New York, New York
New York Travel Blog› entry 2 of 5 › view all entries
June 28th, 2006 – by: alygally
I took one of those "hop on, hop off" bus tours around town. I would highly recommend these to anyone who wants to get a good feel for the city but doesn't necessarily want to be pressured into seeing absolutely everything on the average city tour. I took the Downtown Loop, which lasts about 2.5 hours without any stops and was $40 for an adult ticket. It took in all of Lower Manhattan, which was just fine for me considering the time constraints.
I got off at the stop before Ground Zero, at St. Paul's Chapel. It's a church that George Washington used to frequent, and despite being only a few blocks away from the World Trade Center, not a single pane of glass was broken when the towers went down. It became a makeshift hospital site for those wounded on 9/11. Afterwards, the mayor of London presented the Bell of Hope to the church, which was cast from the same foundry as Big Ben and the Liberty Bell.
I decided to walk to Ground Zero from there, mostly because I wanted time to collect my thoughts as I approached. I'm not sure what I was expecting, and I'm also not sure if I was relieved or disappointed to see that ground had already been broken for the construction of the new World Trade Center and so, despite a memorial set up in front of it, the site itself was full of construction vehicles and workmen. I still can't quite put words to my feelings, as I'm sure most people feel when they see it for the first time. All I can say is that I was deeply moved by the whole experience.
I got back on the bus at Ground Zero and rode it until we got to the United Nations, where I got off for my last stop and took a tour. This was, by far, the highlight of my day in New York. That morning they had a flag-raising ceremony, inducting Montenegro into the UN. I wasn't there for the actual ceremony, but I still felt like I had been part of history, since I was there so shortly thereafter. My only complaint about the tour was that it didn't last longer - it was about an hour, and I wanted to spend all day wandering the halls and just taking in the atmosphere.
I had to board the bus and get back to JFK almost as soon as the tour was over. Time for Paris.
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