In March 2016, we went to New York to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day there and then sailed from nearby Cape Liberty aboard the Anthem of the Seas on a Bahamas cruise. In NYC, we stayed down near the “new” One World Trade Center near where the Twin Towers once stood. I was reminded of that trip last month on the 21st Anniversary of 9/11. It’s hard to believe it’s actually 21 years since that world-changing day that is burnt forever into our memories.
I was working in the Exchange that day and several of the firms in the Twin Towers were firms we dealt with on a daily basis. Loss and devastation are suffered universally regardless of colour, race, geography or creed …. but working in financial services made 9/11 very real for me and my colleagues as we could relate to all of those ordinary workers who left their homes for their office jobs that Tuesday morning for the last time. Not forgetting also those killed on the planes and the police and fire fighters on the ground. RIP.
But this week’s blog is about the first leg of that trip - our stay in New York before the cruise, the rebirth that has taken place since 9/11 in the southern tip of Manhattan and what we saw at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade NYC 2016. Enjoy!
Wed 16 Mar 2016 – Dublin to New York
So, we took a mid-afternoon Aer Lingus flight from Dublin direct to JFK airport in NYC on Wednesday 16 Mar 2016. Here's our takeoff that day:
We had booked a transfer to the hotel with Viator and everything went without a hitch. Our hotel was the Holiday Inn Manhattan – Financial District down in Washington Street. For us, Lower Manhattan was the best choice of location as we were only staying a couple of nights, wanted to visit One World Trade Center and go out to Lady Liberty, Ellis Island and see Wall Street. We were on the 36th floor in room 3601, having views across the Hudson to New Jersey City as well as a window framing the One World Trade and 9/11 Memorial. We did not experience significant delays waiting for the lift/ elevator as we had been warned on TripAdvisor.
Above: Stunning views from our hotel room on the night of 16 Mar 2016 & the morning of 17 Mar 2016
We ate breakfast at the nearby Dunkin' Donuts on Rector Street which was great with the typical American bacon, eggs, muffins etc. We didn’t go hungry! George’s Bistro in the hotel is an option for evening meals but we ate at One World Dine for the wonderful food and experience. There is a great pizza place next door so you can take slices to the room (as did many guests judging by people carrying pizza boxes)! If you want a special meal, Morton’s the steakhouse is 100 yards up Washington Street.
We travelled uptown by subway and there’s plenty of subway stations nearby to the hotel. There’s also a Starbucks nearby if you’re a fan of their coffee. There are two good shopping malls nearby including the Oculus. Service at the hotel was great. But the main plus for us was the fact that it’s within walking distance to Battery Park and the ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island.
Thursday 17 March 2016
We awoke to a crisp, sunny morning perfect for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade that would be taking place along Fifth Avenue from 44th Street to 79th Street, beginning at 11:00 a.m. We made our way uptown and Fifth Avenue was once again a sea of green filled with shamrocks and leprechauns. The 2016 Parade was the 255th annual parade — considered the largest St. Patrick's parade in the world!! More than 200,000 St. Patrick's Day enthusiasts were expected to march, including Mayor Bill de Blasio who until that year had boycotted the parade because organisers previously would not allow LGBT groups to march under their own banners.
In 2016 the Grand Marshal was George Mitchell, the former U.S. senator who helped negotiate the Good Friday Peace Agreement in Northern Ireland – a fitting reminder of the importance of keeping the peace on the 100th anniversary of 1916.
Above: Us at the NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade - 17 Mar 2016
The NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade is one of New York City’s greatest traditions. The first parade was on March 17, 1762 — fourteen years before the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence. The first NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade was comprised of a band of homesick, Irish ex-patriots and Irish military members serving with the British Army stationed in the colonies in New York. This was a time when the wearing of green was a sign of Irish pride but was banned in Ireland. In that 1762 parade, participants revelled in the freedom to speak Irish, wear green, sing Irish songs and play the pipes to Irish tunes that were meaningful to the Irish immigrants of that time.
