A Tiny Bite Out of a Big Apple

Lovely fountain and skyline view at Lincoln Center
Lovely fountain and skyline view at Lincoln Center

A tiny bite out of a big apple (aka “how to do New York City in three days”) is all the time we had in order to meet our scheduled RV maintenance appointment in northern Indiana.  I didn’t want to leave the east coast before seeing just a bit of NYC, especially the Statue of Liberty, 911 Memorial Museum, and Central Park.  We didn’t even begin to scratch the surface but I accomplished what I set out to do, and then some, knowing we would need to come back for an extended period to do this incredible city justice.  With the aid of train, subway, ferry, and lots of “sole power”, we took to the streets of Manhattan and the surrounding waterways.

The Staten Island Ferry provides views of the Statue of Liberty while cruising between Manhattan and Staten Island, but if you’re looking to get up close to this lovely lady or climb into her pedestal or crown, there are other ferry operators happy to take you to Liberty Island.  The only option available to us when we booked our statue cruise was onto the island and given how crowded the ferry was, I was content to just stand and gaze up in awe from her feet.

The 911 Memorial and Museum was an absolute must for me.  You can feel a solemn reverence wrapped around the two square pools that now stand where once the Twin Towers touched the sky.  Images of the planes crashing into the towers replayed in my mind as I watched the water cascading into the pools beneath the black granite slabs that display the names of all those who lost their lives that fateful day.

As we walked into the museum the somber weight of 911 surrounded us as the carnage of September 11, 2001 was reenacted – personal effects found in the debris, the twisted wreckage of Ladder Company 3 fire engine, the Survivor Stairs, the Remembrance Room covered floor to ceiling with photos  of the victims, putting faces to the many lost.

Phone messages left to loved ones by those on the hijacked planes, on the upper floors of the WTC or at the Pentagon can be heard as you wander through the halls. Last words of love and years of family memories encapsulated in those final few seconds on an answering machine, reminders of how their world stopped that day.

A haunting image described by a local resident, which will stay with me forever, was displayed on a wall next to a photo of men and women falling to their deaths from the dizzying heights of the Twin Towers.

‘She stood at the ledge, hair askew but business suit in place. I watched as she calmly smoothed her skirt into place, one last modest act, then stepped into the void, choosing this death over that of the flames.’

A trip to New York City wouldn’t be complete for me without a stroll through Central Park, a stop for a beer at Tavern on the Green, and visiting Strawberry Fields, where a memorial mosaic honoring John Lennon can be found.

We discovered High Line Park just days before our arrival to NYC and both agree it was one of the more enjoyable stops in our whirlwind visit.

The High Line, built in the 1930’s, was constructed as a West Side improvement project to elevate freight train traffic 30 feet above the streets, removing the risk of having dangerous trains running through Manhattan’s largest industrial district.  Trains ran until 1980, carrying meat to the meatpacking district, agricultural goods to the warehouses, and mail to the Post Office.

In 1999 a community based non-profit, Friends of the High Line, stepped in when this historic railway was at risk of being demolished.  Today it is a sustainable public space about 1.5 miles in length, a monument to the industrial history of New York’s West Side.  Much of this park runs above the Meatpacking District and the Chelsea and Clinton/Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods.

This unique space blends lush plant life with a seamless walking surface, with impressive views of the Hudson River and the city skyline.  It combines viewing platforms, a sundeck, eateries, water features, and areas where performances and exhibits are held, a verdant oasis hovering above the busy streets.

Although these were the highlights of our short time in NYC, below are a few street scenes of a very fast-paced city.


60 thoughts on “A Tiny Bite Out of a Big Apple

  • I was grinning when you said how to do NYC in three days, for that was how fast our visit was there too. There is something about NYC that makes it a city to visit, although I would not live there.
    Beautiful pictures of a bustling metro.

    • I couldn’t live there either but I would like to spend a few weeks in Manhattan and have the time to take in a couple of shows. It’s a shame we went there directly from Washington DC, another crazy-busy city.

