Mary's 2014 Trip to NYC travel blog

Panoramic view of the 9-11 Memorial

From two towers, one World Trade Center

The 9-11 Memorial in the heart of New York City

A white rose for a victim of 9-11 on their birthday

The new World Trade Center touching the face of God

Side chapel in St. Patrick's cathedral

Beautiful Gothic ceiling in St. Patrick's cathedral

A touching portrait in a side chapel of St. Patrick's cathedral

Gilded saints in St. Patrick's cathedral

The ornate organ and rose window in St. Patrick's cathedral

A mosaic awaits restoration in St. Patrick's cathedral

When we got up this morning, my daughter and I saw on the news that it was supposed to start raining about 2 p.m. so we thought we'd better leave straight away for the 9/11 Memorial so we could avoid the rain. Unfortunately we ended up on the subway for two hours since there was construction on the R line and we didn't understand the announcement and ended up going from Brooklyn all the way around to Queens before we realized the train was not going to stop at the location we had been given for a transfer to the F line that would take us to the memorial. We ended up having to backtrack and transfer at a different location. So, by the time we finally arrived it was almost noon and the rain had started two hours early.

I had a hood on my coat but my daughter didn't. Luckily, there were street vendors offering to sell umbrellas for only $5. Despite the rain there were still a lot of visitors hunkered down under their umbrellas determined to pay their respects. We followed the crowd around the new World Trade Center that is only finished on the outside back to the reflecting pools marking the locations where the original Twin Towers had been located. Seeing the names etched into the stone reminded me very much of the Vietnam Wall in Washington DC. The raindrops on the stone seemed to represent all of the tears that have been shed for these innocent people as did the waterfalls that empty into the rectangular abyss in the center of each pool.

My daughter pointed out that whenever it is one of the victim's birthdays, a white rose is placed by their name. So we looked around the perimeter and saw such roses. I managed to take some pictures of the reflecting pool with one of the white roses in the foreground. We also noticed that the names of victims lost in Flight 93 and the Pentagon were grouped under gold lettering defining the sites of their loss.

I had my new Olympus TG-3 camera with me that has a reflections filter so I took a picture of the new World Trade Center using the filter and tipping the camera so I could recreate two towers from its single shaft. I don't know how tall the Twin Towers were but the new World Trade Center is so tall it's crowning antennae pierced the storm clouds.

We retraced our steps and caught the subway again to take us to Rockefeller Center. Although Rockefeller Center is world famous it is really just a shopping center. The food court looks out onto the ice rink where a few skaters braved the rain to skim across the ice. We were getting hungry but wanted to find a nicer sit down restaurant rather than eat fast food. Unfortunately, the one we decided on was closed because of an event so we went outside and wandered up and down 5th Avenue but didn't really see anyplace to eat.

So we went back inside Rockefeller Center and selected a Mediterranean restaurant called Cucina & Co. Although it looked like a casual eatery, we were able to order "real" food there after all. I ordered a rotisseried chicken and asked if the chef could substitute slivered Zucchini with leeks (one of their vegetable sides) in place of the mashed potatoes and he did! Margaret ordered a pasta dish topped with ricotta cheese that she said was really tasty, too. For dessert we ordered a piece of New York style cheesecake to share. When it arrived it was absolutely enormous!! I was afraid it was one of those cheesecakes that are almost like slicing into a block of cheddar cheese but it wasn't. Although the cheesecake had a lot of body to it, it was still creamy and really delicious. Instead of a crust it had a thin layer of very fine sponge cake. Margaret and I could only eat about half of it but we weren't going to let it go to waste so we asked for a container so we could take it back to our room.

Before catching the subway back to our hotel, we decided to walk across the street to St. Patrick's Cathedral. It is being restored and they allow visitors to come in and look around. Of course, it reminded me very much of the Gothic cathedrals I saw in France last year. In the cathedral's gift shop I bought a Christmas ornament that looked very much like a Byzantine cross.

On our way back to our hotel, we actually did spot a rat in the subway tunnel. Margaret insisted on taking a picture of it so she could post it to Facebook! We got back to the hotel a little after 6 p.m. so Margaret decided to go ahead and drive back to Pennsylvania since she lives only about 2 1/2 hours away rather than wait until morning since she had a lot of errands to run the next day. She called me a couple of hours later to let me know she made it home safely.

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