A September 2004 trip
to New York by Muchmor
Quote: We spent a week in New York doing the usual tourist things and visiting the usual sights. However, we visited during the third anniversary of 9/11, which turned out to be a highly emotional experience that I feel privileged to have witnessed.
Hotel | "Embassy Suites Hotel"
However we felt the service within the hotel was of a poor standard and let the hotel down. We noticed that some areas of our room got dusty and seemed not to be cleaned, such as the dressing table. Also sweets left on the table mysteriously disappeared. At the time of our arrival the light over the bath was flashing on and off, after a long flight etc we decided not to bother reporting this until the following day, but forgot, however, the constant flashing on and off would have been obvious to the housekeeping staff so we were very surprised that when we returned and it still had not been fixed. I then phoned down to report it but nobody came and I had to leave a note for the following day – it was then fixed. We used the mini bar on a couple of occasions, but the cans used were never replaced, so couldn’t buy more!
One day on reporting for breakfast we were asked our room number, however the woman was so busy talking to someone on the phone that we had to repeat our number four times before she finally listened and even then she kept repeating 926 instead of 826. We tried to correct her numerous times, and then gave up. I hope the people in 926 got their breakfast! This exact same scenario happened on one other occasion too.
The final straw was when I went to use my hairbrush and found long, black hairs wound round it – I am blonde! I was disgusted and it turned my stomach to think that someone had used my brush. I went down to reception to complain as was seen by the concierge who looked at my brush and asked if anyone else in the room could have used it. Did she think that I would have complained if I knew who had used it? She then went to get the manager. When he arrived he apologised and said he would speak to housekeeping and would replace my brush. He also offered a free stay at the hotel in the future, but I declined as we would not be returning to NY. So he offered cinema tickets, which I again declined but suggested that he could reduce our current stay’s bill. He agreed that he would remove our incidentals i.e. pay movies, mini bar etc which I agreed. When we received our final bill, all these things were still on there and charged to my credit card ($45), by this time I couldn’t be bothered to complain so left it. Not impressed!
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on September 29, 2004
Embassy Suites New York
102 North End Avenue
New York, New York 10281
The theme was Wall Street with lots of pictures of South Manhattan both before and after 9/11. They also had lots of stocks, share certificates, and newspaper cuttings over the walls, which were quite interesting. The staff was very nice and the food very good, especially the dessert – Triple Chocolate Meltdown, a chocolate sponge cake covered in chocolate syrup and vanilla ice cream. I have to confess to having this twice in a week – very naughty, but very nice! My husband loved the Apple Pie dessert.
We have been in several of these restaurants, and this was very good, with the staff being exceptionally friendly.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 29, 2004
102 North End Avenue
New York, New York 10282
We decided to eat here whilst we were in Times Square, as it was one of the few places without a queue. We were given seats quickly, and the service overall was good. The food was typical PH stuff: burgers, pasta, pizza, etc. The place itself is pretty large -- one of the largest PHs we have been in -- and has all the usual movie memorabilia, including the dress Demi Moore wore in Indecent Proposal.
However, it was the restroom that is worth mentioning. I had to visit the ladies’ room and was greeted at the door by the attendant. She then led me to a cubicle, opened the door for me and then closed it for me – very over-the-top. When I exited the cubicle, she directed me to a basin, turned on the tap for me, and then squirted some liquid soap into my hands. When I had finished washing my hands, she turned the tap off and passed me a paper towel. I had entered the bathroom without my handbag, so I could not leave her a tip, but she certainly deserved one. I was so amazed at this service that, when I returned to my seat, I told my husband, who promptly went to the men’s room to see what that was like. He reported back that the door was opened for him and that he was offered soap, but thankfully, that is all the help he received!!!!
If anyone is in the Times Square area and needs to use the restroom, go into Planet Hollywood for a first-class performance!
