NYC Holiday 2 Jan

We started the day a bit earlier and caught the Downtown tour to Ground Zero. We were there for much of the day and visited the 9/11 Memorial visitors centre and Gallery. I was very moved by the whole experience of just viewing the gallery, and that was before we even started the guided tour around the Ground Zero site. The centre is run by many volunteers who are one way or another connected the the WTC and 9/11 and so are the guides. There were 2 guides on our tour and it was very informative and thorough, about an hour and half. Near the end of the tour our 2 guides told us about their connections with the events of 9/11 and the first guide lost nearly all her belonging as she and her husband lived in a block of flats 2 blocks away that had caught fire, the second guide lost her cousin Joe only 40, a husband and father to a 9yr old girl. It was interesting and saddening to hear how the days progressed for family of victims in the days and months following 9/11. It was months before the medical examiners got in touch with Joe’s family when they had found a piece of his elbow, and a total of 8 pieces of him in the further months. I welled up as she was telling us about it. It’s inconceivable to imagine what the families went through.
The site itself is a construction site at the moment. We could just see the footprints of where the Twin Towers stood from where our guides took us and the trees that have been planted. The new towers being build are coming on and new Tower 1 reached the half way mark of 52 floors a few weeks ago. The progress is interesting and I would certainly love to visit in a few more years when the site is complete and the memorial museum open. The tribute centre creates a great spot to see artefacts from the tragic events and connect with people who were directly affected by that day.
We walked a bit further south with the plans of taking the Brooklyn tour but it was running that day, but we did see the damaged monument that used to sit between the feet of the 2 towers at Ground Zero. It has been left in it original tattered state as it was recovered from the site. We got back on the Downtown Town for one stop (same annoying tour guide from the day before, what are the chances!) and had dinner at Pier 17. Very disappointing food that was over priced! But interesting views anyway. We caught one of the last tour buses back up to Times Square then took a subway to Macy’s. What a store! So big and so much choice and variety! We only looked at the first 3 of the 9 floors as we were getting quiet tired. Then headed back to the hotel to relax and get an early night for our last full day.