New York in a Day
Despite a painfully early wake up the Student Events Board bus trip to New York got us into the city at 11.30 am, nearly half way through the day. This didn’t stop the determination to see it all. After establishing where we were we, headed straight for the subway downtown. Our first stop was the 9/11 memorial, free to enter- donation optional. However you do have to register and print a pass before arrival. It was a beautiful sunny day, if a little cold, but perfect to appreciate this respectful memorial to all 2,983 people who died in the attacks. There are two waterfalls into the base of where the towers stood, with every single name imprinted in bronze around the edge. The museum is still under construction, and the whole site is dominated by the shining new World Trade Center being built just feet away. We then managed to fit in walking to Battery Park to look at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in the distance- maybe not as good as taking boat trips to see them but definitely more time-effective. Next we strode across downtown Manhattan and strolled along Wall Street, cameras out at all times like typical tourists, and finally caught sight of the Brooklyn Bridge and the other side of the river. We had booked tickets to the Empire State Building, which are valid for a year but we wanted to go today! So we optimistically headed to the closest subway station, read the posters about changed schedules, and thought we had it all under control. Unfortunately, when we left the subway station thinking we were somewhere near 5th Avenue, we had actually made it into Brooklyn; we had definitely gone in the wrong direction. Still with some enthusiasm, we jumped on the next train back to Manhattan, only to find that it was being rerouted. Eventually, an hour and a half later, and several train switches, with many stops in dark tunnels when you wonder if the train will ever start again, we made it to 5th Avenue. We were only about 20 blocks up from the Empire State Building but walking there was like swimming against the tide. With our 7pm deadline looming we arrived to find one queue after another, just when you thought you had made it you turned another corner and joined another line. However, the exhilarating feeling of seeing all Manhattan and beyond from the 86th floor observatory- we went for the least expensive option- was worth it. We managed to be there at a perfect time, it was getting darker so all the bright lights were on but it was still light enough to see all of the buildings. After this we just had time to grab a slice of pizza and complete our day of New York experiences with a yellow taxi ride back to the bus.