We left early on Friday morning, along with four of our friends, taking the train from downtown Fredericksburg to Penn Station, landing in the heart of everything in Manhattan ... and only a few blocks from our hotel.
There are only two tracks at the station in Fredericksburg, Track 2 and Track 3 ... weird.
After checking in and stashing our bags, we set out to see some of the sights.
View of the Chrysler Building, as seen from an intersection while we were crossing the street.
One of the famous lions in front of the NY Public Library.
I bought this blue coat specifically for this trip ... doing what I could to prepare for what should have been frigid Christmas week weather in New York. (It is a wonderfully warm Woolrich coat, bought at Goodwill for $8.99) Who would have thought that we would be treated to record-breaking warm temperatures for our trip? Friday evening was the last time the blue coat saw the outside of our hotel room.
The time and temperature display in the window at NBC's Today Show studio window at Rockefeller Plaza.
The Christmas Tree!!
Not-so-flattering photo of us, in front of the tree.
Our next stop, after surviving the hordes of people at Rockefeller Center, was the Empire State Building. Along the way, we were approached by street vendors offering premier access tickets to the Empire State Building's observation deck for an astronomical price. My Public Service Announcement for the day is this: Do NOT believe the street vendors. Go to the regular ticket line, pay the real price (which is a whole lot less), and enjoy the satisfaction of not having been taken advantage of by conmen.
The observation deck is on the 86th floor!
The top of the Empire State Building, all lit with Christmas colors.
What a view!
The purplish area at the bottom of this view is the ice rink at Rockefeller Center.
We also stopped at Saint Patrick's Cathedral, which is undergoing an extensive restoration and is covered inside and outside in scaffolding. Even with most of the cathedral sheathed like that, it was still beautiful and awe-inspiring.
As we walked back to our hotel, we enjoyed some of the store windows, which NY is famous for at Christmas.
Saturday morning, we had 10:30 entry tickets to see the 9/11 Memorial. This was a must-see for our friend, who once had clients and weekly meetings in Tower Two of the World Trade Center, and lost two friends when the towers went down.
I was unprepared for the emotion and serenity of this place, even with the crowds that were there. The simple pools with falling water, which are in the footprints of the original towers, mask the city noise. It's a very powerful place.
The new Freedom Tower.
The Survivor Tree, a Callery Pear, was the last living thing that was removed as crews cleared the debris from the site. It was nursed back to health, and stored at a local nursery, and replanted in a place of honor.
We grabbed a quick lunch nearby. The pizza was delicious!
Next stop was Trinity Church, with its beautiful architecture and graveyard, where Alexander Hamilton and many others are buried. (You already know how much I love to spend time in a good cemetery ... this one is fantastic!)
One of the spires of Trinity Church, as seen from Wall Street.
Next, we wandered on Wall Street.
The view from the George Washington statue in front of Federal Hall (which was closed).
We also did a bit of shopping at Tiffany's, to buy a Christmas present for our daughter.
At this point, it was time for us to return to the hotel to get cleaned up and spiffy for our evening activities ... delicious dinner at this restaurant ...
and a show!
After the show, we walked down Broadway to our hotel, passing through Times Square and seeing some more store windows ... these were at Macy's.
Sunday, we only had until lunchtime before we had to head to the train station to go home. We passed the time by wandering through Macy's, shopping and soaking in the atmosphere.
There's the Empire State Building.
Beautiful lighted swags hanging from the ceiling just inside the door at Macy's.
Old wooden escalator, still in service on one of the upper floors of Macy's.
More beautiful windows!
Bye bye, Macy's. The clock says that it's time for us to go.
We walked back to our hotel, collected our belongings, stopped into this French bakery in Korea Town to pick up sandwiches and pastry to eat on the train.
This trip was such a whirlwind, and I loved every minute of it. We spent quality time with great friends, got turned around on the subway, were treated to the world's scariest taxi ride (which included a right-hand turn through a red light across three lanes of traffic.) There is so much to see and do in NYC, so a return trip (or two or three) are definitely in order.