NY: Financial District – Lady Liberty – 9/11 – Empire State – Brooklyn

The second day of my trip to New York, we got up early and headed towards the Financial District of Manhattan. The sun was out so our mood was instantly lifted.

We walked from the Municipale building, past the Woolworth building, the Trinity Church, the Federal Hall Memorial, the New York Stock exchange and Stone Street towards Castle Clinton. 

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There we could exchange our reservation for the city pass for our City Pass Booklet and traded our Liberty and Ellis Island cruise voucher for a ticket. After we got through security – which you have to do at every major attraction in New York – we boarded the boat that would first take us to Liberty and then to Ellis Island. The cruise goes around the Statue of Liberty so you get a nice view of the statue. You also see a spectacular view on Manhattan from on the boat and the island. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to mount to the crown as you have to make reservations for that. But the view from the island itself is already totally worth it.

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When we set foot on Ellis Island, everyone headed immediately for the museum of Immigration. There you can learn all about the procedure people had to go through when they wanted to get into New York. Considering the weather was way too good to be inside, we skipped the museum and went to the other side of the island to have another view on Manhattan. There weren’t any people there, so for a moment we thought we weren’t allowed there. But they didn’t stop us from going, so we enjoyed the quietness and the amazing view. If it wasn’t for the fact that you saw Manhattan rising in front of you, I almost forgot we were in New York with the lack of tourists surrounding us.

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When we got back on Manhattan shore, we quickly had something to eat at little place that sold all kinds of food (I don’t remember the name, sorry!) and that was the first time I had a Snapple. I definitely wasn’t the last time, and now I’m going through withdrawal symptoms because I haven’t had one in a few days. It’s so good! I need to start a petition so it’ll be sold in Belgium as well!

We had reservations for the 9/11 memorial at 1.30 pm, so that was next on our schedule. Once again, there was hardly a waiting line, which saved us a lot of time. Once at the memorial, it’s a little bit scary how quickly your mood changes. The atmosphere is really bizarre and indescribable and this is definitely a must-see attraction. The names that are engraved in the memorial really get to you and make it so much more personal. I felt the overwhelming urge to know everyone’s story.

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After the memorial, we headed back towards midtown Manhattan to go onto the observation deck of the Empire State Building. We initially had planned to do this later, but considering the weather was good and we didn’t really know for sure how the others days would be, we decided to squeeze it in our already busy first day. For the first time we encountered a bit of a waiting line, but it still didn’t take longer than half an hour for us to be on top of the building. And the view was spectacular.

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When we finally managed to leave the building, we took the metro to Brooklyn. We got off at Clark Street and walked through Brooklyn Heights and the Brooklyn Promenade to the Brooklyn Bridge. We were just a few minutes too late to watch the beautiful sunset behind the Statue of Liberty, but the sky was just as pretty. While crossing the bridge, we saw all the lights in Manhattan come out which was really beautiful. It’s definitely recommendable to walk across the bridge at twilight.

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Chinatown was next on our stop, but considering we were already really tired from our busy day, we couldn’t really enjoy it. So because we also planned to go back to the Empire State Building after 10pm (because you get a free entrance after that time the same day you went on it the first time) we cut our visit to the Chinese population in New York short, and headed back towards the hotel to lie down for a bit.

At 10:30 pm, we took the metro back to the Empire and went onto the Observation deck a second time. Once again, we had an amazing view on the lights of Manhattan and beyond.

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Tired, but more than satisfied with the day we had had, we went back to the hotel, only to fall asleep right as our heads hit the pillow.

Until next time, with part 3

With love, Ellen

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