Sorry I’ve been away again for some days. I fell sick on my third day of my vacation. I think my resistance was way low as I was so tired when I left Chicago and didn’t get enough sleep after my relatives’ Christmas party ended up right after midnight. I must have had at most three hours of sleep before my brother-in-law came to pick me up to drive me to the airport for my 6 am flight to New York.
Once there, my friend Myla already had a full schedule where to bring me. After a brief lunch at the apartment in Park Avenue, we walked to St. Patrick’s Church for the 2:00 pm Christmas Day mass. We strolled through Central Park and then watched the window displays on Fifth Avenue all the way to St. Pat’s. It was only later that they told me that that was about 40 blocks.
After mass we went to the Empire State Building. We tried seeing it at daytime but because of the long lines, by the time we got up there it was already dark. By the time left, we didn’t have time to go back to the apartment, we went right away to The Radio City Hall to see the Rockettes.
At first I said I didn’t want to see it again as they also have it here in Chicago but my aunt encouraged me to go saying that it’s different at The Radio City. Sure enough it was like seeing a different show all over again and I ended up enjoying it.
After the show, Myla and her niece, Malou, walked me behind the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. The air was festive although the bigger crowd has thinned tremendously. Malou said earlier when she walked there you can’t even go through the thickness of the crowd.
On Thursday, Myla has taken a reservation online to visit the Twin Towers or the site of the 9/11/2001 Memorial. In the morning while Myla went to work, I spent my time taking pictures of Central Park. That must have been the only place which was not crowded. After three hours, I stopped by a coffee shop to warm myself with some soup and Myla warned me not to order anything heavier as we were going to an eat-all-you-can salad buffet. Little did I realize that it was a Whole Food Store.
I live two blocks from Whole Foods now but their buffet in New York was nothing like here and it was so dirt cheap. I think it was less than $10 for a pound of a wide variety of salads. And you can also have some hot items. I picked samosas to go with my gourmet pasta salads, chicken, artichoke, anything and everything you can dream of. I’d love to go back there next time I’m in New York.
Then we took a long bus ride to the Twin Tower Memorial. We got there just in time for our 3:30 reservation but there was a big crowd of people who must have had the same time reservation. Even before we could move, hail started falling down and then it was wet snow. The lines were long and moving slowly. We were lucky to carry an umbrella but it didn’t help much – it shielded us from the stinging blow of the hail but we still all got soaking wet, my feet were.
Myla asked me if I wanted to change my mind but we were already there. I remember all those who perished on that faithful day, I thought it is just to pay respect for sacrificing their lives that we say a prayer for them. We were standing there while their families’ lives were forever changed and thousands vanished in seconds. How can one leave such hollowed ground?
By the time we reached the Memorial, after saying our prayers and taking a couple of pictures it was time to leave.
I think the fountain was a fitting memorial. It was tastefully done. The names of those who died were all carved on the stone that surrounds the fountain. All that rush of water sounds like the collective cry of a nation and the melting snow on the granite stone like tears of those who were left behind, the families, all of us.
Later I told my friend we should just go home, we can’t go to the Statue of Liberty anyway because of the fog and it was just too darn cold and I was already feeling miserable. Am sure she was more tired than me because she also worked that day but just won’t admit it because she wanted to see to it that I saw everything.
That night the first thing I did when we reached the apartment was take a long hot shower, downed two Advils and 2000 mgs. of Vitamin C and drank plenty of hot tea. The cold came anyway.
New York is never meant to be seen in one visit. So I plan to go back.