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nyc: day 4

June 11, 2010

Wow. I have so many pics to share from day 4 that it isn’t even funny. It’s hard to know where to start, so be forewarned that today’s post is going to be long and full of images!

On our 4th day in NYC I fulfilled a goal I never really even knew I had – to fly in a helicopter. But I’m getting ahead of myself now. Mom and I started Wednesday just as we had all the other mornings – sleeping until we woke up. Which didn’t really end up being too late on this particular morning. We got up, got ready and got some breakfast on the 2nd floor. That morning would be our first experience on the NYC subway. We have mastered public transportation in other big cities such as London and Moscow, but every city has its quirks. NYC is no exception.

We bought our tickets and went merrily on our way. A couple detours, some walking and about an hour or so later we arrived at Ground Zero – WTC. It was just like people said it would be – a big fence around a huge gaping hole in the ground. It was kind of somber standing there and frustrating that there weren’t already buildings taking the place of those we lost on 9/11.

We headed out from there for a little tour of the financial district and Tribeca. We walked 17 blocks before we realized that we weren’t quite heading in the right direction. It all turned out for the best because it was a beautiful morning, we got to see more than we would have if we had known right where to go and we were able to take the scenic route to our destination – a lovely stroll on a lovely day down the Hudson River Walk. It was so nice. After we had walked quite aways and had built up an appetite, we found a bench that faced the river and enjoyed a little break. Then on we went, walking all the way from Canal Street down to Battery Park. Our mission was to take the ferry over to the Statue of Liberty.

And that is about as close as we thought we were going to get to the Statue of Liberty. When we reached Battery Park the line for the ferry was about four hours long. We both knew that wasn’t how we wanted to spend our last afternoon in NYC. We walked around Battery Park for a while and sat in the shade enjoying a water fountain. I started looking at the map to see what we might do next and saw a place advertising helicopter tours of the harbor. I knew right then that’s the way I wanted to see the Statue of Liberty.

We reached the heliport just in time to be on the second to the last tour out for the afternoon. Supposedly Biden was coming to NYC and they were having to shut down the air space for a few hours. Within ten minutes of getting our tickets we were seated in the helicopter, ready to take off. I couldn’t stop smiling. I honestly felt like crying (such a girl!), but I was so excited and thrilled. I could see the Hudson right under my feet as we circled the harbor. We flew right by the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island then straight up the river passed downtown Manhattan, all the way up to Yankee Stadium. Those were some of the best 20 minutes of my life to date. I can’t remember the last time I was so excited. Is that sad? I don’t know, but I do know that I would fly in a helicopter again (in a heartbeat) and I would highly recommend that method of seeing the Statue of Liberty (without a doubt).

After the helicopter tour I was on cloud nine. Seriously. It was that awesome. Or maybe I am just a dork, but I couldn’t get over it. We continued along the river walk, saw a really neat port with old-fashioned ships, bought some prints to frame and then found a little out-of-the-way restaurant with covered tables outside and had a cool drink. It was a hot day! And we had walked…a lot.

After our respite we continued up to Chinatown and ate an early dinner at a restaurant called Amazing 66. After that we crossed over into Little Italy for some gelato to finish off our meal. It was so crazy to walk from one “country” to another…with only about a block in between…and so different! It was amazing.

That evening we were tired when we finally made it back to our apartment. We estimated that we walked just about 12 miles that day. Phew. But it was worth it all! We had so much fun and saw and did so much! We decided we had to go out on our last evening in NYC, so we headed back to Rockefeller Center and got a table at the Rink Bar. It was right in front of the fountain – a very pleasant evening outside, a packed restaurant, a light breeze, music playing…an excellent setting for our last evening!

We walked back to the hotel and got a few night shots along the way.

And then I slept for eight hours straight without moving.

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