Our final part of rediscovering NYC was a trip to the World Trade Center – the new building as well as the footprints of the old buildings destroyed on 9/11. We decided to save this for before the wedding on Saturday morning since it was so conveniently located near our hotel in FiDi.
Prior to heading to the World Trade Center, we decided to grab breakfast out and forego our free breakfast at the hotel. Since we typically were not early risers, it was always slim pickings later in the breakfast buffets. We had a place in mind for brunch called the Stone Street Tavern, which was about 2 blocks away on the same street we were staying on. We found it in a quaint little alley that had been made in to a beer garden for the World Cup, which we forgot was on that morning.
We had looked at the menu the night before and it looked really good, but when we arrived and were seated, we were presented with an entirely new menu. The waitress said they had just changed the menu a few days ago. We unfortunately liked nothing on it, so we decided to check out a different place in the same alley. Turns out, we ran in to a similar situation at the next place – the menu outside looked great, but when we went in, they were offering a limited gameday menu which had nothing we liked on it. Brendan had also just found out that Mishka, our cat who stayed back home in Denver, got out of her gated area and pooped on our carpet, so he was not in good spirits. Starting to feel frustrated, we took one more chance on a final place, and were welcomed in by a friendly Irish bartender at a pub called Ulysses. It was empty, but had a great set up for the game and a menu we liked. I ordered a breakfast sandwich and Brendan ordered the breakfast tacos, and we were finally happy. We had no idea that the World Cup would have impacted our morning so much, but it was fun to watch with some fans regardless.
After brunch we carried on by foot to the World Trade Center area, arriving around noon. We started our walking around the footprints of the two fallen towers, and regarding the inverted fountains erected in their places.
It was truly a tasteful and reflective way to honor the victims. Very well done, NYC.
Next up was the new World Trade Center. We decided to spend the extra money to go all the way to the top and get a panoramic view. It was worth it. We were able to bypass the lines completely to buy tickets when we discovered you can purchase them online, and were able to snag two 1245PM tickets. For the brief time spent outside, here was a shot of the new World Trade Center itself.
We immediately went in and were immersed in an experience that began millions of years ago in the New York bedrock, and took us to modern day as we climbed on to the elevator and were whisked to the top. It was fascinating to see the transformation from a quaint colonial settlement to the mega city of modern day.
Once on the top of the World Trade Center, there was a quick video presentation showing modern New York City and modern New Yorkers, and then a reveal of the city skyline below as the panels were lifted. We were then ushered in to a platform where a small 1 minute marketing pitch to get us to purchase interactive iPads occurred. Then, we were on our own to explore the top of the tower. We loved seeing NYC from every dimension, and spotted landmarks we knew like the Brooklyn Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. It was a great continuance of rediscovering NYC for both of us, and something neither of us had done before.
We even stopped by the gift shop at the very end and bought a “One World” hand-made in Polish Christmas ornament to commemorate our visit. This kept our ornament tradition going while traveling. The fact that many of the items made in the new World Trade Center really were not made in the USA was certainly not lost on us.
Around 145PM we departed back for the bottom, and spent the next 15 minutes navigating our way through the bottom of the World Trade Center and the attached mall, until finally we made our way out to the street. We made a quick visit to the Wall Street bull since we were so close, and since I had never seen it before. It was too crowded to get a close look at this point on the Saturday.
Our final stop of the day was the New York Stock Exchange, where we were able to get an unobstructed view from the front.
That concluded the highlights from our Manhattan adventure, as next up was getting ready for and attending Kassa’s wedding in Brooklyn, which I have already captured here.
All in all our time rediscovering NYC was fun and light, and was a perfect 3 days in the Big Apple. We would head out Sunday mid-day from Grand Central Station on the Amtrak Empire line to Albany, where we would start our upstate lake country adventure for the 4th of July week. Stay tuned.