Wednesday, May 2, 2012

New York: First Day

Today started off as adventure to say the least. When were scheduled to leave the hotel at 7:45, but probably didn't leave until probably 8:15. We were already behind schedule and then our driver didn't even know where to go! He was going to take us to New York then to New Jersey in order to get on the ferry to go to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Eventually we arrived at the ferry around 9:45 and started our day! The ferry was in Battery Park. Battery Park was built during the War of 1812 with cannons and such, but not a single round was ever shot because the war never made its way this far North. I was really excited to go visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Unfortunately we didn't get off and see the statue because it is under construction, but we did get some great pictures! Seeing the Statue of Liberty was pretty breath taking. There it was, this huge monument that represents our freedom. I learned in one of the rooms on Ellis Island that the Statue of Liberty was actually shipped here in crates and stored for about a year until we figured out where to put the Statue. On Ellis Island I saw this room it was called the Dormitory Room. The room was models to look like the old rooms that immigrants had to stay when they arrived on Ellis Island. It was really sad to look at. It was stacks of stacks of really thin beds and three sinks. I can't imagine the hardships people had to endure just to arrive to America. The ships could take anywhere from a week to a month with very little food and hard conditions. After we visited the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island we went to the United Nations. I was kind of disappointed in this tour. The building was huge and it was cool to see all the 129 nations flags standing outside of it. Did you know the United Nations building technically isn't in New York? It technically is on international soil since it represents all nations, it does not follow any of the US laws and has their own police department and fire department. Another interesting thing was outside of check in is a broken sculpture from Italy. The sculpture is purposely broken and won't be filled in and fixed until word peace is achieved. Once we arrived inside and started a disappointment because of the tour. It was an audio which isn't a bad but there was some things I wish we could have learned about. There was this huge rug that took up a whole wall and everybody was taking a pictures of it, but we never learned what it was. I eventually did because I went through the audio tapes just to learn what it was because it sparked my interest and it actually turned out to be pretty cool. Other than that I wish the tour could have been more interactive or that we could have seen a one of our diplomats. The last huge monument we visited for the day was the 9/11 memorial sites. We started off with Saint Paul Chapel. I got extremely choked up in here and do just thinking about it. I have always been interested in the history of 9/11 and the remembrance of it and to actually be where it occurred was just shocking to say the least. At Saint Paul Chapel that is where the volunteers took breaks during the 8 months they worked non-stop to clear the debris where the towers were. Inside the chapel there was still memorable of letters, jackets, pictures, and anything from 9/11. At some points I had to walk away because if I didn't I probably would have cried. I read a letter from a little kid it said something like "I drew this for you. I hope it makes you feel better". It is sad to think that little kids were here and had to face this tragedy. I didn't know anybody who was in the towers or near the area on 9/11, but it just is amazing how this one event has changed America forever. The memorial is a nice remembrance of the victims. It isn't as touching as the chapel, but it was nice. There was lots of names and it was sad to see all the names because there was a lot. I would like to return when it is all done the museum in the memorial and when the Freedom Tower will be done.  I would like to return just in generally and see things when I want to and not have to be rushed on a tour. After we finished the memorial we went to dinner and Times Square. Times Square was AWESOME! It truly is the city that never sleeps. I got two shirts for $10 all together! What a DEAL! We will be returning tomorrow and the next night, hopefully for more than hour because there is so much to do! I would like to see more street vendors and visit more stores. We only got to visit Toys R' Us and Disney. Toys R' Us had a Ferris wheel inside of it and this cereal box size of nerds. Tomorrow will be another adventure! YAY!

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