Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Looking Back: New York City with kids - The Bus Tour

Our second day in the city was spent touring and exploring aboard a double decker bus! We took the City Sights NY bus tour, which I highly recommend. This bus features only open-top seating, offering the best views. After all, who wants to sit below? Not us! If you are concerned about inclement weather, no worries - you can sport a complimentary poncho!

My mom, husband, and kids after our unexpected downpour from the top deck!

We were caught in a torrential downpour due to the fact that we were too busy sightseeing to bother to check the weather report...lesson learned! After the rain passed, however, we all had a great time. The commentary via our guide was humorous and informative. Of course the best part of the tour is hopping on and off wherever you please.

We loved seeing the Empire State Building and iconic Macy's on 34th Street:


....the Flatiron Building and Southstreet Seaport:


....neighborhoods such as Chinatown, The East Village, Greenwich Village, and the Lower East Side:


....and last but definitely not least, Ground Zero. While Ground Zero resonates with sadness of the lives lost on September 11, it also resonates with the American spirit, which rose above the terror that threatened us Americans on our own soil. During our visit in 2011, the Freedom Tower was still under construction so we spent most of our time in St. Paul's Chapel, which remained amazingly unscathed given it's close proximity to the World Trade Center. St. Paul's Chapel became a place of refuge for workers at the World Trade Center Site in the days following the attacks.

Inside St. Paul's Chapel

I remember watching the horrific events of September 11, 2001 unfold on TV while playing with my then-6-month-old baby girl. Her innocent, cherubic face, was a bright light on this harrowing day and the days to follow. Ten years later we were now reflecting together at the location of the attacks, she now a 10 1/2 year old girl.

My oldest daughter, age 10, thoughtfully writing out a remembrance card

After we spent time inside, we explored the grounds. St. Paul's Chapel held it's own in the history department prior to September 11. George Washington worshipped at the Chapel on his innaugeration day in 1789 while Rudolph Guiliani gave his farewell speech from the Chapel in 2001. Many other famous world leaders have worshipped here as well. We were all intrigued by the old cemetery in the back which is the final resting place of many notable people.

Beautiful, peaceful grounds and cemetery at St. Paul's Chapel

In the evening, we ate at what our kids proclaim is their "favorite New York restaurant", Ellen's Stardust Diner. The restaurant is located near Broadway so it's a great place for dinner, pre-show. We had a great time with the singing waitstaff who are clearly Broadway bound. What a fun way to end a great touring day.

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