The Big Apple!
Trip Start Sep 12, 2011
30Trip End Nov 21, 2011
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On Monday we had a 10 hour guided tour that left from our campground--back to Times Square, Madison Avenue, Wall Street and the Stock Exchange, Ground Zero and the new Freedom Tower under construction plus the two chapels (Trinity and St. Paul's) where all the firefighters and rescuers from 9/11 were housed and fed. It was a very sobering experience and I was in tears by the time we got through that area. St. Paul's chapel was where George Washington actually attended church, and we saw the place where he took office. The first capital of our country was in New York, not moving to Washington DC until the third president was in office. This is also the area where there is so much publicity about the protesters and we had to walk right past their "encampment". When we were coming from Maine we actually heard on the radio that they were trying to "hire" protesters and some of them were making about $600.00 per week. I thought about taking up work for a couple of weeks, but didn't want to move from a tiny motorhome in to a tent!! Also saw the original Tiffany's which is located right near the Stock Exchange and was actually started in the early days of our nation along the Hudson River; when traders had tariffs and taxes to pay, they wanted to pay them with jewels because they didn't have currency, hence a "smart" merchant opened a store in which to complete the transactions!! I was amazed to see so much construction all around the city and miles and miles of scaffolding on the buildings. Our next venue as off to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. A full, fast paced day; we saw so many sights, learned a lot and went home exhausted!!
The third day we took the train in, which meant that we landed in "Grand Central Station" and it is indeed, Grand. Our self directed tour on Tuesday included sitting in a second floor cafe on Fifth Avenue watching all the cabs and shoppers, followed by a walk past Saks with a visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral, located directly next to Saks. Construction on St. Patrick's began during the Civil War and it is a breath-takingly beautiful building. We listened to the phenomenal pipe organ for a while and thought about how we would love to attend a service in that church. We visited Rockefeller Center, strolled the shopping district which included a visit to "Victoria Secrets" big store because of a request of my grand daughter. She had texted me a list, and unfortunately for her (probably good for me!) neither the shorts, yoga pants nor the sweatshirt she wanted were available! After a little shopping we walked to Central Park where we enjoyed a ride in a horse drawn carriage and finished our day by going up in the Empire State Building to view the city and all the lights after dark. It was a really beautiful sight from the 86th floor; before entering the observation deck we were given what looked like a remote control with numbers on it; when approaching the corresponding number on the observation deck the remote explained all the sights of the city and gave a history of each area. It was absolutely beautiful from up there, and very informative, but also very, very crowded. After going all around the deck, I am definitely ready to go back to camp!!
All in all, I found the people of NYC to be very gracious, the city was very clean, I saw no "homeless" people and I felt completely safe walking around anywhere. If I ever have the opportunity to visit again, I will feel comfortable and confident enough to go about anywhere in the city.