After our slow start in the city we had a lot to see the last few days. On Sunday we went to Rockefeller Centre where there were hundreds of American flags, patriotism gone mad! It had a lovely atmosphere though, lots of families having lunch. After that we headed to the southern tip of Manhatten to catch the Staten Island Ferry. For some reason this was free, and was a great way to see the skyline of Manhatten and the Statue of Liberty. You still can't go up the statue itself so there was no point going to the island it's on for $12 each. It's a fantastic symbol for the city though, and something we'd always wanted to see.
On returning to dry land we walked thorugh Battery Park which was a real tourist trap, to Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Centre. It was a difficult place to visit but has to be done. It was very emotional as all the images we had seen on TV came flooding back to us in the context of what was right in front of us. Nothing has been built on the site yet, it's just a hole in the ground. Some people were photographing the area which seemed pretty disrespectful and it was hard to watch people treating it like a tourist attraction.
On Sunday night we went for Helen's official birthday dinner in the Village which was overpriced but very nice. It was all a bit fashionable for us! The nightlife here isn't really what we hoped it would be, everything is very expensive and even bar staff expect a 20% tip. However on Monday (after a day's shopping) we did find a nice bar near where some of the fireworks went off from so we celebrated Helen's birthday properly in the end! The fireworks were good although a bit overlong at half an hour, it wasn't nearly as crowded as we thought it would be either. The atmosphere in the city was good and the bar undercharged us so it was a great night all round!