Sunday, August 16, 2015

NYC: Lower Manhattan

New York City. 

We took a three-day whirlwind tour of some of the city's most popular destinations. Controlling two parkour-minded boys, steering one stroller-bound toddler, and hand-holding one chattery little girl was an adventure. But a fun one, and one that was well worth it. Besides, my parents joined us so we had a great adult to child ratio!

Manhattan greeted us as we exited the Holland Tunnel and Grady successfully navigated us to our hotel just off Wall Street. After unloading and getting our bearings, we immediately set off toward the Brooklyn Bridge. First stop, though, was lunch from a street vendor. And, yes, we were absolutely duped on the prices. Hindsight is 20/20.
The sky was clear, which gave us great views, but the temperature was hot, which made us wish for a cloud or two.
Despite the hustle and bustle of noise and movement all around, Jax grabbed an hour nap and it was just what he needed to make it through a full day ahead.
After enjoying views of the skyline and of Lady Liberty, we headed toward Wall Street to observe the Exchange, get a grasp on how 9/11 security has totally changed things, and to, of course, get a picture by the bull.
We made a quick stop in a drugstore to recharge with some cold Gatorade and some throat lozenges for Grady Lee. (Unfortunately, as the day progressed he became sluggish and complained of a sore throat and headache. By bed that night he had a low-grade fever and was achy all over. BUT, thank you Jesus, when he awoke the next day he was ready to roll and feeling back to himself!)
From Wall Street, we walked to Battery Park to take in views of the Statue of Liberty and relax on benches while people watching. After being on our feet for several hours, resting in the park was what everyone needed. And, when I returned from taking Annalyse to the bathroom, I discovered that Micah had been asked to join a street performance.
That evening we wandered the 9/11 Memorial Park before going up to the One World Observatory. The park is a calm escape in and a sober reminder of what happened. Some people smiling for group pictures. Some people laying flowers on the name of a lost loved one. Some people just quiet and thinking. 
One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. While in the midst of the city, it doesn't seem that much taller than other surrounding buildings. But, when you step away and observe it from a distance, it really does tower far above all the others.
The observatory includes three different floors all with different perspectives and information. Like everything in NYC, the observatory was crowded to we weren't able to simply sit in front of a window and take in views for extended periods of time.
But, the sky was clear, the sun was setting, and we did get a great perspective of just how big NYC, Brooklyn, Queens, and Jersey City really are. The skyline just goes and goes.
My parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary earlier this summer. Forty years! I'm so thankful for their love and faithfulness to each other, and their joy and sacrifice to our family. This was their first time to the city and it was special to enjoy the sights with them.
Around 8:30 we opted to call it a night, even though we were in the city that never sleeps. After a full day of walking in the sun, we were all ready for showers and a bed. And, we knew that tomorrow morning we'd hit the ground running as we ventured up to Midtown for another full day adventure...!

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