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 30, 2004
New York, New York 10036
We went in September and didn’t have to queue for the Skyride. You have to go through two separate introduction rooms before you actually get on the ride itself. As part of the intro, they explain why they have chosen to keep the Twin Towers featured in the ride - as a tribute to the buildings and those who were lost.
Skyride is a simulator ride, which is basically a helicopter ride over New York. You fly across all the major sights, and the film includes footage of both before and after 9/11, so you get a sense of what New York was like before that fateful day - it is quite sobering! The ride is a good way of getting a view of New York that you would only get via helicopter, but it’s much cheaper.
Once out of the ride, you go through to the queue to actually go to the top of the building. There was a short queue here, but nothing much. You have to go through security and put your bags through an x-ray machine, although nobody seemed to be looking at the screens. You go through the gate, like at an airport, and then carry on through to a big room where there is a zigzag queue system. Here you get your photo taken in front of a picture of the building. After this, you have to get into two separate elevators, which take you to the top of the building on the 86th floor, or 1,050 feet above ground. There is an enclosed area, but you really have to go outside where you can get panoramic views of the city from all four sides.
The views really are spectacular, and if you pick a clear day, you can see for miles. While we were up there, a rather strange thing happened. A passenger plane flew overhead, quite close and low, and suddenly, two jet fighters flew in and sat either side of it and basically escorted it towards Brooklyn. Lots of people commented on it, I have it on video, and it is quite worrying looking back. We spent quite a long time up there, just taking in the sights and trying to spot buildings and places we had seen from ground level. When you leave, you do so through a gift shop where you can buy almost anything.
If you are in New York, you really have to do the Empire State Building!
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 11, 2004
Empire State Building
350 Fifth Avenue at 34th Street
New York 10118
Attraction | "World Financial Centre"
On the ground floor, there are several restaurants, coffee bars, and a Starbucks. There is also a seating area both inside and outside the centre where you can sit and people-watch. There are lots of police and security guards wandering around, which is an unfortunate legacy of 9/11. The building also has a shopping area with some clothes shops such as Gap, gift shops, and more. There are only about 10 or so shops, but it is quite pleasant and very bright with the big, glass roof. There is also a Ground Zero information area, which has models of the site and details of the new buildings that are going to be built there.
If you exit the building on the opposite side to Ground Zero, you come out on the waterfront area where you can sit and eat or keep an eye on the very large, very expensive boats sitting in the harbour.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 11, 2004
World Financial Center
New York, New York 10128
Attraction | "Gray Line NY Tours Overview"
You have to take all tours within 48 hours, which sounds daunting, but we did the uptown in the morning of day one and the downtown in the afternoon. Then the following day we did Brooklyn and then the night tour, so it worked out great. Each tour takes about 2 hours if you stay on from start to finish.
They all start and end in the Times Square area, except Brooklyn, and are on open-top double-decker buses. The Brooklyn tour is on an enclosed coach, as open-top buses are apparently not allowed in Brooklyn, and this tour starts in Battery Park near the Financial District.
You can hop on and off at the numerous stops along the way, but I wouldn’t recommend it. We had to leave quite a few people at stops who wanted to get on, but there simply wasn’t room, or they had to sit in the lower, enclosed deck. I think the best way is to take each fully, then go back to any places that you want to visit again in your own time. The night tour incidentally is not a hop on/off.
If you do these tours when it is hot, as we did in September (85 degrees), remember to take a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen and plenty of water. On the top deck of the bus, there is no protection from the sun and it can become very overpowering. Likewise, if you visit when showers are likely, then bring something to cover yourself. On the brochures it says that rain ponchos are given out free on buses, but when some people asked for them on the night tour, when it got cooler, they only had a couple available on the bus.
As I said, it was very hot when we did the tours, but the night tour can still get cool, as we found out. As we hadn’t gone back to our hotel that day, we were just in t-shirts and shorts, but would have welcomed a jumper as the night set in. So if you plan to do this tour in the summer, pop a light jumper or similar in your bag, just in case.
