Day 2 – Hudson Cruise and lower Manhattan

Day 2 – Hudson Cruise and lower Manhattan

We started our morning a bit later than normal because we were all up so late for SNL and we had less than 5 hours of sleep two nights in a row prior. It was pretty nice to sleep until 8:30. ha

Right outside the front doors of the hotel is Angelina’s Bakery. They had some great looking pastries.

I got the cheese danish above and the ham and cheese focaccia below that I split. Kegan got the spinach and egg focaccia.

We got some coffee and headed out towards “the river”. I say it with quotes because apparently, when you are on an island surrounded by rivers, you need to specify to your spouse WHICH river we’re walking toward. ha We were walking about 20-30 minutes when all of a sudden we passed Grand Central….and I KNOW where that is on a map…and it is nowhere NEAR where we should have been. haha Turns out, Kegan was walking us towards the East River… I was planning on us heading West towards the Hudson River. ha. So… we got an Uber right over to where we needed to be and all was well.

We booked the Circle Line Landmarks cruise and we could not have picked a better date and time for it because the minute we boarded, it rained until right about the time we got back.

We were 40 minutes early because its one of those places that writes “be here 30 minutes prior to departure” and departure was at 11:30, so we arrived at 11. It said they boarded the boat at 11:30… but when we arrived they said 11:45. and actually didn’t start until 11:55… and didn’t leave until 12:30. Annoying. I’m a punctual individual! If you say 11, I’m there at 11. Then I’m grumbly and annoyed that you lied to me. ha

Anyway, because we were over to the pier early, we checked out the USS Intrepid which houses the Intrepid Air and Space Museum which included planes and even a space shuttle on display in a military aviation museum.

We walked by the convention center of New York city- the Javits Center- where they are currently holding the ComicCon convention. A couple people I follow on Instagram were in there including Adam Savage formerly of Mythbusters fame. It truly is crazy all of the things going on in New York at one time. 8.8 million people live here and about 14 million people visit every year.

My pictures are absolutely terrible because of the rain, but posting a couple anyway.

Ellis Island from the water. Opened in 1892 and operated until 1954. It was the immigration station of the US. They say 40% of the US population can trace at least one ancestor to immigration at Ellis Island
This is why we booked this trip. Norah asked to see the Statue of Liberty. Done. Although rainy and from a boat, we made it happen. She still wants to go out to it up close and go up inside.. so maybe I didn’t fulfill my obligation by thinking cruising right by it would be sufficient. haha I told her we’d see if we could work it in. Maybe Friday morning.
Brooklyn bridge from the water. More on this amazing feat of engineering on Saturday when we head to Brooklyn via the bridge.
The Manhattan bridge
It was so rainy and foggy you cant even make out the top of the One World Trade building, which is where we were heading next when we got off the boat.
The Staten Island ferry docking in lower Manhattan. There are no Subway trains that run to Staten Island. Only the ferry connection which takes 30 minutes, or connecting from Brooklyn or New Jersey via car or bus.
Someone fell asleep by the end of the cruise from staying up too late watching SNL.

After the cruise docked again, we caught another Uber down to the World Trade Center tower to see the 9/11 Memorial and museum on the previous site of the twin towers.

Norah couldn’t hack it anymore so we grabbed her a hot dog

One of the first sites that stood out to me was The Oculus. It’s the new World Trade Center Transportation Hub opened in 2016. It connects PATH trains from Jersey and subway trains and is the 5th busiest station in New York.

There is a mural project right next door. Multiple giant spray painted art pieces… they were very vibrant.

After a little ticket issue where our digital tickets were showing invalid even though they showed today’s date and appropriate time for entry… we headed inside the 9/11 Museum.

I would hope/think that everyone is familiar with 9/11 and the events and there is no need for a long historical post about it. There are many great documentaries documenting the terror, the heroism, the individuals who ran into the building when others were running out. I recommend you watch a couple to really reflect on how our world changed that day… and really learn the facts of everything that transpired. It’s still gut-wrenching 20 years later. We watched a very moving documentary The Falling Man a few years ago, a documentary trying to identify the man from the famous New York Times front page photo showing a man falling to his death after being forced out of the North tower, likely by fire and smoke.

