I just went through some of my New York City photos and realized, that I have to split the travel diary of the “Big Apple” into several blogs. Here is the first part of it. And one or two more will follow in the next couple of days.
June 19, 2017
Monday was an odd day. On one side, I wanted to spent more time in Niagara Falls. But on the other side, I was excited to see the “City, that never sleeps”. To get there the fastest way, we had to drive through Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But first we’ve spent some time driving through New York state. And let me tell you: Despite being annoyed with the toll roads, New York has a beautiful landscape to offer. We stopped at a rest area, while it was drizzling a little bit. I loved the smell of the mosses, which grew on the tree trunks. And I got reminded by childhood memories, from back in Germany, when I saw those maple seeds. As kids we used to pick up the fresh green “helicopters” and opened them up a little bit to pull the seed out. The part where the seed was protected had a sticky residue. We split it and “glued” it to our noses. Now, we looked like rhinoceroses. Yeah, as kids we played some interesting safari games. Imagination was everything!
The weather became interesting in Pennsylvania. We drove through these sheets of rain. One moment it was try, then we saw the line of rain, and within the next few seconds, we were in it. It repeated about a couple more times, before we entered New Jersey (State #32). In New Jersey, it was a beautiful sunny day. We stopped at the Welcome Center to stretch for little bit, before we kept driving towards New York City.
Once we were close enough, we came over this hill and here it was, stretching from one point of the horizon to the other: Manhattan … WOOOW! NYC was right in front of our eyes. So close, but still so far away.
In North Bergen, we checked into our motel. After getting cleaned up, we called Uber. Surprisingly, it didn’t take long for the Uber driver to show up at the motel. Driving through the Lincoln Tunnel, the driver told us a bit about New York. He really enjoyed giving us some advise of certain sights. He also mentioned, he lives in New York for the last 28 years, and the city grew on him. He loves it so much, and he can not imagine to live anywhere else. I replied: “I totally understand. I feel that way about Dallas. Cities like them grow on you.” Our destination was the 9/11 Memorial. Carefully I asked the Uber driver, if New York has changed since the attack. He paused for a moment, then he answered: “Yes!” I felt, it was a very sensitive subject for him. But he continued: “About 70 percent of the population, who used to live in Lower Manhattan, moved further north towards Upper Manhattan. The attacks on that day scared a lot of people. They didn’t want to live close to Ground Zero.” I let him know, I appreciated his answer. Sara lightened up the conversation by pointing out every single hot dog stand, since Kevin mentioned he wanted to eat a New York Hot Dog. 😀 We also noticed, people are very busy and a little bit more impatient in New York, than we would see it in the south. But somehow, they figured it out. Not once have I seen a fender bender.
Arriving at the memorial, we said “Good-bye” to our Uber driver and parted ways. When we walked up to the fountain, which was once the place of the North Tower, a lot of people gathered around to show respect to the victims of 9/11. People talked quietly to each other. It was pleasant. Kevin picked up Sara, so she could see the fountain better. He explained to our girls what happened on that day in September 2001. Both girls listened very carefully to their Daddy. They had some questions, too. I was very proud of them at this moment. Because they were respectful, didn’t act out and kept their voices low. I was so impressed, I forgot to capture this moment in a photo. 😦 Then it was my turn. I laid my hands on some of the names stamped out of this beautiful metal plates. And I began to feel the pain. The pain wasn’t physically, but more mentally. Tears ran down my cheeks. It hurt so bad, but something told me to look up. And I gazed at the new tower. The mood began to change. I felt pride. This day took the wind out of us. But it couldn’t bring us down. One World Trade Center stands as a symbol for us Americans growing stronger and closer together. It reminded me, we should be kind to one another on a daily basis. It doesn’t really matter, if we have different opinions, believes, orientations, complexions etc. We should treat each other well.
Kevin found a hot dog stand behind the subway station. I found a bench, where the girls could sit together and enjoy their hot dogs. Next to them, two men had a conversation in German. I waved at them and asked them, where they came from in Germany. The older man seemed a little grumpy and answered: “Berlin!” I nodded and replied: “I’m from Würzburg.” The men looked slightly confused, and Kevin added: “We are also from Texas.” I guess, my accent mostly had confused them a little bit. Over the years, I gained a new accent in the US. Lots of Germans get a little bit irritated by it. They usually expect me to talk in my Franconian accent. But there is always some American slang mixed with it. I don’t hear it. But I think, it’s cute when people started pointing it out. 😉
Clouds began to roll into the city. The sky became darker. A thunderstorm was in the forecast. Kevin, the girls and I looked for shelter. The World Trade Center PATH-Station seemed to be the perfect place. A lot of people had the same idea, and therefore it became crowded very quickly. While we were waiting out the storm, we checked out the PATH-Station a little bit. Kevin and I looked for some places to check out along the Hudson River, once the storm would pass by. Katelynn and Sara were glad, they were in a try spot.
… to be continued …