|View of lower Manhattan after hiking across the Brooklyn Bridge.|
We had visited New York in December, but decided to embrace the ancient Talmudic belief that you can never be too thin, too rich or visit Manhattan too often!
Atlanta chums Margaret and Peter, also in need of a chilly getaway, joined us on the trip north the first week of February, adding a whole new level of fun and adventure.
We spent the first afternoon zig-zagging our way about Midtown, strolling by Central Park and the Plaza Hotel, St. Patrick's Cathedral, Radio City Music Hall and Rockefeller Center, Times Square and the Broadway Theater District.
|Yummy way to end the day when visiting NYC.|
An hour or so later, after a deli-licious dinner of corned beef and hot pastrami, chopped liver, matzo ball soup and a choco-licious slice of warm babka, we managed to shuffle our way onto Broadway and back to the Theater District.
Margaret and Peter were off to see "Come From Away", the Tony Award-winning musical focusing on the residents of Gander, Newfoundland and the thousands of airline passengers stranded there following the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
Wendy and I had seen -- and enjoyed -- the musical on our last trip to New York, so we decided to spend the evening with Bernadette Peters, aka Dolly Levi, and say "Hello"! It was a splendid, toe-tapping choice and a grand way to end the day.
Up early the next morning, Peter greeted us with the news that New York's a wonderful town, explaining giddily that the Bronx is up and the Battery's down. Okay, I'm playing a little fast and loose with his words so I can get the lyrics of "New York, New York" into this post. But I'm not exaggerating the ebullient vibe that had us all psyched and ready to take on another day in the city.
|Wendy and Peter crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.|
In recent years we've visited the "footprint" fountains on the site of the downed Twin Towers and the nearby museum raised in honor and memory of the nearly 3,000 victims of the 9/11 attacks. But we'd never actually been inside the new building.
The structure towers over lower Manhattan, 104 stories of glass and steel soaring a breathtaking -- and symbolic -- 1776 feet high. There are 54 high-speed passenger elevators, a special few that can zip you up to the One World Observatory on the 102nd floor in a stunning 47 seconds.
Both the ride -- the elevators are equipped with digital screens that offer a unique glimpse at the history and growth of the region -- and the observation deck are 21st century amazing!
Wendy and I enjoyed all the bells and whistles that greeted and welcomed us, took time to watch one last video that set the scene, then stood in amazement as the screen lifted revealing a jaw-dropping vista that stretched off to the distant horizon.
|World Trade Center towers over lower Manhattan.|
If you're lucky -- and we were -- you can see forever. A gaggle of skyscrapers, roadways, bridges and green space dot the landscape. It all blends together like the phantasmagoric work of a master builder, a mighty ode to the greatness of America.
During a 30-minute stroll, high above it all, we managed to spot Central Park and Rockefeller Center; the United Nations, Chrysler and Empire State buildings; the Manhattan, Brooklyn and Verrazano-Narrows bridges; Times Square and the Statue of Liberty.
After making our way back down to earth and meeting up with Margaret and Peter, we wandered about Greenwich Village, visiting Chelsea Market, the nearby High Line, a 1.45-mile-long elevated linear park, greenway and rail trail, and Washington Square.
We then began a slow and chilly trek up Fifth Avenue. In fact, trekking pretty much filled the next day or so.
|Margaret takes a little spin on a carousel in Brooklyn.|
We then stumbled about SOHO, NOHO and the East Village before making our way to Rafele -- can you say sangria? It's one of our favorite New York restaurants just the other side of Bleecker Street in the West Village and only a hop, skip and a cannoli away from Rocco's, a pasticceria worth visiting if you're in the neighborhood. We were and we did!
Weary, but happy, Wendy and I bid our traveling companions a fond farewell the next morning and returned home -- Margaret and Peter hung around Gotham another two days. To paraphrase Julius Caesar: We came, we saw, we ate, drank and conquered. And so it goes!