December 9, 2017 – Our day didn’t start as early as the previous day, but we were still out the door by 8:15 am. We bought the earliest tickets we could for the September 11 Memorial Museum. Our tickets were $24 a piece and we bought them for a 9:00 am entry time.
I forgot to mention that the day before, it was looking like snow was a possibility for Saturday. We were bummed that we missed out on the snow in Atlanta, but at least we might be able to see some in NYC.
Sure enough, as soon as we walked out of the Occulus, flurries started coming down.
We stopped by the 9/11 memorial to get a few shots before the crowds got there and then we decided to go wait in line until the museum opened.
Once we entered, we went through a security check similar to the airport. Then we descended to the entrance of the exhibits. The tickets we bought did not include an audio guide, so we decided to pay extra at the desk before the exhibit to get them. In my experience, audio guides are always worth it, so we didn’t mind the expense.
We started the audio guide and made our way through each exhibit.
I won’t spoil it for you, but it’s probably the best museum I’ve ever been to. It was laid out so well, not too much in one place, and it seemed like the group tours were very limited which helped with crowding. I don’t care who you are, this museum will move you and make you extremely emotional.
The museum has main areas where various parts of the original buildings, as well as a fire truck, were on display. Also, there were rooms we could enter to experience different parts of that fateful day. I was doing pretty well until we reached the room honoring everyone who lost their lives that day. Again, I’m not going to spoil it for you and I didn’t take pictures out of respect, but I’m tearing up right now just thinking about it.
The final room, and probably the most gut-wrenching, was where they took us through the entire day from start to finish. I feel a bit guilty for having a tremendous amount of pain in my heart still to this day when I think about 9/11. I wasn’t there, I don’t know anyone personally who lost their lives, but it scarred me. Feeling helpless as a 6th grader watching people fall from the top of a burning building, knowing there was no way out. It stayed with me. I felt like going through this museum helped me deal with those feelings and emotions that were so hard for me to process and accept at such a young age. It also made me wonder how those who lost family and friends that day have dealt with it all these years. It must be crushing.
I didn’t mean to get dark on you, but it’s difficult not to when talking about such a horrible tragedy that affected so many. If you haven’t been to this museum yet, please do yourself a favor and go. Whether you’re from the US or just visiting, I think it’s really important to see at least once in your life.
We left the museum around 11:30 am. We were there for 4 hours. Make sure to give yourself enough time if you go. This is not a museum to rush through.
When we walked outside, the snow was coming down much harder than when we arrived.
I quickly realized I needed something to cover my head if we were going to be walking around in this all day. We hadn’t been outside for more than 5 minutes and my hair was soaking wet. Soaking wet hair + freezing temps = not a good day. So we found a GAP store nearby. Surely they would have hats.
We walked in and didn’t see a single hat. I asked one of the store people and they said the only hats they had were on the mannequins. I found one that looked decent and bought it. Even with 40% off, it was still $25. For a hat. I guess that’s NYC for you.
After I got some noggin protection, it was time for food! Eric found an Italian sandwich place near where we were so we went for it. We had been missing Italy anyway, so we needed our fix.
We made our way to Pisillo for some paninis. I got the Napoli (prosciutto di parma, buffalo mozzarella, arugula) and Eric got the Parma (prosciutto di parma, smoked mozzarella, roasted peppers, arugula). HOLY PANINI HEAVEN!!! This is where you need to go for lunch if you’re near the World Trade Center. It’s an absolute MUST. We accidentally walked into their coffee shop first, but their panini store is right next to it. It was a happy accident because I went to get a latte right after we were done with paninis.
Quick warning, the paninis are enormous. I could barely finish half of mine. We both would have been full off of one. Also, they only take cash.
After we gorged ourselves on the best Italian sandwiches outside of Italy, we stopped for a hot beverage at their cafe next door. It was equally delicious and Italian. Have I mentioned yet that everyone we interacted with in New York were super nice? I was a bit shocked. I had put up a wall to deflect the notorious NYC ‘tude, but we only experienced kindness and cheerful people everywhere we went.
After our Italian feast, it was time to go up to see the views from One World Trade Observatory. We decided to do this instead of Empire State or 30 Rock since it was the newest lookout spot in NYC.
We headed to the entrance which was inside the Occulus. When we entered, there was a guy standing there letting us know that there was zero visibility at the top because of the snow. We were so upset! We paid for tickets ahead of time, so what were we supposed to do? Luckily, they were so nice and allowed us to change our ticket time to the next morning. We chose the very first ride up at 9:00 am to leave enough time for us to make it to the airport for our flight home. I was a little worried we wouldn’t have enough time, but it was our only option at this point.
We were already in the Occulus, so we just decided to go back to our hotel for a bit to warm up, dry off, and put on more layers.
Watching the snowfall on the Hudson River from our hotel window.
After our quick break, we headed back out to the city. We were planning on meeting back up with Kinan and Sam at their apartment. Sam had to babysit, so we headed over there a little early so we could hang out with her a bit too.
It took us about 30 minutes by train to get from our hotel in NJ to their apartment near Columbia University in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.
We found their apartment and Eric called them from the outside to get buzzed up.
After we hung out a bit and had a couple glasses of wine, Sam left to go babysit. Then Eric, Kinan, and I decided to go grab bagels for dinner. Kinan took us to their favorite bagel place, Absolute Bagels, and I was so excited. We had really good bagels the day before, but I was ready to be blown away.
These bagels delivered! They were SO good. I could have eaten 10 of them.
After bagels, we decided to just walk around and experience NYC in the snow (even though it was dark). We wandered to Columbia University where they had pretty lights up everywhere.
It was New York’s first snow of the season, but we were the only one’s out frolicking in it in Central Park. It was fun and yes, that picture up there is Kinan destroying someone’s snowman; he hasn’t changed.
After we had our fill of snow, we decided to call it a night. Since we would be on a tight schedule the next morning, we wanted to make sure we weren’t too exhausted.
We said our goodbye’s and then we were off back to NJ.