Life with the Shirley Family

Life with the Shirley Family

Sunday, February 13, 2011

May We Never Forget

Every trip to NYC should include a visit to Ground Zero. I have now been three times now and have seen changes each time. It is a sobering trip, but something needed in order to remember. To remember the awful tragedy that took place on September 11, 2001. I remember I was home with Nathan who was not yet one. He must have been taking a nap, because I was watching Seventh Heaven. I remember that Dad called and said to turn on the TV because a plane had just flown into the WTC. I remember that I turned to the news, thought "that is awful and how could an accident like this happen?" I turned back to my show that was almost over because I didn't think it was anything but an accident. For whatever reason I can't remember, I didn't finish Seventh Heaven, but turned back to the news instead. At that time, I finally realized that it was not an accident. That a group of hate filled people had attacked our country and killed many innocent Americans. Our lives were changed forever that day.

So that is why Jennifer and I decided to go the the WTC Tribute Tour. This is a tour led by people who have been affected personally by 9/11. Our guide was named Howie and he lives about 4 miles from Ground Zero. We also had two other men who talked with us. One was a guard at the WTC and had just left his shift that morning before the attack. The other man lives within view of the site and was in his apartment when the second plane flew over it before hitting the second building. It was a moving tour that focused on what happened on September 11 and how the buildings themselves collapsed. We also learned how and when the memorial will be finished. They are planning on finishing the memorial by September 11, 2011 for the 10 year anniversary. With all the political hemming and hawing that has taken place around the construction, it was good to see it finally happening and to see the patriotic spirits of our guides. Howie called the halfway completed tower the Freedom Tower even though he said that is not it's official name. He also said that it will be a little higher than the original Twin Towers and that "we are going to build it back and build it higher." He was a true New Yorker who was loves his town and his country and doesn't want any terrorist to break his spirit. He also has to go for a physical every year to keep check on any possible problems caused by the poisonous products that were in the air after the buildings collapsed. That is something I had not thought about. I knew that when Dave and I had visited the site in Feb 2002, it was very dirty and dusty looking. Howie explained that FEMA had sent people 2 times to clean his apartment because things like copier toner and other office products, in addition to building dust and debris were in the air after the attack.

The memorial they are building will be in the footprints of the Twin Towers. They are planning two waterfalls over the perimeters of the footprints with the water cascading over the names of all the victims in NYC, the Pentagaon, and in Pennsylvania. There will be lots of trees around and it will be a peaceful place of reflection. It sounds like a fitting memorial and it will be right beside the new Freedom Tower that is halfway finished in terms of height. I definitely plan on visiting this memorial the next time I am in NYC. The rest I can only say with the pictures.

The firefighter's memorial and our guide Howie. He works for a cummunications company and helped get power back on in the city after the attacks.

The building on the right is completed and I think he said about 80% filled with working office space. The tower on the left is the Freedom Tower and the height it is now is about half of what it will be when completed. He said the memorial will be completed by Sept. 11, but I don't know if that included the building.

It is hard to see in this picture online, but behind the red crane is the footprint of Tower 2 that collapsed. To it's left, behind the building is where Tower 1 was. That building on the left is the halfway completed Freedom Tower.

This is a memorial that American Express built to remember the workers who were in the AE office in the WTC. Eleven men and women died in their office. This has a quartz in the middle of a pool that has eleven sides. Above it, eleven water holes randomly drip drops of water into the pool to make ripples.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Our Final NYC day

Our last day in NCY was rainy. We both had our rain boots though, so we got on the subway and headed downtown to get a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. (We had planned on doing this on Friday, but due to our sleeping in, we didn't have time.) Our glimpse, however, was obstructed by the fog, so we hopped onto the ferry and rode out to get an up close look at her. We were able to walk around the statue, and then on the way back, we got to stop at Ellis Island. It was a wet and breezy trip, but a good time.

Many of the subway stops had nice tilework that told you the name of the stop.

The ferry ride

This display was neat because is shows the flag on one side, and the people who make up our nation on the other.