  • My goodness! You sure saw a lot of New York, in the short time you were there. It looks like they did a wonderful job of the museum for 911. I was impressed with their saving those tracks so that the public can get some great use of that area. I love it when a city does what it can with what they have, to improve their image for, not just for the tourists, but for the locals, also. I love your header photo of the N.Y skyline. You sure are taking some great photos. Thanks for showing me things I’m sure I will never get to see, in person.

    • This was not the way I would like to tour NYC but you have to do what you can with the time you are given. 😉 I love the High Line Park and I think I read somewhere that other cities are trying to adopt similar plans, which is wonderful.

  • Gorgeous header photo!

    We were in NYC years ago. I think the 911 Memorial is a must also. The statue and quote by that lady is stunning. I can’t image what might have been going through her mind. God bless them all!

  • Touring NYC in three days, that is challenging. It’s such a big city. Love Central Park. I haven’t seen the The 911 Memorial and Museum, is on my must visiting list. Great post!

  • This is really great. I came to just have a glance over the post, as I don’t have a lot of time anymore, but I wanted to come to yours. And I found I was drawn in.

    I ended up with goosebumps for two reasons. One was that as I was reading this, I was hearing Sarah McLachlan’s Arms Of The Angels. Two, was that my daughter and I watched the Liam Neeson film Non-Stop last night and she asked me if mobile phones worked on planes. I told her that we knew what happened on flight 93 (I got the number wrong, I thought it was 91) because of the calls and texts from the passengers on that plane. It gave me goosebumps last night, but the thought of it, and seeing your photos brings tears to my eyes today.

    Thank you for sharing this very moving post LuAnn.

    • My pleasure Lisa. I have always wanted to visit as well and knew if we didn’t take a few days now, I would probably never get back there.

  • LuAnn I have never been to NYC but it is high on the list. I appreciate your guidance in the top picks for a short trip. Your tour through the 911 memorial was very powerful.

  • Our trip to the USA included a stop over in NYC. It was after the few days rush here to see this and rush to see that, that we realised to see and enjoy all that NYC has to offer it would require a month or two visit… we were there in April after 911 and as such all we could see was the cleanup that was going on, and that from a fair distance, yet still one could feel the atmosphere surrounding the attack…. I must admit the only other time I’ve really experienced such feelings was with our own 911 type attack when two of Rhodesia’s civilian Viscount aircraft were shot out of the skies by SAM missiles aimed from terrorists hands. The follow up murders of survivors at the site by bayoneting and shooting turns ones blood to fire… careful control of ones feelings is a must, and it was this very feeling I got when standing looking at the devastation, yet you look around and don’t know who to take your revenge out on…
    I loved the trip to the Statue of the Lady and also central park, but there was just too much we wanted to see in the time we had to see it and in the end we rather enjoyed what we could and vowed to return one day… with our exchange rate now that is hardly likely to happen, but no one can erase the memories we have of what we experienced…. Loved your post as usual … Thanks LuAnn for bringing back memories of a few years back … (12 years ago feels like yesterday)

    • NYC is definitely a city that needs to be savored. I made a long list of what I would like to see before we got there, then whittled it down knowing we only had 3 days.

      We here in the U.S. have always read about terrorist attacks around the globe but 911 made it all very real and in many ways took away our innocence.

      I hope this finds you continuing to recover nicely Bulldog. You and Linda are often in our thoughts.

  • I enjoyed your tour, LuAnn. We have yet to visit the 911 Memorial Museum. It must be such an emotional experience. We watched a documentary about the High Line, a while ago, and it’s definitely on our ‘to do’ list. Great photos. 🙂

    • Thanks Sylvia. When the 911 Memorial Museum opened recently I knew I needed to go. It was emotional but a very nice tribute to so many who lost their lives.

      We thoroughly enjoyed the High Line and understand that other countries have since adopted some of the same concepts.

  • Glad you were able to get to visit your must see sites. The 911 Memorial is something I don’t think I could visit. I would be a blubbering idiot.

    I’ve never heard of the High Line Park. Very cool idea.

    It seems a show is always the reason we visit so we don’t get out of Manhattan. And we are only there for the day. Glad you traveled around and got a great flavor:)

    • I am now on the computer and just saw your new header photo…beautiful! What a great shot! I read your blog initially on the phone so I missed that wonderful skyline.