It’s estimated that over 100 people fell from the towers before they collapsed Some say closer to 200. It was these initial falling deaths after the planes hit that had a catholic priest named Mychal Judge from St. Paul’s Chapel- the closest church to group zero – running over to the site to pray last rights over these bodies. He himself was killed by the debris as the south tower collapsed. His body was carried out of the North lobby shortly before the north tower fell, creating one of the most iconic images of the day

If you haven’t heard of Mychal Judge, you really should read up on him. A man who dedicated his life quite literally to the priesthood. He was a pillar of marginalized communities throughout his life, supporting and loving those traditionally neglected and shunned from the Catholic church. He was at the bedsides of countless AIDS patients as they died alone in the early years of the epidemic. He has been nominated for sainthood since his death, but it wont happen because of his stance and work within the gay communities and the information that came out after his death that he himself was gay, though celibate as required by his priesthood. He seemed like a man that walked the walk and lived his values… and I think it’s important to remember and learn about genuine people doing great deeds in their lifetimes.

We entered the museum from the ground level with most of the exhibits being underground.

The first overlook was down to the slurry walls which were poured as sort of water levies to keep flood waters from infiltrating the ground underneath the towers. The walls held even in the collapse of the towers. Also- “the last column”- the last piece of steel to be removed from the site during cleanup was relocated here to the museum.

A section of the steel beams from the North tower where the plane hit.
Behind this wall and art installation lie the reposed remains that could not be identified or havent been claimed…and are managed by the Coroner’s office for future identification.
They had a gallery dedicated to the K9s that helped in the aftermath of 9/11

Most of the museum was in galleries and did not allow photographs. Anything with images of people, items that belonged to people, etc- there was no photography…so most of the museum. There is an online catlog of over 60,000 items that have been collected that are related to 9/11 history.

https://collection.911memorial.org/

Outside, the museum sits between a North and South reflecting pool. The original site of each tower.

There is one tree around the reflecting pools with a cage around it. Its called the Survival Tree, as it is the only tree from prior to 9/11 in the area. It’s a Callery Pear tree and was discovered badly damaged with snapped roots and burned branches, but it was rehabilitated by the Parks Department and replanted here in 2010.
The Sphere- a bronze sculpture that lived between the two towers prior to 9/11. It was discovered in the rubble and placed back at this site in 2017 after being in Battery Park from 2002- to 2017.
The FDNY Memorial Wall, on the side of the local firehouse.
By this time, the fog had finally lifted enough to make out the whole building.
A block north in the sidewalk, is the Barthman Sidewalk Clock. Barthman’s Jewelers was on this corner starting is 1884 and in 1896, the jeweler came up with the idea to lure customers inside. The clock was installed in 1899 and ran until the 1970s when the owner died and no one could figure out how to fix it when it broke! After that, it was refurbished with Cartier, and is still working. However, for some reason today, it was so fogged up you cant see anything! I was a bit disappointed.
St Paul’s Chapel- also known as the “little chapel that stood” because it survived the Great Fire of 1776 set by the fleeing Americans as they were initially losing New York to the British and then again for withstanding the tower collapse just a couple blocks away. The doors were closed, so we assumed it wasn’t open for tourists… but inside George Washington has a pew where he sat when he attended church services here and there is a very old oil painting of the Great Seal of the United States inside, the first painting in 1785.

Now it was time for a bit to eat for us. Joe’s Pizza is your quintessential New York slice. Great crust, quality toppings, guys yelling at you to order faster… all of it. ha The owner Joe is in his late 70s but he still manages the product and the operations- and says that the recipe hasn’t changed in over 40 years.

Continuing our walk of the financial district, we passed the Federal Reserve Bank of New York building.

Just down from there was 57 Maiden Lane. It doesn’t exist anymore. Like most everything in New York, the history has been replaced with newer and “better”. They even bulldozed George Washington’s mansion on the waterfront to make way for ferries and coast guard! Like seriously?? Who was steering this ship for 100 years or so…. they were demolishing everything with zero regard for history or preservation.