It also goes without saying that you should take your camera with you. The bus does slow down, or stop at major points, so you can get some great pictures. A video camera is also good, as you can get the atmosphere and the commentary too.
I cannot recommend these tours enough. Great tours, great sights, great value.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 19, 2004
Gray Line New York Sightseeing
777 8th Avenue
New York, New York 10036
Attraction | "Uptown Grey Line Bus Tour"
The tour guide on this bus was am energetic elderly lady who had lived in NYC all her life and was very informative and funny. She kept telling the driver to slow down, stop, speed up, and more. As this was an older bus without a built-in microphone, every time someone wanted to get on or off, she had to wind the cable up and escort people up and down the stairs, then re-attach the microphone and start again, which she made very amusing.
The tour started at the back of Times Square and headed out towards the Hudson River where large liners were docked. We then headed to Columbus Circle, which has a couple of glass skyscrapers that are very beautiful and stunning. We then went past the building where Regis and Kelly do their morning show. We were told of many more famous homes and work places, but as Brits, we didn’t know many of those mentioned. After this we headed towards Central Park and went past the Dakota Building, where John Lennon was killed. Strawberry Fields, part of Central Park, is directly in front of this building. Yoko Ono still lives here.
We drove along the west side of the park where there are lots of expensive apartments and where many famous people reside. We then drove into the Harlem area, which from a British point of view, has quite a bad name for itself. However, the area has some beautiful buildings, particularly churches, and some great parks, so it was well worth seeing via the tour. The tour then goes towards Cloisters and then comes back into Harlem and picks up on the north side of Central Park.
You then travel along the east side of the park along museum mile, which, amongst many others, has the Guggenheim Museum. After this, you go along the south of the park, and then back into the centre of Times Square. Keep an eye out for the Naked Cowboy, who strums his guitar in his underpants and is usually surrounded by women having their photos taken with him.
I would definitely recommend this tour, as you see sights that you perhaps wouldn’t see normally because many are quite out of the way, baring in mind that most visitors don’t venture further north than Central Park and most will not go into Harlem, which is a shame as there are some lovely churches and parks there. We were lucky and had a great guide, which made it even more interesting with her funny stories, but you should enjoy this regardless.
Attraction | "Brooklyn Grey Line Bus Tour"
After leaving Battery Park, you travel around towards South Street Seaport and then across the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn. Buses are not allowed on the Brooklyn Bridge, but this is better as you can look across to the right to see it as you go over the river.
The first stop is the Marriott Hotel. You then travel through Camden Plaza, Brooklyn Heights, Old Fulton Landing, and onto the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens. Of everywhere in this town, the museum and the gardens seemed the only place anyone would really want to visit.
We stayed on the bus for the whole tour and the guide was very good, but we disembarked once we got back to the Marriott Hotel, as this is where you can walk the Brooklyn Bridge. There are also some good views of the Manhattan skyline and of Liberty Island.
Once off the bus, you walk straight ahead and follow the signs for the bridge. This was the best bit of this tour. I would say that if you buy the all-loops tour and don’t have time for all four, this is the one you should miss out – sorry Brooklyn, I’m sure you’re very nice, but just not as interesting as Manhattan.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 19, 2004
Bus Tour - Brooklyn
New York, New York
Attraction | "Grey Line Night Bus Tour"
You need to pick your timing here. The tours start from around 6pm, but if you want to start the tour in the dark, you need to allow for this. We went in September and started our tour at 6.30pm, which meant that the sun was just starting to go down, but it was still light. The tour starts and finishes in Times Square, so if it is not quite dark when you depart, don’t worry, you will see it all again in all its glory when you return at the end of the tour.
We travelled around Times Square, and as we went down one of the roads, we caught the top of the Chrysler Building. The sun was just setting, reflecting off the building and making it look like it was made of gold – stunning.
We went past the Empire State, which lights up different colours depending on the special event or occasion. We went past when it was pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Week. We then went through Greenwich Village, Soho, China Town, Little Italy, and then across the Manhattan Bridge to Brooklyn.