After our boat ride, we went to Canal Street and walked to Chinatown. We did not stop to buy any knock off purses (mainly because we had no room in our bags for them!), but I did buy a $5 umbrella that broke within 5 minutes! We also stopped at an authentic Chinese restaurant to get an eggroll appetizer. Right beside the ducks was where we waited while they cooked them!

The menu was in Chinese...glad they understood "eggroll" in English!

Jennifer beside the ducks! We had the opportunity to order duck later at our dinner, but somehow it was not too appealing!

For the entree, we went to Little Italy and ate at Da Nico. We had a hard time deciding where to eat with all the men standing outside their places wooing us with promises of homemade pasta while blowing kisses! We enjoyed our lunch and even heard the men in the back talking what we assumed was Italian and saying "Forget about it". It was fun.

A walk through Soho was the most crowded of our entire trip, so we decided to head uptown to Macy's. It really is a huge store and the wooden escalators were fun to ride on.

Shopping in Macy's!

Shopping at Times Square to get our last minute gifts included a turn on the Toys-R-Us ferris wheel. A store with it's own ferris wheel is definitely unique! Too bad we had to ride the Nickelodeon car with Sponge Bob and Rugrats!

Superman in a super big store!

Riding the ferris wheel!

We both love Castle!

We bought giant Hershey bars at the Hershey store!

We had our last dinner at a Yum Yum's Thai restaurant. It was, well, yummy! Then to our final show, Mary Poppins. It was, well, supercal..., sorry, didn't learn how to spell that!

We ended our evening with cheesecake at Carnegie Deli. Although we didn't get one, we couldn't help staring at other people's sandwiches. They were at least 6 inches tall full of corned beef! The cheesecake was better than the first night's and Jennifer was finally satisfied with her dessert!! A chocolate torte cheesecake! It was to die for! And a great way to end an awesome trip! Thanks Jenn for going with me. And thanks Dave and Rob for watching the kids for us to be able to play! Can't wait until you turn 40 Jennifer!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Last Friday I celebrated my 40th birthday with my sister in NYC. It started out by us getting to sleep in! We slept until 9:00! Which meant that we got a late start. After a filling breakfast at Junior's, we took the subway to downtown Manhattan and made our way to Ground Zero. We were able to take a tour of Ground Zero, but I am going to put that in a separate post.

They had grits in NYC, but we didn't trust them to cook them right!

Jennifer found Jack Bauer!

After our tour, we hurried uptown to make our reservation at Bobby Flay's Bar Americain restaurant. It was undoubtedly the best meal we had on our trip. We shared the Kentucky Hot Brown, a Gala apple salad, and hot potato chips with blue cheese sauce. There were no leftovers!

A walk was needed after our lunch, so we headed to Central Park. Apart from the shows, this was probably my favorite part of the trip. The park was still covered with snow except for the sidewalks, so it was a beautiful scene. And the weather was great! No rain on this day. Just a brisk sunny day. We found Strawberry Fields and lots of places you would see in movies or TV shows. It was a fun walk.

"I'll be there for you"...the fountain from Friends

Strawberry Fields...I am not into the Beatles, but thought the Imagine circle was neat!

The former restaurant Tavern on the Green that is now a visitor center

The Alice in Wonderland statue

Heading back to our hotel in order to change for the show, we stopped at FAO Schwarz. We even got to see two people play a song with their feet on the big piano.

The piano from the movie Big

The Godiva storefront with a desk made totally of chocolate!

We hurried to change in order to get something to eat before the show at 8:00. We found a fancy grocery store that also had a cafe. Dinner was quick but tasty because we were on our way to see Wicked! This play was an interesting twist on how the Wicked Witch of the West became "wicked".

Our restaurant for the evening!

Ready to see our first Broadway play of the weekend at the Gershwin Theatre

But the evening would not be complete without dessert after the show. We went to Roxy and both ordered cheesecake.

Mine was plain and good, but Jenn ordered some toffee version and was not as pleased. She was not having good luck with desserts on this trip! But at least we had one more day to change this...

Thursday, February 10, 2011

My trip to the Big Apple

Well it has been a week and I am now able to make the time to remember and think about my birthday trip to NYC. I keep thinking that last week I was doing "_____" at this time. Well, literally, last week I was ice skating at this time!

