Back on the mainland Dad went off to get his passport and we agreed to meet 40 minutes later by the WTC site. I had a little sit down and a look at the internet thanks to the free wifi and then slowly strolled over to the meeting point. I stood for some time watching the wall street protesters and listening to the constructions workers on the new WTC moaning about them but Dad didn’t turn up. In the end I had to go into the 9/11 memorial on my own and I was sat in there thinking how the hell was I going to find him again when he suddenly appeared. I was starting to panic rather a lot, especially as he wasn’t answering the mobile we’ve got over here.
The memorial is rather moving and seeing the expanse of the towers and the amount of names there is rather sobering. I am actually glad the museum wasn’t open yet as I think that needs to have more time dedicated to it than we would have been able to give today. So to round it off we went and had a curry. It was really nice, possibly the nicest curry I’ve had in a long time. I went and used their loos afterwards and it made me chuckle to see a plunger next to the loo!
After lunch we wandered further through the financial district and got back on the downtown loop tour and got it to take us to the Lower East Side
. Blimey that place has changed since 2004 when I last went there. It’s gentrified massively and is also blending into Chinatown! We went to get tickets for the tenement museum but the tickets available were in an hour and a half, so we wandered down to Little Italy for coffee and cake (or for me limoncello and cake) at Ferrera’s. That place hasn’t changed with the waiters hassling you to eat in their establishments. Afterwards we wandered back and I couldn’t believe how many Chinese people there were. In fact we were the only non-chinese to be seen for miles it seemed. Chinatown has definitely expanded over the years. So anyway, we got onto the tour for the tenement museum and it turns out it was exactly the same tour and the same tour guide from 7 years ago. They have definitely found out more about the people within the building since 2004 and it was a really good tour. Me and Dad kept asking questions and all the other people seemed to be mute, but possibly they couldn’t get a word in edgeways. Both of us loved the tour and if you are interested in social history I would definitely recommend it. So it looks like Friday was the day to find out about immigration to New York.
After the tour we got back on the tour buses and got taken back up to the Plaza Hotel. From there we walked from 61st
Street to 34th
. It’s a long way, but I wanted to show Dad 5th
Avenue as there are a lot of very nice and unusual buildings on that street (and Trump Tower). It was a long way and when we got back to the hotel we had been walking for 11 hours (eek, my poor feet). We stopped at the Empire State Building and I got very pissy about the priority tickets I had bought as I had to push past people and climb over things to use them. I complained to everyone I saw but actually it did save us loads of time as there were still queues at 8pm at night. When we finished we went to Wendy’s again (Burger number 2) and I kept spilling my enormous drink down myself. I hobbled back to the hotel willing the lights to change at the right time so I didn’t have to stop walking as I may have had to lay on the pavement for the night. I hobbled into the bedroom and had real trouble putting my pjs on as I couldn’t lift my legs. I got into bed and passed out.
I now need to write up the third day in new York which is probably easier said than done as it is now 11.30 on the Sunday night and I'm not sure what I did on Friday. This is when the itinerary comes in mightily useful. The plan was to spend the day downtown and we were off out of the hotel by 7am again and had breakfast in the same diner as their food was so good. We hopped on the subway and went all the way to the city hall/Brooklyn bridge stop and from there we navigated the streets of lower Manhattan, seeing the south street seaport, the narrow alleys of the original layout and some old style buildings. We got to the Ellis island ferry for 8.45 for our 9am booking, but we still had to queue so we didn’t actually get into Ellis Island until 10.10am. Whilst we were queuing I discovered we required ID for entrance to the 9/11 memorial. I was ok but my Dad didn’t have any so he would have to go back to the hotel to pick up his passport. As a result we needed to get back on the 11am ferry, so it was probably the quickest visit to Ellis Island humanly possible, but we did get to see all of it as we walked very fast