Tuesday, August 11, 2015

12th Anniversary: Trip to NYC Part 1

Each year Adam has to do an American College of Healthcare Executives conference to get his CEU's so usually I tag along and sight see or shop. When he finishes we enjoy the afternoons and evenings together.  Originally we were going to attend the one in Orlando in December but due to scheduling conflicts we needed to make other arrangements so as we looked at the next few options that were coming up.  There happened to be one in August, right around our 12 year anniversary, in NYC no less!  So we booked it about a week and a half before we left, it was by far the least planned out or thought about trip EVER, but ya know what, we still had a blast!

Honestly, getting the kids stuff prepped and split between the two grandparents houses along with bikes, trikes and helmets and then packing myself---it was just a relief to finally sit down on the plane and know "what's done is done and what's not, will just have to ok!" I told Adam, I didn't really care where we were going, anywhere sounded awesome! Its always fun traveling together.
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In the seven days leading up to our trip I finally sat down and tried to get a few things planned.  When I asked Adam what was one thing that he wanted to see or do, it was bike through Central Park. We've done this in several big cities and its a great way to see the lay of the land so to speak.  I wasn't as keen on the idea but truly that afternoon, our first one in NYC, is one of my favorite things that we did in our four days there.  It is beautiful, so picturesque and really romantic with couples having picnic meals on blankets laid out in the grass, strolling along all the many walkways, etc. The architecture and beauty of the park was spectacular.  It was fun to see different scenes from where movies have been made, to walk down near the fountain and look out across the pond. We had perfect weather (albeit very hot) but with blue skies that were gorgeous, it made it easy to navigate around the city.
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Because we were celebrating our anniversary, when we arrived home from the park, we found this lovely little bottle and yummy assortment of cheeses waiting on us---our complements to the hotel!
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I had not made a reservation for that first night, I just thought we could find a little place to eat at and not be rushing anywhere in particular. We asked one of the valets at the hotel where he thought the best  pizza was near the hotel (which was The Grand Hyatt, right by Grand Central Station).  He suggested a small Italian pizza place just around the corner.  Adam and I have recently decided that we are pizza snobs (I've written about that here), so I was a little hesitant, but I was starving so I was good to try anything that was in close proximity.  We headed down 42nd Street to Patsy's Pizzeria (it happens to be the most delicious pizza we've ever had!)  If you're going to NYC, you should definitely check it out!
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That next morning I debated about getting up and going over to watch GMA live, but I decided to just take it easy and sleep in since that NEVER happens! So I hung out and had a leisure morning as I waited for Adam's first day to wrap up. We had tickets to go see the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It was by far the highlight of the sight-seeing things that we saw. The Museum is so well done and is tremendously honoring to the men and women who helped save others as well as to the almost 3,000 lives that were tragically lost that day.  As Adam and I walked through the Museum I couldn't help but be moved to tears as I listened to survivors family members share their last moments with their loved ones.  As a wife talked about her husband and a daughter remembered her dad, tears flowed as I relived that horrifying day when I walked across campus at the U of A, into the Student Union, and saw the big screen TV's sharing the devastation; I watched in horror.

This is the new One World Trade Center. The memorial is the exact foot print of where the World Trade Center building used to stand and is quite somber as you stare down into the the bottom of it.  As you see the water run off into the unknown, where people suffered, lives were buried and where lives were forever changed.   It was sobering as I reflected on what that must have been like to live through. The devastation was unimaginable!!
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Upon entering the Museum, you are plunged into an underground world of somber horror.  Twisted pieces of beams face you as you descend a staircase.  Projected images and recordings recount the day's events.  There are projections of handmade "Missing Persons" posters.  Descending further, into the museum, you pass the Vesey Street stair remnant, the so-called "Survivors' Stairs"--the only viable exit from the building and there are still blood stains on them.  Listening to one woman recount her nightmare as she realized she and those around her were some of the last to get out before the building collapsed, was emotional to hear.
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The last beam to be removed from the rubble stands tall in the museum with graffiti, missing person's posters and pictures all over it.
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The "In Memoriam" exhibit honors 2,983 victims with biographies and profiles, portraits, spoken remembrances and mementoes from family members.  Photos, many of them portrait-style college or employee ID photos, line the walls, (the youngest victim was 2.5 and the oldest was 85 years old.) There is a quote by Virgil that says it all: "No day shall erase you from the memory of time." This wall, one of the most deeply personal aspects of the entire museum separates the public area from a repository of nearly 8,000 unidentified human remains.  As I stood there in the cool, dimly lit area, I got chill bumps just thinking about those families who suffered such unthinkable loss.
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This is the antennae from the North Tower that now sits in the same room as the repository's wall.
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Seeing the Ladder 3 fire truck whose front tires literally melted off the truck because of the intense heat along with parts of the plane wings, fire fighter masks, exhibits filled with peoples glasses that were found strewn about the streets along with backpacks and other personal belongs, was a little bit eerie to observe.
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That evening we did dinner at The Boathouse in Central Park.  It was a definite repeater!  The scene was perfect, we were seated right next to the water, it was an ideal setting and I had perfect company topped off with a little breeze and the sun going down on the beautiful New York Skyline.  (Oh, I really enjoyed the sea scallops too!)
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I'll finish up our trip in my next post.

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