In 2016, the NYC Parade was reviewed from the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral by Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York. Since it began, this tradition of marching past St. Patrick’s Cathedral has remained unchanged with the exception of the address. In the early years, the Parade would march past the Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral (now Basilica) located at the corner of Mott and Prince Streets in SoHo. The 69th Regiment was the first group to lead the Parade up 5th Avenue. They were followed by various Irish societies of NYC, the 32 Irish county societies, schools, colleges, Emerald societies and Irish language and nationalist societies. Here is a small taste of what we saw:
Above: Just a tiny portion of what we saw in NYC on 17 Mar 2016
After the parade we wet the shamrock in an Irish pub…..but we left the cameras back in the hotel for that!! 🍺🍹😂
Friday 18 Mar 2016
We walked down to nearby Battery Park in the morning after breakfast to take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. There are great views of the harbour from the ferry on the way over to Lady Liberty.
'The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World' was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States and is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886. It was designated as a National Monument in 1924. Employees of the National Park Service have been caring for the colossal copper statue since 1933.
We had pre-booked Pedestal Access tickets with Viator. We enjoyed reserved access inside the Statue of Liberty. Our ticket included an audio tour and Park Ranger guided tour which was excellent. We stayed there a good while as it was such a lovely day and the views back to Manhattan were gorgeous!
Above: Just a few of the photos we took inside and outside the Statue of Liberty, NYC - 18 Mar 2016
Next, we continued our journey to Ellis Island to visit the world-class Ellis Island Immigration Museum, The American Immigrant Wall of Honor, and the America Family Immigration History Center. It has been estimated that nearly half of all Americans today can trace their family history to at least one person who passed through the Port of New York at Ellis Island. Now, nearly a century since the peak years of immigration, Ellis Island is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the National Park Service. I had been there before with Peggy but it’s always a very moving place to visit.
Above: Us on Ellis Island, NYC - 18 Mar 2016
After catching the ferry back we had tickets for the Wall Street Tour and 9/11 Memorial. We met our guide. Rachel, in the Financial District in Lower Manhattan and walked down Wall Street, NYC’s famous financial district, to learn about the history of the street, from the early days of 'New Amsterdam,' when the city was a Dutch colony. We took photos outside the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Hall, the iconic building where George Washington was sworn in as president.
Above: Outside the New York Stock Exchange - 18 Mar 2016
At Trinity Church we saw this beautiful church and heard stories such as the infamous Hamilton-Burr duel. We saw the Wall Street Bull, the iconic landmark of this area!
We finished up at the National 9/11 Memorial & Museum with the incredible man-made waterfalls of Reflecting Absence. This is the site we could see from our hotel room, the site of the tragic terrorist attacks that took place on September 11, 2001. We stood at the two enormous reflecting pools, the footprints of the original two towers, and read the names of the victims that are etched around the pools.
We nipped back to the hotel to freshen up and then headed to One Word Trade Center. Designed by David Childs of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, One World Trade Center is the tallest building in the United States, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the seventh-tallest in the world. The supertall structure has the same name as the North Tower of the original World Trade Center. The new skyscraper stands on the northwest corner of the 16-acre (6.5 ha) World Trade Center site, on the site of the original 6 World Trade Center. It is bounded by West Street to the west, Vesey Street to the north, Fulton Street to the south, and Washington Street to the east.
We went up the SkyPod™ Elevators which climb 102 stories in 47 seconds. This astonishing ride revealed the transformation of New York City from unsettled lands to today’s remarkable forest of skyscrapers. We then went to the One World Observatory to see the New York City skyline from over 100 stories above the streets – the highest point in the city. We took in breath-taking 360° views from the comfort of an indoor climate-controlled space. Really stunning views!!!
We finished off the evening with at the restaurant, ONE Dine, on the 101st floor! The New York inspired menus elevated our dining plans and inspired us to raise our glass a little higher. The meal was pricey but worth it for the memorable experience alone.
We strolled back to the hotel tired but happy after an amazing NYC day. And we still had the cruise to look forward to!!
TO BE CONTINUED…..
Bucket List Items Ticked Off in the above Blog 88
Number 57 - Travel General - 7 Continents
Other Blog Posts
Blog 11 - Sydney, Australia
Blog 12 - Hong Kong, China
Blog 17 - Beijing, Xi'an & Shanghai, China
Blog 19 - California, USA
Blog 27 - Scotland
Blog 28 - Barbados
Blog 29 - Canada
Blog 30 - Alaska
Blog 31 - Everglades, Florida
Have you ever visited New York City? Tell me about your experience in the comments section below.
If you liked this post, please share. Sharing is caring 😊
My name is Mary and this is my bucket list blog ...having survived a near-death experience. I hope it encourages you to "live your best life". See how I'm completing my own bucket list items. And let me know how you're getting on with yours!