Wednesday, July 30, 2008

New York, New York!

With Brett heading off to the Big Apple this morning, I am reminiscent of my own visit to New York. It was autumn, 2002. Halle was just over a year old & my best friend (Shannon) was nannying there. For an early Christmas present, Brett generously let me go for a long weekend of "just the girls". It will go down in history as one of my all-time favorite experiences. (If you want to ask me about it, be prepared for me to ramble on and on and on.) Shannon and I always have a hysterical time together, and being together in New York as our backdrop made it all that more special! We only spent two days and two nights in the city, so we went from sun-up to sun-down, trying to cram as much sights, sounds, and unfortunately sometimes smells (such as the stinky gush of air coming from the subway below up through the vents in the ground...YUCK), into our time as possible. We walked and walked and walked, trying to avoid $$$ from taxis (besides, when we did splurge on a ride somewhere, it was seriously questioned whether or not we would arrive alive!). By the time we'd arrive at the apartment at night, the very thought of hiking the four floors of stairs was enough to make me pass out. Our legs would burn with each painful step! We were fortunate that Shannon's boss's sister generously let us stay in her apartment in Manhattan (she was gone for the weekend). That only enhanced our "New York" experience.
Here are some highlights:
*This was so fun! While we waited in line at Battery Park for the ferry ride to Ellis Island, a group of entertainers performed for the crowd. I love Shannon's face (in the cream coat)
as the man ran and did a flip over SIX people!
One big item on my to-do list was to eat a New York Hot Dog. was very, very important to me
that I eat a hot dog from a street vendor.
I felt like it was part of the whole experience.
I know I'm weird.
And yes, it was YUM!

On the Sunday morning, we visited Ground Zero before
heading to church over by where they were at the time constructing the temple.
I was deeply moved by the letters and notes and signs that were found there.
I went in October, so the one-year anniversary had just passed.
Even 6 years later, the emotions I felt on that fateful day are still fresh in many ways.
So to go only one year after the attacks...well, I don't even need to describe how I felt.
I know many share the same feelings.
As you looked around, a man on a street corner played "Amazing Grace" on his violin.
He refused anyone that tried to give him money.
He said he came every Sunday to pay honor to the victims.

The note below was just one of many covering the fence surrounding the church near Ground Zero. But I took a picture of it because of what was hand-written next to the "Missing in Action". I don't know what would have been worse during the days, weeks, months following the attacks...not knowing the whereabouts of a loved one, or finally at last receiving the news that somehow they'd been identified among the rubble.

The entire experience of visiting Ground Zero was incredibly sobering.
I shouldn't have bothered putting on make-up.
Even a year later, people just stood around and sobbed, holding each other as they wept.
We even saw one woman kneeling on the ground, overcome with her grief.
I had to fight the urge to kneel next to her and wrap my arms around her.
I wanted to know...was she a "tourist" like myself, or were her wounds much deeper?
Did she lose her husband, a sister, a friend at Ground Zero?
I really liked how this picture turned out.
I took it as we rode the ferry to Ellis Island.
The Twin Towers would have been part of the skyline.
I loved Ellis Island. Everything it represented--hope, dreams, hard work--I found it very touching.
Our navigational skills in New York were basically null. We got so ridiculously lost, so many times! I bet everyday we had to ask for directions at least 5 or 6 times! Thank heavens for the NYPD...they were everywhere and always willing to redirect two giggly tourists! These two asked us lots of questions about Utah and Mormons. We talked to them for probably at least ten minutes.
This couple was from Australia. While we were trying to find Rockefeller Plaza so we could watch the Today Show be taped, about 6 blocks away, we had to pull out our trusty map (since we were lost again). I looked down the street and had to laugh because there on the street corner was this couple looking at the same exact 3-D map and looking every bit as confused as we felt! We asked them what they were trying to find and wouldn't you know it? The were also going to the Today Show! So, we were lost and found together!
By the time we made it to the show, we felt like old friends. They knew a lot about Mormons and Utah because he was a preacher by profession. He had done a lot of studying about Mormonism and although he did not share our beliefs, he and his wife very much respected our Mormon history and had a great interest in the sacrifices and faith of our pioneers. Part of their holiday to America had included retracing some of the pioneer trails. I still have the business card he gave me. By the way, the day we saw the Today Show, anchor David Bloom was present. He died a few months later of a blood clot (I believe) while reporting in Iraq. (On this particular day they were doing a tribute to Disco...Thus, the groovy attire.)

I wasn't a big fan of the Empire State building.

I went to it so I could say I did (and to pay homage to "Sleepless in Seattle"),

but our visit there was brief. Blame it on a little thing called acrophobia.

Here we are in Central Park.

I loved New York and would love to go back someday!

It's definitely one of a kind as I've never seen anything like it.

(If you love New York, too, click on some of the New York blogs

and links I've got in the sidebar.

My favorite is A NY-Odyssey.)


-Rachel said...

Wow Hope, this was a great time to come into your blog! I loved the trip to New York, and the past, present, future post. That was a good way to catch up. May I just say that you make a fabulous red head. (I love red heads!) And that you've grown into such a beautiful woman! You always were a cutie, but now you're stunning! Thanks for finding me :)

Wonderland Pearls & Purses said...

Yay! That was a super fun post. Made me reminisce as well. Brett. The LUCKY DOG.

Arah said...

so jealous. I want to go to New York so bad. Matt went on his mission to New Jersey, just across the river and snuck over there a few times.

Tif said...

Sounds like so much fun. I've never been there, but it is definitely on my list of places to go someday.

"The democracy will cease to exist when you TAKE AWAY from those who are willing to work AND GIVE to those who would not."

Thomas Jefferson