Anyway, 57 Maiden Lane was the residence of Thomas Jefferson.. and historically significant for being “the room where it happened” (if you’ve ever seen Hamilton the musical) – the great 1790 Compromise, where Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson entered a dinner meeting as bitter sworn enemies and somehow came out of the meeting deciding to approve Hamilton’s plan to create a national bank and assume state debts…and in return, Hamilton would support moving the United States Capital to Washington, DC. We always think of DC as our nation’s capital… but you may not know that from 1785-1790, New York City was the center of government and our nation’s capital…which really does make more sense… but those darn Southerners. We had to give them some sort of win..and I think Hamilton knew when compromising on the move that it wouldn’t matter where your put the politicians and lawmakers, all the banking, money, commerce and trade would stay in Manhattan, even more free to grow and operate without the constraint of politics intermingled. Smart man, indeed.

Our next stop was in front of Federal Hall. The United State’s first official courthouse. Hamilton as a lawyer argued cases here, including the famous 1804 Manhattan Murder Trail. Its the site of the 1st congress, the 1st supreme court and the original 1st office of the Executive Branch of the United States (you know, before we figured out you probably shouldn’t put all 3 branches of government in the same stone building when they run the entire country). George Washington was also inaugurated here.

This statue stands on the exact spot where he took his oath of office on April 30, 1789. George Washington really doesn’t get enough credit for shaping the presidential landscape. He was so popular in his time that when he stepped down from running for another term, the nation was shocked and horrified. They had only ever lived under kings previously- they had no real concept of a democratically elected president with a set term of power….and for Washington to see the need to transition while he was still alive and to let go of the incredible amount of power he had for 20 years…first as general and then as president….well, I don’t think you’d find that from today’s politicians.

The New York Stock Exchange building was around the corner on Wall Street. Wall Street was actually originally named after a true wall in the colony by the Dutch where residents would meet to trade. This trade and commerce continued and Wall Street and lower Manhattan continued to be the center of transactions and trade. Up until the 2000s, the trading floor was an absolute mad house of securities representatives screaming prices and stock symbols, following ticker tapes and just generally seeming like a work environment that would make me hate my life… These days, most markets trade completely electronically and the NYSE here has been closed to the public since September 11th. The NYSE still invites special guests to ring the opening bell and there is still some trading on the floor (I think anyway- in the Covid pandemic at least for a while, they went to all electronic trading-I’ll have to talk to my father on that one, he’s a CNBC daily watcher)

The Fearless Girl statue has been moved to outside the NYSE and I thought it was appropriate to get our fearless girl alongside.
Trinity Church, where Alexander Hamilton is buried.
The famous Charging Bull statue that has come to symbolize Wall Street. The origins of this landmark are fascinating. The artist actually created this elsewhere and with no commission or payment… he wanted to gift it to the city of New York. So, under the cover of darkness, he watched the police patrols in the area and figured out that the police cars came by this spot every 5 minutes, so he and a crew devised a plan to truck in this massive structure and set it and leave within 4.5 minutes! ha It was the talk of the city the next morning. It was even removed from the site , but eventually returned after public outcry.

We walked on toward Battery Park on the very tip of lower Manhattan, walking by the Alexander Hamilton US Customs House. It was built in the early 1900s in a Beaux-Arts style- looking much older. It was the processing point of port taxes, which prior to implementing corporate and income taxes- was the government’s primary source of income. (Let’s go back to that, please! ha) It currently holds the Museum of the American Indian but we didn’t have time to visit as they were closed.