From Brooklyn, you have the most fantastic views of the Manhattan skyline at night. We did this tour on the evening of the third anniversary of 9/11, and they had the beams of light stretching up through the sky. The sight was awesome and would have been worth the price of the whole tour just for that. When we pulled over to get the best view, most of us on the bus just sat and stared in awe - the guide had to remind us to take photos. This will be one of the lasting memories I take away from this trip.
After a quick tour of Brooklyn, we returned across the Manhattan Bridge and then travelled alongside the East River towards the East Village and onto the main roads of Manhattan. Here you get great views of the Empire State Building, and many other buildings, all lit up. You then head up towards Central Park. The change in temperature as you round the corner of the park is shocking. It dipped several noticeable degrees, and the darkness of the park at night is quite strange.
After the park, you venture back Times Square with all its lights blazing and flashing. It is stunning by day, but at night, it comes alive.
The night tour is well worth doing, but even in the summer, remember that you may need a jumper as the night draws in, as it can get chilly. We had 85-degree weather by day, but were shivering on the tour in t-shirt and shorts at night. Our tour guide was excellent; very friendly and happy to answer questions. I can definitely recommend this tour.
Attraction | "Coney Island"
When you exit the subway you are faced with a building site, which straight away is a little disconcerting. You then walk down one of the side roads to get to the beach area. We went in September and the amusement park area was closed, which we had expected, although I hadn’t expected it to be so small and uninspiring. I had read lots about the area and had read articles that raved about the big wheel and the roller coaster, but the whole place was very old and looked unloved and in need of renovation.
The beach itself is very nice, very wide and going on for miles. It is predominantly a sandy beach, and there were a few people in the sea and on the beach whist we were there, even though showers were forecasted. I was amazed at how many jellyfish were laying stranded on the beach, literally hundred of all different sizes. There were lots of gulls too, though strangely they were not trying to eat the jellyfish.
We walked a good distance along the beach and it was lovely, the weather just about holding off the rain. When it did start to rain lightly, we made a beeline for the aquarium and spent the next hour or so there.
I’m glad we went to Coney Island and I have seen it for myself, but I was very unimpressed with the amusement park, and if this is your main reason for visiting Coney, don’t. If, however, you are visiting in the summer and want to laze on the beach, then it is great.
Member Rating 2 out of 5 on October 25, 2004
Coney Island Beach, Boardwalk, Amusement Parks
Brooklyn, New York 11224
Attraction | "Macy's"
I admit to never having seen so many handbags in one place, although I actually found there to be too many, as I was so spoiled by choice, deciding not to bother buying one, even though I really needed one.
The store itself is large, but not as large as I had expected. It is spread on about eight floors, but the higher up you go on the escalators, the older and more rickety they get. You start off on large, modern, metal ones, and then change to older metal ones and the final couple of floors are on narrow wooded ones. It was very strange.
We also found some of the products to be old fashioned, especially when you get to the furniture section. It was like walking into an old '50s movie with old-fashioned furniture in an old-fashioned building. I half expected to see ghosts lounging on the beds!
I’m sure many people love this store, but it was not for me.
Macy's Herald Square
151 West 34th Street
New York, New York 10001
(212) 695 4400
Upon entering you are faced with a corridor of viewing windows looking onto different sea creatures, and of course, fish. You can see marine fish, corals, crabs, shrimps, and many other types of fish. There is also a large pool full of stingrays.
In another section you can see beautiful jellyfish floating around blue-lit aquariums, showing them off to their best. They are fascinating and very peaceful to watch. They have several tanks with several different species on show. There are also lots of tanks with sea horses, which are remarkable. There are many different types and colours and some of the males appeared to be pregnant.
Outside you get to see larger marine life such as sea lions, penguins, walruses, otters, and more. You can view these from the outside in landscaped areas, in which you can see underwater as well as on the surface. However, you can also go inside and see them underwater from much bigger viewing areas. The walruses were a particular favourite whilst we were there, as the huge male was doing his best to mate with a smaller female. Several people including young children were spellbound by his antics. He was chasing her around the pool, cornering her, and trapping her into submission. He was a very excited walrus! There was another walrus in the tank swimming around trying to pretend nothing was happening.
