Monday, June 5, 2017 – Manhattan
One of the main things I wanted to do in NYC was to ascend one of the many tall buildings for a panorama of the city. Since there's a hefty fee for each one, after much research and debate, I'd finally chosen to go to the Top of the Rock. Unfortunately, it was gloomy again today, with zero visibility up high, so that was out. Too bad, too, because it took me 46 years to get to Manhattan the first time, and I don't know if I'll be back.
This morning we caught the sights within walking distance of our hotel, iconic landmarks as seen on TV, including Radio City Music Hall, 30 Rock, Rockefeller Center, St. Patrick's Cathedral, the New York Public Library, and Fifth Avenue. Plus we saw the Empire State Building. Nothing says “New York” more than that!
St. Patrick's Cathedral
St. Patrick's Cathedral interior
Empire State Building
For lunch we got a couple of Nathan's Famous cheeseburgers, fries, and Sprites for $23, just down the street from our hotel. Not everything in Manhattan is super expensive. The gentleman working the counter was very friendly, a nice contrast to the Row NYC staff.
In the afternoon we took the subway to the Financial District and Lower Manhattan, to see One World Trade Center, aka Freedom Tower (1,776 feet, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere), and the September 11 Memorial. The memorial consists of square waterfalls built in the footprints of the destroyed Twin Towers, with the names of each victim from the September 11, 2001, and February 26, 1993, attacks engraved around the periphery. It's a peaceful and moving tribute.
One World Trade Center
September 11 Memorial
Next we walked over to Battery Park and caught the Staten Island Ferry. The 25-minute ride on this commuter ferry is a fun, free way to get great views of the Brooklyn Bridge, Lower Manhattan, and the Statue of Liberty. The weather could have been better, but I'll take what views I can get, and we appreciated the Coast Guard escort.
For Sale: Brooklyn Bridge
U.S. Coast Guard escort for the Staten Island Ferry
Statue of Liberty
Back on Manhattan after the return ferry ride, we walked the East River Esplanade and then over to Wall Street, where we saw another Trump Building, the New York Stock Exchange, Federal Hall, Trinity Church, and more.
The corner of Wall and Broad
New York Stock Exchange, brought to you by cars.com
Trinity Churchyard, final resting place of Alexander Hamilton
Near Wall Street, at the edge of Bowling Green Park, we watched tons of tourists making asses of themselves with the famous “Charging Bull” sculpture. There was literally a line of people waiting to take their turn for a photo op with the bull's giant bronze balls.
Keeping it classy
Across the street from Bowling Green Park, we paid $60 for a $30 bottle of bourbon (hey, they gotta pay the rent), before catching the subway back uptown to Times Square Station, where we saw a group of Hare Krishnas as we exited the system. So that's where they've gone since being kicked out of the airports!
Spreading the Krishna consciousness
We had dinner at New York Beer Co., a block from our hotel. We ordered the same Blue Point Toasted Lager that I'd had last night and a big delicious meat lover's pizza and watched the Nashville Predators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in game 4 of the Stanley Cup. It was a good day.