Making It There

Author: Alecia Pirulis  

New York 1

I came back from my exciting, fun-filled adventure in the Big Apple with tons of photos, amazing memories, and an inexplicable rash on my ankle.

My New York experience was a roller-coaster adventure. I loved the architecture, the vibrancy, the never-ending sea of people, the cacophony of different languages, and the endless supply of entertainment. My feet ached from endless walking; my bank account shrank before my eyes with ticket prices, toll roads, and train fare from New Jersey (where we stayed) into Manhattan; and my kids were as wide-eyed at the Museum of Natural History as they were in the subway tunnels. It was as exhilarating as it was maddening—proving that New York truly is like no place else on earth.

Our trip began with a stroll through Central Park. From historic Tavern on the Green to the Great Lawn, this park requires a full day for exploration. There’s a carousel, Strawberry Fields, a skating rink, a nature sanctuary, two ponds, curvy bridges, Belvedere Castle, and beautiful gardens. Dating to 1857, this amazing park in the middle of Manhattan is a National Historic Landmark. It consists of 843 acres – if you plan to go, wear good sneakers. I was wearing sandals and ended up with several blisters.

The next day and wearing somewhat better shoes (although still sandals), we decided to go exploring in the (yes, I’ll say it) concrete jungle. We began by taking the Staten Island Ferry to Battery Park. The ferry is a free trip and offers one of the best views of the Statue of Liberty. Battery Park, located downtown, is a beautiful historic park that contains many monuments, including the Sphere, a bronze statue saved from the World Trade Center Plaza after 9/11. Castle Clinton, located in the park, was built in the early 1800s and served many purposes, one being America’s first immigrant receiving center before the construction of Ellis Island. From Battery Park, we walked to the Empire State Building. The massive lines moved slowly, but we finally reached the top and enjoyed clear views of the city in all directions.

During the week, we explored all kinds of shops, Grand Central Station, Penn Station, and the WTC site. Since my husband is from Staten Island, we visited there for what he promised was “the best pizza place in the world” and I think he was right. We traveled into Brooklyn to find a restaurant my son saw on Food Network (and they really did have the best roast beef sandwiches I’ve ever tasted). And, of course, we spent a full day in what can only be described as a wonderland of a museum – the Museum of Natural History.

This was not a relaxing vacation – I don’t think it is possible to ever completely relax in a city that is on full-speed all the time – but it was exciting, educational, and a lot of fun. We’re already planning the next trip to see all of the things we just didn’t have time for on this adventure. But next time, I’ll be more prepared – better walking shoes, socks, and rash ointment (just in case).