The otters were also in a playful mood, as they were swimming around, chasing each other, and playing with floating balls and rings. They are very mischievous and very cute, and I’m sure they know it!
The penguins were also very amusing, following each other into the pool, and then all jumping back out again, then back in and so on. They go from being graceful and fast in the water to being hilarious on land.
The beluga whales are a particular favourite of mine, and there were a couple here. The main viewing area was closed for refurbishment as was the main show pool, but you could view them through the large window. They seemed to be as interested in us as we were of them. We spent many minutes just staring at each other.
The aquarium has a couple of restaurants and a gift shop and is a nice place to visit if you are in the area. It is not one of the best I have been to, far from it, but neither is it the worst.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on October 25, 2004
New York Aquarium
Surf Avenue at West 8th Street
Brooklyn, New York 11224
The views across the river to Manhattan are stunning, and the sight of the bridge itself as you look down its length at all the cables is quite something. The walkway is split into two sides, with pedestrians on one side and cyclists on the other. This was obvious from signs and markings on the footpath, but lots of people still walked into the cyclist lane and were duly advised otherwise by angry passing cyclists.
There are a number of telescopes dotted along the path, which you can put money in to view the skyline and Liberty Island a little better. There were also lots of people taking photos, including us, and many people were asking others to take their pictures for them. There was a great community feeling on the bridge of everyone helping out everyone else.
I would definitely suggest that anyone in New York should walk the bridge. If you can do only one way, preferably from Brooklyn to Manhattan.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 25, 2004
Access At Tillary Street And Boerum Place
Well, we walked from Times Square down to the station to see for ourselves. When you first walk in you look up and notice the ceiling. It is dark green with gold stars and constellations on it. There are huge chandeliers hanging between the opulent arches. For a railway station it is quite a spectacular architecture.
As I suppose it is most days, it was pretty busy with a mixture of genuine travellers catching trains and the rest of us who were just there to admire the building. Security and police officers are in abundance, watching everyone, as I suppose this would be a good terrorist target.
We went onto the balcony areas that sit at either end of the great hall, reached by large stone staircases. From here you can join the queue of people waiting to rest their cameras on the balcony ledge to get that elusive shot of the building, complete with large clock in the centre. As the room is quite dark, getting a good photo is bit of a gamble. Some of ours, although they looked ok on the camera viewer, turned out either too dark or a little shaky. Never mind, though, Photoshop is a wonderful thing.
If you follow the signs, you will get to shopping areas within the building and to places to eat too. However, if you need the restroom, I would recommend finding them elsewhere, as they were not very nice here!
Even if you only have 5 minutes in this building, it is worth it as it is everything you don’t expect a train station to look like, especially in the middle of New York.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 25, 2004
Grand Central Terminal
87 E 42nd St
New York, New York
Attraction | "Statue of Liberty - Part 1"
I booked my tickets for the Statue of Liberty on the web, the day after they allowed booking. I was very excited and booked tickets to go to the second level of the statue, where you can see through a glass ceiling to see the inside of the building and can also get a higher viewing platform – or so I thought.
The e-mail confirmation suggested getting to the departure point – Battery Park -- two hours before our 12:45pm tour. When we arrived, there were several ticket queues, but I spotted a small sign for pre-booked tours and went to the allotted table for the ticket. I was asked my name and given an envelope with ferry tickets, tour tickets, and an info sheet inside. We noticed that, for some reason, we had three tour tickets, not two, but two ferry tickets. We didn’t think too much of this until later.
