Our third day in New York City started with a huge breakfast. On the advice of the front desk staff at the Andaz Fifth Avenue, we walked a few blocks to Pershing Square Cafe, located right across the street from Grand Central Station. The breakfast was delicious, filling, and very reasonably priced by Manhattan standards. It was a Saturday morning so we did have to wait about 20 minutes for a seat, but the line moved quickly. We definitely recommend Pershing Square Cafe if you’re in the area.
Grand Central Station
Since we were right in the area, we stopped by Grand Central Station to walk around and take some photos after we finished our breakfast. It really is such a stunning space.
Windows displayed “100,” celebrating Grand Central Station’s 100th anniversary
After we walked around Grand Central Station for a bit, we hopped a taxi to one of the Central Park entrances.
As we were walking into Central Park, we noticed a huge crowd at this one site, but we didn’t know what it was. Then we saw that this area of Central Park is called the “Strawberry Fields” area, and we realized that the site must have been a John Lennon memorial near where he was shot.
It was so unbearably crowded in Central Park, to the point that I almost wanted to leave. There was nothing leisurely about strolling around Central Park that day it seemed. There were these enormously long lines of people with children. The lines were moving quickly, but we had no idea what the lines were for, so we asked someone. Apparently there were Halloween-related childrens’ events in Central Park that day, like pumpkin patches. The families were waiting in line for those events.
But, we continued our walk. Luckily as we got deeper into the park, the huge crowds dissipated.
Here is the Bethesda Fountain area
We walked to the Bow Bridge in Central Park, which was undergoing some restoration, but was still beautiful.
We continued our stroll through Central Park to the Belvedere Castle area. Belvedere Castle has been Central Park’s official weather station since 1919!
There were some great views of Central Park after climbing a few steps inside Belvedere Castle.
After walking around Central Park for quite a while, we wanted to visit The Cloisters.
Anytime we mentioned the Cloisters to New Yorkers, you might have thought we were talking about going to the moon. We had asked front desk staff at the Andaz about the best transportation to get to the Cloisters and their jaws about dropped. In their assessment, it was very far away. But to be fair, they gave us some transportation options after their initial shock. Our feet were getting pretty tired and we didn’t feel like hunting for the nearest subway stop, so we just hopped in another taxi. Of course, the taxi driver had no idea what we were talking about. When we gave him the address, his eyes widened like we were asking him to drive us to California or something. But he got us there in about 20 minutes, and Ken and I enjoyed the time to rest our feet.
The Cloisters was amazing, but it was actually quite a bit smaller than I was expecting, especially for the admission price. (I later found out that the admission price is simply a “suggested” admission price.)
But it packed a lot of punch into a small area.
Beautiful stained glass windows.
Amazing columns indoors and out
Walking around the grounds
Enjoying the art and historical exhibits inside.
After the Cloisters, we were hoping to rest our feet for a bit back at the hotel before our 5:00PM entrance tickets to the 9/11 Memorial. We caught a bus that we thought would take us all the way from the Cloisters, near 196th Street, to a stop near our hotel at 42nd street. That day, we learned a very important lesson about how long it takes a NYC bus to go 100 blocks. We ended up getting off the bus at 100th Street and took a taxi to the 9/11 Memorial, and had no time to stop at the hotel for some rest. But luckily sitting on that bus for SO LONG rejuvenated our feet a bit!
Near the 9/11 Memorial Entrance
Freedom Tower under construction.
Walking to the 9/11 Memorial Entrance. The area is still very much under construction, so the access points are still a little disorganized
It was a very emotional experience to see the memorials. The fountains were stunning and I thought the entire memorial space was an amazing tribute to those who lost their lives on that tragic day. For those who don’t know, the memorials are located in the footprints of where the North and South towers once stood.
Each memorial contains the names of those who lost their lives. The names are grouped together by “association.” For instance, all the individuals who died that worked at the same company are nearby, fire battalions are grouped, the flights, etc.
Staff at the memorial place a flower on the names of victims that would have been celebrating a birthday that day. I found this to be especially touching
One of my favorite photographs from our entire trip.
There are electronic kiosks to more easily locate names at the memorials.
As sunset approaches, lights are turned on in the fountains.
After the 9/11 Memorial, we had some dinner and then went to the Brooklyn Bridge, with the intention of walking a portion of it, then setting up our tripods to get some good night time skyline shots, as well as some shots of the bridge. Well, by this point we were exhausted. The bridge was also having some renovation work done, interfering with our photos.
Plus, I started to get unreasonably freaked out as I noticed the tiny gaps in the pedestrian walkway slats that allowed me to see the traffic zooming by under my feet. I was better once we started walking again, but we turned around and decided to save our Brooklyn Bridge walk for the next trip to NYC, and actually start out on the Brooklyn side for the best views of the skyline.
So, we walked back the way we came and caught the subway at the Brooklyn Bridge station and took it to Grand Central Station, and walked a few blocks to our hotel from there. We were totally spent and glad to be back in bed for the night!