Today was our attempt to see every NYC tourist attraction possible. There were highs and lows….the most difficult low being the temperature.
We started the morning off with the Empire State Building.
We arrived and Joe quickly declared he would not enter the elevator but would take stairs. You can imagine that stairs are not possible. After much failed coaxing, I stayed down with him while John, Veronica and Ryan went up! Except Veronica was spooked by an optical illusion before the elevator and she joined Joe and me. We spent a good amount of time watching a slide show of celebrities going to the top.
John and Ryan came down and then Ryan and I went up!
Next, we were off to the tour bus. It was packed and cold. V landed herself on the top of the bus working as the assistant to the tour guide. We couldn’t see her but heard her as she guided everyone through NY to Battery Park.
We were then off to see the Statue of Liberty.
The next stop was a highlight for the adults….
John signed up for a session to do a search for our family. We found three relatives of mine from Slovakia. We are hoping to meet family that still lives in the town that they were from- Kriva, Slovakia.
The visit to Ellis Island was especially meaningful because John was invited by Comenius University to come and teach immigration history. Slovak immigrants largely settled in Pittsburgh. Even one of my family members who came through Ellis Island from Slovakia settled in Pennsylvania.
We headed back to New York and V took the opportunity to feel like Rose.
We jumped back on the top of the tour bus for the coldest 30 minutes of our lives. I wish I took a picture but it felt like we were literally frozen. We jumped off the bus, got ourselves some hot chocolate and then embarked on the most desired event (by those under the age of 13) of the day….seriously, everyone was unanimously most enthusiastic about this adventure….
The cab let us off in Times Square. This was mesmerizing for everyone.
It was a chocolate filled visit to Times Square with a visit to the Hershey store where Joe finally spent his saved money from his great grandma….
And then off to the M&M store.
We hopped on the subway to make it to the 9/11 museum with 2 minutes to spare. We hadn’t done a lot of preparing the kids for this part of the day and realized it could be challenging (especially with a big flight ahead of us tomorrow). The following picture is right at the beginning of the museum. Joe really took his time to read and try to understand what happened. He genuinely and sincerely asked John and I where we were when 9/11 happened and what we remembered. It is a hard thing to explain and watch little ones process.
Many people told us that this was a must see in NYC and I would have to agree.
After experiencing the museum and the memorial and 11 hours of being on our feet in the cold, we were ready for the family favorite….Shake Shack (the second post in this blog to contain SS).
With 7 miles of walking in very cold, windy weather today, our crew is exhausted. We will hang out in NYC tomorrow, send a package back home because now there is too much to fit in our suitcases and see central park before we head to JFK for the first leg overseas!