When you board the ferry -- they run every half hour -- you have to go through a security check, much like the airport, but you have to remove all jewellery, watches, belts, etc. and put them, along with your bags, into a tray to go through x-ray. You then go through one yourself and then have to re-dress! Once on the boat, everyone rushes to the top to get the best views, which as you get closer to Liberty Island are quite stunning, especially with clear blue skies as we had. After about 15 minutes, you dock at the island and can then just wander until it’s time for your tour. There are drinks and ice cream vendors, as well as a restaurant.
Do not leave too late to embark on your tour, as the process of actually getting to it can take a while. On the website, it says you can take small handbags, camera bags, etc., but no backpacks and the like. However, my small handbag and my husband’s small camera bag were refused. You are then told to store your belongings in the lockers provided, but be warned, we had to queue half an hour to get one, and it wasn’t very busy. When you get to the machine which allocates them, it tells you to pay $1 by credit card, note, or coins; however, the machines actually only took dollar bills, so lots of people were getting there only to find that it would not work or that they needed to get reasonably new dollar bills. When you have paid your $1 and had your fingerprint scanned, a light flashes on a locker, and you leave your belongings. Remember the locker number, since you won’t get your stuff back without it.
You then have to go through more x-rays and again remove all your watches, belts, etc. After all this, you are let to a large holding area ready for your tour, which starts in the museum. Continued….
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on October 30, 2004
Statue of Liberty
New York, New York 10004
Attraction | "Statue of Liberty - Part 2"
Annoyingly, we saw quite a few people with larger bags than those we had. It seems to be down to the guard on duty as to what is let in and what isn’t!
A tour guide is available to walk you through the museum, or you can go it alone, as we did. It has replicas of the face and feet of the statue and also the original lamp, which was replaced. There are also hundreds of postcards featuring the statue, going back to before it was completed -- very interesting. You can see exactly how the statue was built and see photos of it growing bit-by-bit.
After the museum, you get to the viewing platforms. We had brought tickets for the observation deck, but when we tried to enter, we were told our tickets were for the lower platform and not for the glass ceiling area. This was when we realised that we had been given the wrong tickets; hence, the three promenade tour tickets and not two observation tickets. Although I was disappointed and a little angry at having paid a premium for lesser tickets and could prove it by the e-mail confirmation, we were not allowed in the observation area. The thing I was most concerned with was the people who had our tickets, as presumably, there were three of them, with only two tickets.
We were the only ones on the platform whilst we were there – everyone else was on the level above!! You get good views of Manhattan, but not any better that those you get from ground level, and of course, the views of the statue itself are restricted, as you are looking straight up at it past the higher platform – the one we should have been on – do I sound bitter?
Once you have walked round the platform, you leave the actual statue and queue up again to retrieve your belongings from the lockers. Once you get to the machine, it asks you which locker number you had, then your fingerprint is scanned, and if all checks out, your locker is released. Exit via the gift shop!
We ate at the restaurant, which is a fast-food-type place with liberty burgers, liberty hot dogs, etc. We sat outside and were surrounded by seagulls, some of which were huge. We also saw the strangest leaf insect on a neighbouring chair, sunning itself.
Once you have finished on the island, it is back on the boat to either Staten Island, the first stop, or back to Battery Park.
All in all, I would say that unless you really want to visit the museum, then there really is no need to pay for tickets to Liberty. In hindsight, I would just get the ferry to the island and wander, as you get much better views of the statue itself from ground level, and the views of Manhattan, etc., are just as good too.
Attraction | "Third Anniversary of 9/11"
When we got round the other side, there were quite a few people, but not as many as I had expected. Inside the site, many police and fire fighters were standing and waiting for the ceremony to start. At the time of the first plane’s impact, the church bells rang, and a minute’s silence started -- you could hear a pin drop. Then, relatives of the victims started to read out the names of those who died. They were read in alphabetical order by last name. Each of the men and women reading the names had to give the names of their own relatives, and this was exceptionally hard to listen to, as they often broke down or had to be helped by husbands and wives to finish their sentences. It was absolutely heart- breaking, and I, along with many others present, could not contain my emotions. Even now, as I write this and remember the event, it still brings a lump to my throat and a tear to my eye.
