A Sunny Day

Trip Start Aug 20, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Holiday Express Meadowlands

Flag of United States  , New York
Sunday, September 13, 2009

Today the weather was sunny and warm so we were up and out of the hotel as quickly as we could be with a list of things to do!

After getting into Port Authority we got the subway to Central Park for an amble and a chance to let the children play on the rocks and in the playground.  The place was over flowing with people due to it being the weekend and their being a 'race for life' type fun run going on as well.

The children really enjoyed the freedom and were very happy running around.  We wandered around enjoying the sunshine :-)

We then headed for 5th Avenue and the famous toyshop on the corner (will fill in the name later!)  It was amazing..............so many different toys.  I visited the first time I went to New York and was disappointed this time to see that the large train had gone :-(  What I did like was the 'make a muppet' area - we were up for having one made until we realised it was going to cost $180 - think we will wait for another time!  There was a huge Barbie section where you could design the Barbie you wanted to buy and lots and lots of Play Mobile as well as a huge floor piano which Lucy really enjoyed running across...............the one from Big (Tom Hanks.)  I think we all secretly enjoyed it, not just the kids!!

Then we wandered down 5th Avenue looking at all the expensive shops before coming across the Rockafeller Centre where we had lunch before getting the subway down to Ground Zero again as we wanted to visit the Memorial Centre which had been closed when we visited on  9-11.

Whilst looking for the centre we ended up walking around the edge of the whole of Ground Zero.......a very strange feeling.  Looking at the buildings around and the gapping hole, trying to imagine what it must have been like that day.  There was also the cross of steel which had been recovered from the site and was now another memorial.

We eventually found the memorial centre and went in.  It was a very harrowing experience but well worth a visit.  Learning more about the experiences of so many people that day and the horror that occurred after the event in the massive clean up operation which took so long.  There was also many artefacts including a section of plane found in the rubble and personal objects which really made us feel very strange.  Both myself and Jeff found it very difficult not to get upset - perhaps more so because of the 343 firefighters who lost their lives that day. 

There was also a room where relatives of the victims had given photographs and personal objects to form a wall of photos which was very moving  and an opportunity for visitors to write down their thoughts.

There were many interesting ones posted on the wall, including one from the daughter of a lady who died on one of the planes.  The mother had always said that the worse day of her life was Pearl Harbour - the mother was on the way to live with her daughter when she died on this flight.  There was also another card which talked of a girl who's sister should have been on one of the flights but the company who she worked for cancelled her meeting................it all made it very real.  Lucy and Daniel left their thoughts too in the form of pictures - very simple but it showed their understanding of the whole event.  As I have said before, it is very difficult to explain why something like this has happened.

After leaving the centre we moved next door to the Fire House nearest the twin towers which had flowers strewn everywhere after the events of the 9-11 memorial a couple of days earlier.  Once again there were photos everywhere and hand scribed messages from loved ones.  It certainly puts everything into perspective and makes you realise how lucky you are and how much you have.

After delicious icecream to lighten the mood we headed back to the Rock.............why so many people and police.....................the MTV awards!!!!

Roads were blocked off and the crowds were several deep, lots of cheering and flash photography - just a shame we couldn't see which famous people were arriving.  It was hosted by Russel Brand (not sure if the Americans got his humour!) and was attended by the likes of Madonna, Janet Jackson, Beyonce etc.

Getting to the Rock was quite a job when so many roads were blocked off, but we got there eventually.  There were so many people around the area, some tourists but lots of people who were obviously attending the awards and lots of huge black cars with tinted window and big bouncers with ear pieces!!!

Up at the top of the Rock was busy but well worth the view, particularly as the sun set.  The only problem was that everyone wanted to get the perfect picture so weren't particularly thoughtful towards the children. 

It is absolutely amazing to think that that very famous image of men sitting on a beam built this building back in the 1930s - without any form of safety harnesses.  It made me feel very sick to think about that whilst stood at the top!

Then it was a mad dash back to Port Authority to get the bus back to the hotel - the journey to the airport was going to be an early start so we got back and had a take out pizza, before bed.
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