    • The 911 Memorial Museum was emotional for me as well Pam so I understand your reluctance.

      As for the High Line, it was one of the highlights of our trip, very well thought out.

      I had a couple of plays in mind that I wanted to see but given our limited time, we decided to save that for another visit.

  • Thank you for the tour! I would love to go there again one day – I was 13 years old when I visited -it was such an amazing experience coming from a little town in Denmark to NYC 🙂

    • This was my first visit. I can’t believe it took me so long to get there. I would love to go back and see the sights at a more leisurely pace one day.

  • I felt a wave of sadness just reading about your visit to the 911 Memorial. It would be enormously difficult to go there, but I would, just as a way of honoring those who died so tragically. Thank you, LuAnn, for being willing to share the fun moments of your travels as well as those that are painful. It looks as though you had a very fulfilling visit to NYC, even given only three days there.

    • The 911 Memorial and Museum was very emotional for me but I knew that I needed to see it. Wish we would have had more time to experience this fascinating city. Will just need to come back someday and go at a slower pace. The High Line Park is really quite interesting.

  • Hmmm…what I actually meant to say was thank you for being willing to share the painful moments as well as the fun times. It’s always easier to share the fun moments.

  • I remember reading about Friends of the highline in a National Geographic, I think it’s a great idea and makes for nice meeting places and a sense of community.

    When I think back through the last 20 years, 9/11 seems to be the only bit of proper history, I mean by world stopping event that people all know where they were…I can only imagine the atmosphere surrounding the place.

    • The High Line is quite an amazing idea, beautifully designed.

      Sadly most people remember just where they were on that fateful day.

  • Lu,

    Your words are always so powerful and moving. You really touched me with your comments about the 911 Memorial and Museum. I still have goose bumps on my arms. I must say that you bring the written word to life.

    I miss you!


    • Thanks so much Sonya. I knew that the 911 Memorial and Museum would be an emotional experience for me and I wasn’t wrong. Some of the most haunting images for me of that day were the men and women falling to their deaths. When I walked into one of the alcoves and saw some of those same images, along with stories from local residents, I was overcome with emotion. That story, which I paraphrased, will leave a lasting impression.

      Hope all is well with you and your family Sonya. One of these days we will get back to Yellowstone. I look forward to spending some time with you again.

      Happy holiday and big hugs to you!

  • What a beautiful and moving post. Your description of the 9/11 Memorial was especially stirring to read today on the 4th of July… Thank you!!

  • Thanks for the Tour.

    Reminds me of our first visit to NYC many years ago – pre-RV travel days. We had a long list of “Must See” stuff to see in two days – damn near killed us. We have been back many times – but not yet in the RV – It is on the list.

    • It is definitely not the best way to see a big city, but when time is limited, you just make the best of it. Thanks for stopping by. 🙂

  • Wow LuAnn: looks like a great visit to NYC! I would love to see the Statue of Liberty and the 911 museum. I am always there for conferences but next time I need to make sure I add in some tourist time!

      • Are you back in Indiana now or still traveling LuAnn? How much of the US have you and Terry now covered? What’s been your favorite? Maybe this is a post idea for you!

      • We are now in MI, traveling up the west coast. We have been to I think 32 states and I can’t really say what my favorite is yet. Until we see them all, I don’t know how to answer that one. 🙂

    • It was a very moving experience for me but one I am thankful to have had. We really enjoyed the High Line, just wish we would have had more time in NYC.

  • It looks like you ❤ New York in a heartbeat. 🙂 I know I would be if I ever get the chance. How much did the ferry cost?
    911 Memorial Museum sounds goosebump-y to be in.

    • The Staten Island Ferry costs nothing, but if you want to go over to Liberty Island, I believe it cost us about $15/pp. The 911 Museum was very moving, as is the memorial in Oklahoma City that we visited a couple of years ago.

  • You seem to have managed quite a bit in such a short time Luann. And I love your photos. New York is very high on our list, but we have been putting off a visit to the US, despite having a sister living in New Hampshire, due to time constraints. Soon hopefully 🙂

  • What an emotional experience! Such a touching post. Thank You! I have been offline for a while but wanted to tell you how much I love your new Blog Photo Header. Gorgeous!

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