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USA D1: Brooklyn, Financial District and the bright lights of the big city

I would hardly call it a quality night’s sleep, but vaguely refreshed we trotted down the road to our first priorities of the day: local SIM card and coffee. Both successfully acquired, though the coffee strength was a bit meh.

We descended into the subway system to head across to Brooklyn. Now most people consider me organised or a planner or something, and when I tell them that Mike takes that to a whole ‘nother level their eyebrows tend to shoot up into their hairline. Well case in point: from his research Mike knew where the subway station was we needed to catch, the types of multi tickets we could buy, and where we needed to get off. It was brilliant.

Brooklyn has a leafy promenade which we walked along, enjoying the views back over to Manhattan. Enjoyable though it was, peaceful it was not thanks to the roar of traffic below and the constant thump of the earthworks constructing new developments where the piers used to be.

Brooklyn riverfront development


Brooklyn riverfront park

After further strolling through ‘Dumbo’ we walked over Brooklyn Bridge. Not sure I realised you walked along the centre, rather than along one of the sides. Glad to have seen this amazing structure up close.

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

Padlocks on Brooklyn Bridge

Skyline from Brooklyn Bridge

It was time to move into the Financial District with photo stops including the historic St Paul’s Chapel and Trinity Church – both with cemeteries that I enjoyed a quick poke around in – and of course, Wall St.

In the grounds of St Paul's Chapel

In the grounds of St Paul’s Chapel

Trinity Church from Wall St

Trinity Church from Wall St

There was a ridiculous queue of people to get their photos taken with the front of the Charging Bull - not so many people at the back :)

There was a ridiculous queue of people to get their photos taken with the front of the Charging Bull – not so many people at the back 🙂

The 9/11 memorial was a big feature of the day. Access is tightly controlled and we took the precaution of booking a time to visit – it didn’t seem to make any difference on the day though, despite there being a constant thick stream of people. The long access way included a security scan and about three different checks of one’s visitor’s pass. Once inside though you’re free to roam and take in the site. The scale is breath-taking, the engraved names extending right around both tower memorials, adorned only with the occasional mini flag or white rose.

9/11 memorial

The Survivor Tree - actually a pear tree which was rescued from 9/11, nursed back to health and replanted at the memorial site

The Survivor Tree – actually a pear tree which was rescued from 9/11, nursed back to health and replanted at the memorial site

Down to the water we went, heading along and around Battery Park to the Staten Island ferry terminal. This free service is an excellent way to see the financial district skyline from the water, not to mention some of the islands and a green lady holding up a torch thingy.

Battery Park

Lower Manhattan from the Staten Island Ferry

Statue of Liberty

On the return journey a local man began chatting to us. He turned out to be a retired fire fighter and pulled out a photo showing him on the scene on 9/11.

Legs were most definitely starting to creak by now but the day was not done. Back into the subway and over to Soho where we had a few blocks to walk, past a multitude of arty places with arty people inside them. Mike was on a mission: to get to the Burton store. He well and truly ticked that off the list with a large bag of stuff leaving with us.

It was dark and we were hungry. We walked past places and none of them seemed right – then we found ourselves in the neighbourhood of Katz’s Deli we had read about. Famous in New York, and yes a tourist trap, but fantastic place.

He may not look it but he's a very happy boy in Katz's Deli

He may not look it but he’s a very happy boy in Katz’s Deli

We caught another train to West 42nd Street to see the spectacle that is Times Square at night. It was as ridiculous as we expected.

Times Square

Times Square

By then we’d been on the go for 12 hours and bodies were protesting loudly. We walked back to our hotel and to our relief found a shop on the way to make the last important purchase of the day – beer, RTDs and chocolate.

Daily stats:

  • Number of squirrels seen: 17, give or take
  • Number of successful squirrel photos taken: 0
  • Layers of meat in Mike’s deli sandwich: 8
  • Number of people in Times Square: 137,523
10 Comments Post a comment
  1. What a wonderful set of photos. All of Your photos are enjoyable. My favorite one is the bull photo!!!

    11 October 2013
    • Haha thank you – other females were crouching down between the bull’s legs (next to the items which make it a bull) which was even more amusing!

      14 October 2013
  2. Janice Strong #

    Fantastic Hayley, really interesting and the photos are great.
    Janice xxx

    11 October 2013
    • Thank you very much, Janice!

      13 October 2013
  3. Marnie #

    Yarh!!! This’ll be us in a couple o’ weeks!

    11 October 2013
    • It’s like we’re your scouting party or something.

      12 October 2013
  4. GREAT photos and narrative! I felt like I was walking with you.

    12 October 2013
    • Thanks very much. That feedback will help keep me going – it’s hard work keeping a daily post going given our itinerary, not that I’m complaining!

      13 October 2013
  5. YOu can certainly pack a fair bit into a day! I’d love to go to the 9/11 site, must have been very poignant.

    14 October 2013
    • We’ve been paying the price with sore legs, feet and backs! More training next time. The memorials are simple (in a sense) but powerful.

      15 October 2013

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