There was another silence at the time of the second impact, and the name-reading continued. The police officers and fire fighters that were present were crying, and after nearly an hour, we could take it no longer. We left the area, as it was simply too emotional. We felt extremely guilty doing this, but it was just too much to take. I cannot begin to imagine how the friends and relatives of the victims felt.
Although I didn’t know anyone involved in 9/11, I feel as though I knew them all. I still remember first seeing the sight of the plane crashing into the second tower on TV whilst at work, after my husband had phoned to tell me what was happening. I also remember driving home that evening, listening to the radio, and having to pull over on several occasions as I could not see to drive through the tears.
I am so glad that we were able to be in New York at this time and to share in their grief and also their hope for the future.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on October 30, 2004
World Trade Center Site
Vesey Street, West Side Highway, Liberty And Church Streets
Attraction | "Tribute in Light"
We first saw the sight whilst we were on a Grey Line bus tour in Brooklyn. The sight of the beams rising into infinity from across the river was awesome. When the bus pulled over so we could take photos, most of the people in the bus just sat and stared in wonder. We went on to view the lights from quite a few locations throughout the night.
Our hotel was opposite Ground Zero, so when we returned later that night, we had even better views of the lights. They weren’t actually on the Ground Zero site, but outside our hotel, in a car park. They are actually made up of two sets of 44 Xenon bulbs and are the equivalent of two million light bulbs! We managed to get some superb photos and will never forget this sight or what it signified.
I believe they are planning to have the Tribute in Light every year on the 9/11 anniversary, until the new Freedom Tower is built in approximately five years.
Attraction | "Ground Zero"
As you stand on the metal gantry built to the side of the site that leads to the underground stations, etc., you get a very strange feeling. The actual site is not as big as I had suspected; it doesn’t look as if two of the world’s tallest buildings once stood there. Although, of course, the buildings were tall.
Most of the base of the site was made of concrete, as they are starting work on the replacement buildings. However, you can still see the original sides of the towers’ basements. It is really hard to get your head around the fact that thousands of people died in this exact spot.
I would love to have been able to see these two majestic towers before, as I cannot begin to imagine how they looked. We have all seen the photos and films of the twin towers, and indeed there are several pictures at the site, but when you see these, you can see a tall black building behind them, which is a large hotel that is still standing. When you are at the site and look at this very tall hotel and then look at the "before" pictures, you realise how tall they really must have been, completely towering this building. It is beyond your mind’s comprehension to be able to visualise them at the site.
Ground Zero is a very sobering experience. Many of the surrounding buildings are still being rebuilt, and many still show the damage received that fateful day. One of the buildings is covered in plastic, as the materials of the building are rotting, caused by the tons of water sprayed over it trying to put out fire that day. The World Financial Centre also stands to the side of the site, and I thought these buildings were quite beautiful. Inside them you can view a tribute to the towers and see models of the new buildings being built in its place. Whilst we were there, one of these buildings had a huge American flag across the front to pay tribute to the anniversary.
Whilst in New York, you are compelled to visit Ground Zero. I was worried that looking at the site and taking photos would seem a little callous, but I had to visit to pay my respects to those who lost their lives. We took pictures not just to add to our photo album but to remind ourselves that this could happen anywhere to anyone.
This place will stay in my memory for a very long time. I just wish I could have seen the towers in all their glory whilst they were standing.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 2, 2005
Attraction | "Strawberry Fields"
There is a large mosaic on the ground with the word "imagine" in the center which had lots of flowers round it. The flowers were for not only John Lennon and peace but for the anniversary of 9/11 that weekend. When we were there, there was a large peace symbol made out of origami doves of peace, which was quite stunning.
There is also a plaque set into rock which lists all the countries who endorsed the garden.
This is a very peaceful, stunning, and beautiful part of Central Park.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 2, 2005
Strawberry Fields/Central Park
West Side Between 71st And 74th Streets
New York, New York