I think this was Samuel’s favorite part of the trip. We headed out and caught the Greyhound to NYC early that morning. We got to see the sun rise over the Delaware River as we drove across it.
We arrived at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and caught the subway over to the 9/11 World Trade Center park.
Samuel loved the subway but I got a little claustrophobic and was a bit paranoid that everyone was so close together.
Standing at the side of both the North and South towers and looking at the craters where they once stood made chills run up and down my spine. All around the crater are the names of those where were lost when the towers fell. I was only 6 years old when the towers fell but I remember watching it happen and seeing my mom cry. So to be standing at those spots where the course of American, even world history, was changed was absolutely incredible. Everyone around the tower craters were extremely aware of where they stood and the atmosphere was filled with reverent awe.
After leaving the 9/11 park, we walked over to the Staten Island Ferry area and caught a Statue of Liberty tour. It was such a beautiful day for it! We got on the boat and the tour started out under the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges.
As we sailed, we could see the outlines of Manhattan on our right and Brooklyn on our left. We also could see the One World Trade Center from the boat.
We could also see Ellis Island and Governors Island. As we got closer to the Statue of Liberty, I got more excited. We were about to see one of the most iconic American symbols ever. I was so surprised at how huge it was! I had no idea it was so tall. It definitely looks smaller in the photos than it did in real life. 🙂
The picture is grainy because of the dirty windows on the boat, but Ellis Island was so neat to see. I can’t even imagine how it must’ve felt as an immigrant to come through those gates. The fear and longing to start a new life… they were so courageous! The backbone of America is built by hardworking immigrants who give up everything they have to start a new life by chasing the American Dream. I have such respect for them.
On the way back from circling the Statue of Liberty, we had a clear view of the New Jersey and New York shoreline. Coming from where I live in Texas, we have to drive 3 hours to get to Oklahoma, 4 hours to Louisiana and Arkansas, about 7-8 hours to New Mexico, and depending on if you’re going to south Texas, you could be looking at about a 4-8 hour drive! So the fact that you could see New Jersey from the shore of New York, it blows my mind!
The next NYC stop we made was to the Empire State Building. By this time of the trip, we all realized we didn’t have much money left over so we just enjoyed going inside to the ground floor of the Empire State Building. It was beautiful and decorated for Christmas!
After the Empire State Building, we hit up the subway again and hightailed it to Times Square. This is the one stop Samuel absolutely wanted to see. We got there right at dusk so it was awesome to see the lights be just as bright as the daylight!
My favorite thing in Times Square was the M&M and Disney stores. The M&M store was three stories tall and just wall to wall M&M candies and all sorts of paraphilia. I was absolutely in heaven since M&Ms are my favorite candy. The Disney store was equally amazing. On the walls going up the escalator it is painted in a tangled theme but with other Disney characters’ silhouettes woven into the theme as well. It was super cool! The were a large castle on the second floor that was filled floor to ceiling with little girl princess dresses and costume jewelry.
After that, we headed to grab some NYC pizza. We ate at Sbarro and while it wasn’t a mom and pop type shop, it was still good. 🙂
With dinner out of the way, we headed back onto the Square and just sat and looked around. There is always something going on. People are everywhere!
Since we had some time to kill before our bus left, we decided to catch the subway up to Grand Central Station. The brothers and I had seen it in countless movies so we thought it’d be cool to see it in person.
It. Was. Awesome. We walked into the terminal and it was just like the movies. It was so busy. Now I have personal experience with the saying “its like Grand Central Station in here”! The ceiling was spectacular (see picture of the green starlike painting)! Even though we went late at night, it was slammed with people going to and from. It was so cool to be able to hang out in a place so iconic.
Since that was our last stop, we headed back to Port Authority Bus Terminal and hung out until our bus left. Our feet were killing us, so when we got back to our apartment in Philadelphia, we decided to not go back to NYC the next day (which was a good thing because it poured down rain the next day).
The next day my brothers and I decided that we didn’t like NYC as much as we loved Philadelphia. We didn’t like it for several reasons: 1) we were absolutely spoiled by how easy Philadelphia was to navigate whereas NYC was a nightmare, 2) the hustlers were awful, and 3) it had an unfriendly, big city feel whereas Philly is a big city with a small town, friendly atmosphere.
Here are a few extra NY pictures that I just couldn’t help but include:
Our last day in Philly was spent sleeping in, watching movies, and just hanging out with one another. We flew home the next day and while we loved being in Philadelphia, we were so glad to be back on Texas soil. 🙂