Monday, July 25, 2016

New York City with Ella, part 3 (Statue of Liberty, the 9/11 Memorial and Empire State Building)

We had another busy day on Thursday, July 21st, and it was an early one too. We had booked the early bird tour to the Statue of Liberty to avoid it being so crowded. So we ate breakfast as soon as we could at the hotel and then had to HURRY to the subway station, which we luckily got right!, and then had to jog to the pier we were meeting at. We made it though, phew! Our tour guide ended up being super weird and dramatic, which I guess is to be expected in NYC :-). He rambled on and on with more entertainment history than anything else and after trudging along with him for a couple hours we skipped out on the rest of the tour and headed to Ellis Island on our own.
Ella was most excited about the Statue of Liberty and said it lived up to what she was expecting. It is crazy how it looks so teeny from downtown but is actually so big. You have to get tickets up to the crown a few months in advance and we didn't plan this trip until a couple months ago so we just went up the pedestal where you could get some pretty good views of the city from afar. The museum on site did a good job of giving the history of Lady Liberty. It was really neat to go to Ellis Island afterwards as well and think of all the people who came through and what they must have been feeling as they stepped inside.
From there we took the ferry back to the city, ate a little snack and walked over to the 9/11 Memorial. I knew it would be depressing but was also very excited to finally go. The museum is extremely well done and we could have spent much more time going through the exhibits. Because 9/11 made such an impact on all of our lives I forgot that Ella wasn't alive yet and doesn't know everything about what happened like we do. We had some good conversations about the events that day as we walked through the museum.
Another stop on Ella's list was the Empire State Building so we took the subway there. This was also my first time going up to the top and I think the views from here were better than Top of the Rock overall. The lines were very short when we went although apparently they can get quite long because we had to zigzag around so many empty dividers.
This ball was between the twin towers and is now on display in the park at the pier.
as we got close to the 9/11 memorial we walked by these firemen cadets getting ready to take a picture by this wall memorial
We had mastered the subway by this point ;-) and made it quickly up to try out the Dominican restaurant recommended by our Uber driver, El Malecon. It was delicious!!!! The fried yucca and the meat sauce that came with the mofongo were especially good but we loved it all. The waiter warned up that we were ordering too much food, but we assured him we could handle it haha!
coolest CVS ever
We searched on my phone for gelato as we were leaving the restaurant because we figured with all the good Italian food in the city, surely they had to have gelato as well! There was a shop only a block away!!! Screme gelato for the win! It was amazing...just like in Italy and so many awesome flavors to choose from. I went with the Coconut and the Chocolate Covered Raspberry, yum!
It was such a fun trip and especially amazing because we got to share it with Ella and not be distracted by anything else. I hope she remembers it forever!
The next day our flight home didn't leave until noon so we were looking forward to a nice lazy morning at the hotel before heading to the airport. We slept in (much needed after two crazy busy days) and as I was checking my email on my phone when I woke up I had emails from Southwest that our flights had been cancelled! WHAT?! We had our boarding passes printed out and everything. I scrambled to make sure we had the other kids covered (luckily my parents were back from Florida so my mom was going to be able to take over and relieve the other people watching them) and Mike got on the phone with Southwest. We were on hold on speaker phone all during breakfast and continued while Mike kept trying to get through on their website. He finally got through on the site and hung up...1 hour 15 minutes and they never picked up! He was able to re-book our original flight and we hurried over to the airport. What craziness! I was actually disappointed when we got the flights back because I had started planning what we would do with our extra day in the city. There was another restaurant I wanted to try and we didn't use our City Pass for the CityLine Cruise and we would have HAD to buy new outfits for the next day haha. It WAS good to get home and see Addie and Preston though :-)!
The three crazies were sure happy to all be reunited and it was so cute at dinner to hear Addie and Preston talking non-stop and I wasn't even annoyed when the three of them got super silly together ;-)! Hopefully the love lasts into our big family trip coming up!
Some pictures of the fun Addie and Preston had while we were gone. Addie had SO much fun with her friend Ellie and I'm sure part of her was sad we were home. Preston enjoyed his time with cousins Ollie and Lulu and then got to be the only child for once in his life at Grammy and Greatfrog's house. So all the kids lucked out!
And one more random....the next day we headed to the other champs meet to cheer on Ella's swimming besties. I love seeing what Ella puts on cute!

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