Before yesterday, I had never been to New York City. I’ve been wanting to get there ever since we moved here (it’s about 3 hours away from us), but it’s just never worked out.
Well, Jarrod has leave to burn before the new fiscal year, and Trenton and Charlotte are in Texas with Mimi and Pops, so that left us the perfect opportunity to get to the city for a day.
Our original plan was to drive up early yesterday morning and drive back home yesterday evening. But I decided to call the Navy Lodge on Staten Island Wednesday afternoon around 2:00 to see if they had any last minute room availability. And they did! At $106 (no tax), we couldn’t pass it up! So I packed up a bag, asked a neighbor to feed Bailey and let him out, and Evelyn were on our way to grab Jarrod from work.
The drive to Staten Island wasn’t bad at all. Except the tolls and the construction just as we were getting to our exit. Because of construction, we missed our exit, had to cross the Verranzano-Narrows Bridge to get turned around, and then had to pay a $16 toll to cross the bridge coming back onto Staten Island. Talk about an expensive mistake!
Anyway, our room on Staten Island was great! The Navy Lodge has recently been remodeled, and other than a little girl who DID NOT want to sleep, our overnight stay was really good.
Yesterday morning, we got up, ate breakfast at the lodge, and then drove to the Staten Island Ferry. Parking is $8 for the day, and the ferry ride over to Manhattan is free. We loved riding in on the ferry. We got a great view of the city, and went right past the Statue of Liberty.
The ferry dropped us off and we took the subway to the World Trade Center and 9/11 Memorial and Museum (we could have actually walked, but we didn’t realize it at the time). This was the big reason that I wanted to go to NYC without Trenton and Charlotte. I wanted to see the memorial and museum, but I didn’t want to have to explain 9/11 to the kids.
And I’m glad that we made that decision. The museum is not for kids – unless they are at an age that they will sleep through everything.
I was completely overwhelmed with emotion. The museum is already a lot to handle, but having pregnancy hormones on top of that – I couldn’t make it through the whole museum.
Jarrod asked me after we left the museum, what stuck out to me the most. Seeing all of the recovered artifacts, the mangled steel beams, the pictures of those that died was all so moving. But what stuck out the most for me was something that I read right after we got inside the museum. One-third of the world’s population watched the attacks happen. Once that first plane hit the World Trade Center, one-third of the people in this world were watching their televisions as the other attacks happened. Not one-third of American residents. Not one-third of people who owned televisions. One-third of all people in the WHOLE WORLD. This was before social media was a big thing. It was before everyone walked around with smart phones. To me, that piece of information was just astonishing.
From the museum, we walked past the new World Trade Center Freedom Tower, where the line was crazy long. Instead of waiting in line to go inside and check it out, we instead decided to find a place to eat since it was already past our normal lunch time.
I knew that I wanted to eat New York pizza. The first few places my Yelp app took us to were “order at the counter and stand up to eat your pizza” type places. That really wasn’t going to work for a family with a 16 month old. So I redid my search for “pizza sit-down” and off we went to a pizza/Italian restaurant (Harry’s Italian). And the pizza did not disappoint!
Oh, and our server also brought us a free cannoli for us to share! Complete with a little bitty spoon for Evelyn!
Speaking of Evelyn – she had a lot of fans in NYC. She even got a free gift from Tiffany & Co!
We went into the city without much of a plan other than seeing the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It was nice not being on a strict schedule and just stopping to see anything that we saw that interested us. One of our favorite stops that we just happened upon was Federal Hall.
Federal Hall is where George Washington took the oath of office when he became the first President of the United States. It is also served as the United State Capitol Building until the capital was moved to Philadelphia in 1790. It was pretty amazing to see the slab that George Washington stood on for his inauguration along with the Bible that he took his inaugural oath on.
And that was our day in New York City. We caught the 5:15 ferry back to Staten Island (along with everyone who was going home from work), grabbed our car, and got on the road headed home. We had a great time in the city, and are hoping to get back later this summer with all of the kids. So if you have any suggestions on family-friendly NYC, let me know!