYC

Friday, May 20, 2011

Well it has been quite a while since my last adventure.  Shortly after coming home from Alaska I managed to get a full time job as a paralegal at a law firm just outside of Boston.  While it has been great to have a steady paycheck it hasn't given me much time to get out and see the world.  After working for six months I decided to move from my home in Dracut to Somerville which is just outside of Boston and, in a way, has been an adventure in itself.  It has been very helpful that my roommate is from another country and enjoys wandering as much as I do.  I've been able to do a lot of touristy things in my own city that I probably would not have done otherwise.  I'm sure I will touch upon some of those things later on.

One thing that I had been wanting to do since leaving school was to take a trip down to New York to visit my roommate of three years, Nicole.  She is studying for her Master's degree at Columbia University. Myself and my current roommate, Ellen, decided to take a trip down to New York both for the visit and to see the city.  I have been to New York twice before, once just before 9/11 and another time as a senior in high school.  Both times I was able to see a few of the biggest sights (Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Time Square) but it had been quite some time since I have been and I had never toured the city on my own.

First day of college Aug. 2006
We took a 7 pm bus from Alewife Station in Cambridge and, with the bus being late and some construction delays, we arrived in NYC around 12:30.  We hopped on the subway and were met by Nicole upon our exit.  It's amazing that it has been over a year since I've seen her but its even more amazing how quickly we slip back into our old routines.  In her apartment I also found Laura!  Laura lived in our dorm freshman year and was a great friend however she transferred and I had only seen her sporadically in the last four years.  After chatting for a while we decided to call it a night because we had a busy weekend planned ahead of us.