World Trader Center, 9/11 Memorial & Central Park in New York City, New York, Day 2

I made a spontaneous trip to New York City! I went for a weekend, three days, in July and boy was it an adventure! I’m splitting up this trip into a three part series like I did with San Francisco a few months ago (check out day one of my trip here!). This is the second day of my trip to NYC and check out day one here.

Day two began with a little bit of a late start. I ended up not waking up until 10am since I didn’t get to bed until 1:30am after my disaster at the subway the previous night. I didn’t want to push myself too hard in NYC because I wouldn’t have any time to recuperate before work on Monday, and I woke up with my migraine from Coney Island the previous day.

I took the subway to visit the 9/11 Memorial. I think that I got off at the wrong stop because somehow I ended up at the New York Stock Exchange and New York Treasury. It was only a short walk to the memorial, but on the way I stopped for lunch (which was actually breakfast but oh well). I got a pesto mozzarella panini and some kombucha for about $10 at a little shop nearby.

When I was five years old, the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 killed nearly two thousand people. I remember driving to my grandmother’s house with my mom and she was sobbing as she drove. I asked her why she was crying and she said something like “something terrible has happened baby.” I remember watching the news and my childish brain not fully comprehending what was happening on the TV. I now understand. I have watched countless documentaries on the attacks, as well as about the construction of the new World Trade Center and 9/11 memorial. The last time I was in NYC both of these sites were still under construction. They were well worth the wait.

Oculus in the background

The new World Trade Center is the tallest building in NYC, just like the twin towers were. The new construction, however, has been better built to survive anything from a plane crash to a bomb to whatever else scenario. It is such a beautiful building with such unique construction. When you stand at its base and look up, it looks like it reaches up into the sky endlessly. It dominates the NYC skyline and houses offices for thousands of people. It shows the perseverance of Americans and our ability to grow from devastation.

If the World Trade Center shows American perseverance, then the 9/11 Memorial and Museum displays our value in history and remembering those who are gone. It is a beautiful yet somber place filled with sadness and wreckage. The outdoor reflecting pools are beautiful and allows visitors to reflect upon their lives. The pools have two levels constructed from black marble, with water disappearing into the second. The names of the victims from the 9/11 attacks are etched into the black marble along the edges of the pools, which also serve as a guardrail. It is free to visit the reflecting pools but please, be considerate of others during your stay. Take a moment of silence.

White roses means that it was someone’s birthday…

The 9/11 Museum is amazing and I highly recommend a visit. It costs $26 for adults, but they provide several discounts; I purchased a student ticket for $20. Note: I recommend purchasing tickets at the side electronic booths, instead of waiting in line to buy tickets. It’s much faster and you can schedule a time for your visit so you don’t have to wait in line and can walk right into the museum at your time. There is pretty strong security, naturally, so be prepared to have your bag checked and to walk through a metal detector.

Inside the museum is a somber and emotional place. I took a few pictures from my stay but not too many because I was marveling in the museum. The museum itself is built in the old remnants of the towers and is truly gigantic. I spent two and a half hours at the museum and I could have probably spent a total of three hours – maybe more. Featured at the museum are warped steel structures from the old towers, destroyed firetrucks and ambulances, hardware used by rescuers, and objects from those lost. There is an entire room with pictures of every single person killed, with objects donated by their families. There is a room dedicated to the animals who served post-attack working to find survivors and as therapy dogs. A new exhibit featured sports post 9/11 and how they helped America heal. The museum also highlights the other attacks that occurred on 9/11/01 – the attack on the Pentagon in Washington D.C. and the crashed flight aimed for the White House. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t cry, but I wasn’t the only one. I can only wonder what visiting the museum and memorial felt like for the children who have lived in a post 9/11 America.

Enough sadness. I couldn’t recommend a visit to the memorial enough – it was truly spectacular. Across the street is a new building called the “Oculus.” The Oculus is basically a giant shopping center, but it has such unique and beautiful construction. Of course, it’s NYC and I couldn’t afford any of the stores inside this giant beautiful building, but I can still window shop. They had a band playing at the bottom floor of the Oculus and the acoustics in the building were incredible.

Inside the Oculus

Across the street from the Oculus and the memorial is a wall of murals. There are several bright and colorful murals, but also black and white ones featuring city landscapes. This was a favorite photo stop for those looking to get a good Instagram picture.

One of the many murals along this wall

I had originally planned to go to the Guggenheim Museum that evening. On Saturday’s from 5:45pm to 7:45pm they have free or “pay what you wish” admission. When I arrived at around 6pm, the line was literally around the block. I knew that it would be busy, but not that busy. It was insane! I would rather have paid $25 for admission than waiting in that line, so I decided that the Guggenheim would have to wait until another trip to NYC.

Instead of visiting the Guggenheim Museum, I walked across the street to Central Park. Central Park is basically a giant park for outdoor recreation right in the middle of Manhattan. It is a favorite spot for runners, walkers, picnickers, baseball players, kite fliers, yogis, and hundreds of others, including me. There are cafes, restaurants and food trucks; playgrounds, Central Park Zoo, and dog parks. I walked around the large pond and wandered over to the large field with baseball diamonds and sat down under a tree to people watch. Having nothing else do to that evening and it already being 6pm, I sat under that tree for a while. There is something truly restorative about being in nature, even if it’s urban nature. I’m also not particularly fond of the “urban jungle” – I guess that it’s just how I was raised.

Skyline view from a lake at Central Park

Eventually the sky began to look really ominous threatening rain and I still needed to find dinner. After a Google search I found a restaurant called Blossom, on Columbus. It was vegan and didn’t look too expensive. As I walked to Blossom it began to drizzle and so I walked into the restaurant a little damp and wow, was I underdressed. Blossom ended up being a pretty high-class vegan restaurant and most of the tables were reserved. They seated me at the only open seat at the bar and I felt like such a lonely child. But, I was hungry so I ordered an Ancient Grains salad and it was delicious! My salad was $17, which was pretty expensive but I was treating myself. I debated on getting a martini or something but they were all over $14 and honestly, I wasn’t prepared to spend that much on a single drink.

It began raining in earnest after dinner and I was forced to go home because I didn’t bring an umbrella. Oops.

This concludes day two of my adventures in New York City! If you haven’t already, check out day one here and come back soon to read day three of my trip in New York City.


Thank you for reading! Have you ever traveled to New York City?  Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!




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