Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New York, New York

The taxi driver, Thomas got personal and started telling us about his life. Thomas was full of jokes. It was laughter for most part of the journey. It sort of changed my idea of ‘a wrong place for a vacation’ made the night before. However, when we reached our hosts' house it turned to bewilderment. We were given a room that was so small even our luggage could not go inside. In fact, it was not fit even for one person. I was not very happy. After some discussion and telling the housekeeper the picture on the website was misleading, we led to a house next door and given a room there. That was a little better. 
There was a balcony outside the lounge and from there I get a spectacular view of the skyline of Manhattan.  New York City! Skyscrapers and big buildings, which I have only seen on TV. I could not wait…I just had to go down to the city. We left almost immediately after dropping our bags. 
NYPD car, a mounted police officer and a place, which I have watched so much on the television...New York City! I stood there tilted my head up to look at the skyscrapers. Suddenly I felt like a midget.  "We are going to walk around a bit," said hubby. "We will start sight-seeing tomorrow," he continued. With an unfeigned feeling of joy, I replied, "I am already sight-seeing."
Times Square
We were back in New York City (NYC) the next day to start our sightseeing according to my husband. Wall Street was our first location, as husband has interest in Stock Exchange. It was only our second day and my feet had started to tire. I found out that New Yorkers do not walk. They sprint. Everyone seemed to be in a hurry going oh...somewhere! My dear husband was beginning to sprint as well. I had to walk very fast in order to keep up with him. By the time we reached Wall Street, I was sweating. The other thing I noticed was there were people here, there and everywhere. I had difficulty walking without minor 'accidents'. It was either someone stepped on my foot or I walked into someone. I told myself I have to learn to walk properly—the New Yorkers’ way.
Husband was happy when he saw the NYSE building. I was not. I walked up and down Wall Street and stood pondering. "What are you looking for?" shouted husband from across the street. "I am looking for the bronze bull", I replied. A blank look from H, either he has forgotten or he knew nothing of it. From my memory, the bull stood just in front of the Stock Exchange building.  It was puzzling, as it was not in front of the NYSE building. I could not find the bull. A security personnel walked past us and H decided to stop him and ask.  He directed us to another street, Broadway. 
The Charging Bull or sometimes referred to as the Wall Street Bull was visible as we approached Broadway. There was a line of people all waiting to take some pictures. Civilised people was the thought that ran through my head. Both of us stood in line and waited patiently.
"Touch the testicles," I heard someone (not my husband) telling me and I did as told. Hmmm...What is it with bulls' testicles? Do they have magical powers? In Milan, it was also bulls' testicles and one has to step on it and turn around for good luck. In this case, I not only touched it, I held it in my hands and geez they are huge. We took many pictures with the testicles (sorry but I have to be precise) and with the horns too. Everyone was very cooperative waiting for their turns and helpful too. We took pictures for one another even though we were strangers.
Line of people
Charging Bull opposite this building-26 Broadway
The National Museum of the American Indian is just a few blocks away. We went in for a quick look. (No entrance fee.) 
Federal Office Building
Our next place of visit was the World Trade Center Memorial site. A sunny day in Winter gave us a comfortable walk. It was quite a distance but there was no other way to reach it except by foot. To visit the 9/11 Memorial you can either get free tickets at the Preview site or online. It was something we did not know prior to the visit but we were lucky as we near the Preview site. We made a donation (required) and obtained two tickets. Together with the others we took a walk to the Memorial site.
Before we entered the memorial site, we had to go through a security check akin to that of the airport security. There was some waiting to get to the security point. There was a long queue. Going through the security point was a breeze. The staff were very friendly and guided everyone through.
Map of the layout of the pools 
North Tower (1 WTC) aka The Freedom Tower
Times Square New Year's Eve Ball (at the very top)
It was around 5:30 pm when we walked to Times Square. The sky was getting dark and the area was crowded. We nipped inside an eatery for a drink and by the time we got out, the crowd was even larger. Everyone seemed to be in such happy and harmonious mood. There was so much activity in every corner. We walked around to soak in the atmosphere.  It is hard not to feel joyous. 
Skyline of Manhattan in the evening
We always return to a spectacular view of the skyline of Manhattan. In winter, the sky gets dark earlier and even if we reached 'home' at 7:00pm, it would be nightfall.:o)

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