Castle Clifford was a battery fort at the lower point of Manhattan constructed to be ready for another British invasion and attack after the War of Independence. But it never fired a shot. You cant really see anything of it because of all the construction around it.
A sculpture dedicated to all immigrants to America. I think it’s easy to forget that we are all immigrants to this country…and that we have always been a beacon of fairness and opportunity to millions of people around the world. People would leave everything they ever built or owned to have a chance at safety and opportunity to support themselves and their families and to give their children a better and easier life that the one they lived.
Looking out over Battery Park out across the water, you can barely see Lady Liberty standing tall at the entrance to the harbor.
There is a Seaglass Carousel in the park that was super neat. Of course, Norah needed to ride it.
I love seeing these lower older 4-5 story stone buildings. Most of New York looked like this prior to the 1950s when public works projects started throughout Manhattan trying to clear slums and build more housing in smaller areas. Neighborhoods were demolished for interstate highways, blocks were cleared for office buildings and skyscrapers. Whole areas were appropriated via imminent domain by the government and then given to developers with no strings attached. So instead of providing better more affordable housing options for the lower income people in the areas they demolished and cleared, they put up high rise luxury housing, pricing out the people that called the area home. This isn’t exclusive to New York.. we do this everywhere…and that’s just capitalism and real estate unfortunately… but its very obvious here… and there are certain areas with these older buildings that survive that feel much more neighborly and residential, even though I’m sure every apartment in each building is 800k or above.

Our next building of interest was the Fraunces Tavern- an original building from the 1760s that was an early meeting place for Rebel patriots to meet and gain support for their revolution. George Washington bid farewell to his troops here after the revolution. Aaron Burr and Hamilton were said to be drinking here the night before their famous duel. The building was purchased by the Sons of the Revolution and restored to a tavern with a period appropriate dining room like the one Washington would have been sitting in.

This manhole cover REALLY bothered Norah. Like, stopped in the middle of the road and yelled “WHY???” Haha
Restaurants down Stone street accommodating outdoor dining.

From here we hopped an Uber up to Chinatown because there isn’t really a good subway station in that area. I was sort of surprised to find that there is sort of a big circle of area that doesn’t have a station. But it was a quick ride by car. We got a better view of the Brooklyn bridge now that the fog lifted and it stopped raining.

Chinatown was my favorite area of New York so far… cozy, small streets, low buildings, so much going on, family run restaurants, decorations strung across the street, very busy. Right up my alley.

I had planned to eat at this Now Wah Tea Parlor that had a line down the block. I wondered if we would get in because their online reservations showed booked through Oct 19th…but we gave it a shot. They supposedly have been in business since the 1930s and have great dim sum and dumplings. Guess we’ll never know 🙂

Instead we decided on Boka Korean Fried Chicken and it was a good decision. We got some soy garlic wings and an order of LA Galbi- California style Korean BBQ short rib dinner. Norah got French fries. Ha

After eating there, we went to eat elsewhere. Ha a stop at the Original Chinatown Ice Cream Factory which had tons of awesome flavors

Norah got Cookies and Cream and Strawberry
Kegan got Vietnamese Coffee and Pistachio in a waffle cone
I got Vietnamese coffee and Black Sesame. It was such a great combination! All of the flavors were very good.

We walked all along Canal Street eating our ice cream passing vendors, restaurants, Little Italy headed towards Tribeca (shortened as the “triangle below Canal Street”)

The photo above of Little Italy was taken with Kegan’s iPhone 12 Mini because I was eating ice cream. The photo below was taken with my iPhone 13 Pro Max. Incredible camera difference! I debated between bringing my Fuji camera and lens and eventually decided I didn’t want to drag a camera around… so glad I didn’t. This iPhone legit takes as good of photos as the camera I spent a lot of bucks on a couple years ago. Go Apple.

We were meandering through Tribeca in search of the Ghostbusters Fire house. This is the real working fire station that was used for the exterior scenes in Ghostbusters . It seems the firemen here have embraced the nostalgia.

Kegan required me to take a photo of this tiny police car. Modern problems require modern solutions. Ha

We entered the subway at the Franklin St station and had it all to ourselves.

My hair was angry from the rain and wind all day ha it was straight when I left! Ha

We crashed on the beds at around 8:30pm and watched a bit of TV before falling asleep. Norah was put to bed at a much more realistic bedtime tonight 🙂

Tomorrow is another full day of events and exploring before the week slows down for the rest of the trip.

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