New York, New York

Who doesn’t love New York? The history, the magic? In so many ways it’s indestructible (I mean Hollywood blows it up weekly). In so many others it wears it’s heart on it’s chest (9/11).

We just got here, and already we’re feeling the pulse… I mean our driver just magically squeezed himself between a postal van and a zig zag of parked cars like it’s an art.

Crossing the Queensboro Bridge I catch a glimpse of the Chrysler Building and I know I have arrived!

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As luck would have it we were the first drop off. The Hilton Garden will be home for the next 4 nights.

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Hungry at this point?! Yes we were! We found a little place called Oxford off of Lexington and 52nd. The pizza was soooo good. But then… It’s New York! And of course we couldn’t pass up the cheesecake.
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We didn’t waste any time and headed straight to go see “The Lady” that is… The Statue of Liberty! She literally takes my breath away. I’m so happy she’s open again to visitors (if you didn’t know, she was closed for years after 9/11)!!

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And of course the view from Lady Liberty is pretty incredible!

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I took my first tour of Ellis Island. It’s just so incredible. Not just the location, but the process people used to go through to become a United States Citizen. It’s a right we take for granted.We live in the best country in the world and sometimes we forget.

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As if that wasn’t enough we took a hike over to the Brooklyn Bridge. We didn’t make it all the way across. We decided to save that for the next day.

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From there we decided to head to Time Square. On the way we did dinner up fancy at “White Castle”! We were true New Yorkers!

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Time square is sheer fun! Bright, colorful, and full of energy! And so many people!

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And that was only day 1! We walked over 12+. I’m getting tired just writing about it. 🙂

On Friday we were up early again (well 8:30 is early for me)! We started our day at Oxford Café again. This time for breakfast! I had a very delicious bagel with eggs, bacon, cheese and a side of their hash browns. Gotta get the energy to keep up with my friends.

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After that we jumped on the Metro and headed back over to the Brooklyn Bridge. This time we made it all the way across… and back. Maria’s item on her bucket list complete! Check out some of the views below.
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Next is was off to Ground Zero, formally the home of the Twin Towers. I went in 2003 when it still looked like a sink hole in the middle of the city, and again 2 years ago in 2012 when the fountains had been completed. But this time I was going to be able to see the museum. I’m writing this 13 years after that fateful day, and it still takes my breath away. New York you did a fantastic job on making that location special.

As you approach you see the new Freedom Tower and the skeleton of what will soon become the new subway station entrance. As you get closer it looks like a park with all the rows and rows of trees. But once in the center all you can see is the deep, deep pools with the hundreds and hundreds of names of those we lost on that terrible day 13 years ago. A white rose in the stone caught my eye and made me tear up a little.

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We made the line to see the museum (in case your wondering, it is $24.00 per adult). From the outside you can see the reflection of the Freedom Tower. When you first walk in your eyes are immediately drown to the two enormous Center Tridents by the window. They are huge as you can see.

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The tour itself is about an hour and a half. It takes you through so many emotions. First there’s pride. You are so proud of what this city is capable of. Then there’s shock. There were videos and pictures I’d never seen. One that I must’ve watches at least 6 or 7 times was a video taken from the ground of the second plane hitting. I’d never seen it from that angle. The sheer size of that plane and how it was completely immersed into the building after it entered was enough to shake me to the core. Here is the link http://youtu.be/AQtSa-TZ6x8.

Next came the sorrow. At this point pictures are not allowed. And that’s ok. I don’t think I could’ve seen through the tears. So many reminders of the people lost. So many pictures and artifacts. There’s this wall and it’s beautiful. On it there is a quote “NO DAY SHALL ERASE YOU FROM THE MEMORY OF TIME” by Virgil. The letters were made from melted scrap metal from the towers. The words are surrounded by beautiful shades of blue that are said to show all the colors of the sky the day of 9/11 and behind those wall… are the remains of many who perished at the World Trade Center site that day.

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And last but certainly not least is the anger. There’s so much anger it ways on you like a fire truck. It makes it hard to breath. It is what will keep this American from ever forgetting what took place on that day. But you know what?! It made us stronger. It made us united. It reminded us that Freedom is not Free and there are those fighting for our rights every day. We must never forget.

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We stopped or lunch and of course there was more pizza and cheesecake. Comfort food.

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And we headed to another all American tradition… Yankee Baseball! I’m proud to say I’ve seen the Yankees play in both stadiums and I’ll also be able to say I got to see Derek Jeeter in person in his last year! So neat. The only hiccup in the night was my attempt at get a Knish and a cup of beer. I walk half the stadium until I found out they are made by Hebrew National and therefor not open on Fridays. Bummer! I headed back to my seat with a pit stop for the beer only to be asked for ID and told that since I didn’t have it in hand he could not sell it to me. I settled for a Pepsi and ice cream. At least I got a souvenir cup out of the deal.

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Finally it was the Official Sanabria Family Reunion. 150 Puerto Ricans and 1 Cuban in the room. Feels like the start to a great joke! But really they were awesome, and made me feel just like family! I was there to take their family pictures. There was so many neat moments. You can see from the group photo below they are quite the group. And that’s note even close to all of them. 20 brothers and 69 first cousins. Can you say Wow?

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Ever heard of “The Burger Joint”? Well neither had I until my friend Paula told me it was  a must. It’s inside the Parker Meridien Hotel. And its the size of a large Bathroom. It was a 30 minute line from were we stood that extended to over 1 1/2 hour wait behind us. We must’ve got there just in time. The burgers choices were limited but the flavor was anything but. Soooo good. And the fries almost tasted like McDonalds. I give it 5 Stars!

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Saturday night we went to a club to listen to Daniel Sanabria play some tunes! He was very good. Check out his CD below. The groups name is called “The Day We Met”!

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Sunday morning has to be one of my favorites. We did the Circle Line Cruise. If you’re a fan a bridges… And I AM, you’ll love this cruise. I’ll try not to overwhelm you with too many bridge pictures.

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We had to say some quick goodbyes and get back to the hotel after this. We had a late checkout and needed to also get to The Bronx. Maria had a box of Knishes waiting for and a lunch date with some friends. We headed out to Johnny’s Reef for lunch and it was phenomenal! I can’t say say enough good things about That place. And from there Orchard Beach before heading to the airport. Lots of great stuff!!

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Thanks a lot for reading this post. Hope you find something you’d like to do in NY. And if you’ve been to NY try something the tourist would do…

Till next time NY!

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