But to start at the beginning, Catherine Bell! You think that you might see someone famous in a big city, but I got to sit two rows in front of someone we spent years watching on JAG, who now lives in the Old Village in Mt. Pleasant (I overheard her conversation!), and stars in Army Wives. But even though my bag sat beside hers, I never talked to her. Sigh.

Well everything went smoothly on the trip up. I met Jenn without a problem; we made it into town without a problem; and started our evening around 5. This meant dinner! We found an awesome pizza joint and split a pizza and antipasta salad. Everything was delicious. No complaints in the food department thus far!

John's Pizzeria

We stopped in Times Square to look around after dinner. What is so cool about things in NYC is that everything is so big and so bright! The M&M store makes me want to eat M&M's just because! And everything is so tall! I felt like Deborah Kerr in An Affair to Remember when she got hit by the car because she was looking up! Fortunately I did not get hit by a car, but I almost ran into many things because I was looking up!

The Statue of Liberty M&M style

Another giant M&M!

Times Square in front to the sign for Wicked

Since we both have always thought it would be really cool to skate in Rockefeller Center, we headed there. The walk wasn't too bad and we got there in time to skate for about an hour before they closed for 30 min to resurface the ice. It was around 8:30 by then and we had had enough skating for the night. So off to Serendipity 3 for dessert. We both have seen Serendipity and liked the movie, so this seemed reasonable.

The ice skating rink at Rockefeller Center

Getting around NYC isn't too hard because all the streets are numbered, but sometimes I do get turned around and a little surprised with where I am. Like that night when we ran into Central Park when I didn't think we were supposed to! But we made it to Serendipity and got seated right away. (You tend to not have as many crowds when you visit places in the middle of winter!). I ordered a caramel sundae that was divine. Jennifer got the "famous" frozen hot chocolate. She was glad she tried it, but was not too impressed.

The decor was very cute inside!

The best caramel topping!

Jennifer's frozen hot chocolate

Well we decided that the hotel was too far away to walk back to at 10:00 at night, so we got on the subway. But it was only 10:00, so we decided instead to take the sub to the Empire State Building. We were very happy to run into 2 nice Jewish young men who instructed us to "get off here" before we missed our stop!

View from the top!

We paid our fee and rode the elevator to the 86th floor. It was a great view and I braved my fear of heights. Well almost! I did tend to stand behind the higher walls when looking over. After walking around the top of the tower several times, we made our way down and walked back to our home for the weekend. Everything seems so close in Manhattan on paper, but when you start walking, things are not as close! By the time we got back to our room, I did something I usually don't do. I fell asleep right away the first night in a strange place. And I didn't wake until 9:00 the next morning! But that is another day...

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cubbie's Trip to NYC

I am still trying to find the time to sit down and blog about my awesome NYC trip, but my responsibilities are getting in the way! But one responsibility, my job in Cubbies, helped me get some pictures together as a treat for the Cubbies this Wednesday night. Last week, the children were told that Cubbie went to NYC with Mrs. Amy, so I decided to take him. He had a great time!

BTW, in the picture where Cubbie is sitting by my luggage, the blue bag to the left belongs to Catherine Bell!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Loving Friends!

I am so anxious to blog about my NYC trip, but I can't start that without first writing about the loving welcome I received on my return to Charleston. No it is not the nice hugs I received at the airport from my guys; or the almost, but not so clean house I came home to. It was my front yard with two big signs declaring that I am getting old! There was also lots of forks in my yard and some TP draping my car and trees. I think there was only one roll of TP used. Since I got home so late, (and yes, I did miss my plane in JFK for some unknown reason that I will blame on my tiredness and the heat of the airport) I left everything out to be picked up the next day. Well this morning I was very tired and did not want to get out of bed. I was laying there thinking how I wanted to stay and how the rain sounded so nice and was good for sleeping and...on no, the TP is getting wet! One thing I can say about my loving friends is thank goodness they are frugal and did not want to waste more than one roll of TP on my yard!