See Forever in NYC

We skipped the beach this year (so far) and made New York City our spring break destination. Our oldest son, 17, will take a senior trip with high school classmates in June, triangulating the Alps with visits to Germany, Switzerland, and France. We thought visiting NYC would be appropriate before he travels to some of Europe’s grandest cities.

I won’t attempt to write a New York City travelogue in a 300-word blog — we worked hard at exploring and didn’t begin to cover the ground we would have liked to explore in a five-day trip.

▲ Kristen in Battery Park, looking ready for her TV commercial for insurance debut.

Our hotel was in Battery Park, located in Lower Manhattan. Post 9/11 and the 2012 super storm Hurricane Sandy, the southern tip of Manhattan has undergone a huge transformation in recent years. Commercial real estate brokers and foreign investors, doing deals over coffee or cocktails, were fixtures in our hotel dining room.

We arrived on a Sunday night. Early Monday morning we walked straight to the National September 11 Memorial, guided by the looming view of the new One World Trade Center Tower and Observatory, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Approaching the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial — all 2,977 names of those killed in the four coordinated terrorist attacks carried out by al-Qaeda are inscribed in bronze panels surrounding the both pools — I immediately broke into sobs — so enormous was the experience of standing right there.

▲ A white rose is pressed into an engraved name of a person killed in the 9/11 attacks. Beyond the North Pool is the World Trade Center Transportation Hub, known as the Oculus.

The following day we bought tickets to the One World Trade Center Observatory. Visiting was a hassle-free and exhilarating experience. Guests are whisked in a minute-long elevator ride to the 104th floor 360-degree viewing area. While there are other fantastic views in NYC, including the Top of the Rock (for great views of Central Park) and of course, the Empire State Building, we didn’t want to miss, as the OWTC marketing suggests, the opportunity to “see forever.”

▲ All of Manhattan is spread before your eyes at the One World Trade Center Observatory, the tallest building in North America at 1,776 feet tall.

Check back soon for a few more blog posts on our trip to New York.

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