Sunday, November 10 – Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Day three was our final day in NYC, and we had a few things left on our agenda. We had breakfast at the hotel and checked out.
9/11 Memorial & Museum
Our first stop was to the 9/11 Museum. We had been to the Memorial the day prior, but there is a very large museum underground at the site of the Memorial (which is the site where the Twin Towers once stood). I had never been to the Museum, so this was something I was interested in. This turned out to be one of the most difficult and impactful museums I’ve ever been to.
The 9/11 Memorial Museum’s permanent collection is an unparalleled repository consisting of material evidence, first-person testimony, and historical records of response to February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001 and the ongoing repercussions of these terrorist events. To date, the Museum has acquired more than 70,000 artifacts that document the fate of victims, survivors, and responders.9/11 Memorial: Collection
Of these tens of thousands of artifacts, some of the items that stood out the most to me is the last steel column to be removed from Ground Zero, destroyed NY firetrucks and ambulances, the antenna from the top of the North Tower, building materials and steel fragments, recovery flashlights, scorched uniforms, burned wallets, shoes, and more. You aren’t able to take any photos of the collection items, but they can all be viewed with descriptions on the virtual collection gallery.
The Memorial section of the Museum is made up primarily of oral histories and memorial sections for the nearly 3000 victims of 9/11 and the 1993 WTC bombing. There are also rotating exhibits.
This is a museum I truly can’t accurately describe and do it any justice. We spent nearly three hours there, and we could’ve spent all day. We went first thing in the morning when it opened, which was a good choice because it got busy quickly. It definitely takes a lot of time to go through and take in everything you are seeing. It’s an emotional experience, so be prepared for that.
Statue of Liberty
The next and final destination was going to the Statue of Liberty. For this, you buy a ferry ticket for Statue Cruises which provides you a roundtrip ferry ride and entrance onto Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty Museum. It also provides entrance to Ellis Island the Immigration Museum which is a neighboring island and on the ferry route. Entrance into the Statue of Liberty pedestal or crown is separate, though.
You arrive in Battery Park and cross through Battery Place to enter the security screening which is similar to airport security. This was another time only packing a carryon served us well. We had already checked out of the hotel and had all our things, and you are not allowed on the ferry or island with large bags.
After a three-part screening process, we were on board the ferry which took about 15 minutes to get to the island. It was cold, like very cold. This is November in New England, so it was to be expected. I wanted to sit on the outer deck of the ferry to have the views of the skyline and Liberty Island as we approached it, but there is an interior deck for the more faint of heart. (41° F = 5° C)
We arrived on the island and were able to go up to the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty with the ticket we had purchased (separate from the ferry ticket). It was even colder up there, so my mom did a quick loop around the pedestal and then went back to the warmer interior. I wasn’t too far behind her!
We walked around the island a little bit and went into the museum on-site. For more detail about the Statue, the museum, and the island, check out my blog post from when I visited in August.
We ran into some difficulty getting to the airport. We missed the ferry by a few minutes and then had to wait for the next one, then we ran into traffic in our Uber. Needless to say, there was an extreme amount of anxiety as we counted down the minutes we had left. We arrived to the airport with less than 45 minutes until departure. I was on the phone with the airline asking about rescheduling and missed flights with no real options provided. We had planned to get there 1.5 -2 hours ahead, so how we got down to 45 minutes was beyond us, even accounting for traffic and the missed ferry.
Once we arrived, security was long. There was a woman in front of us in the next line, and I begged her to let us in front of her with my anxious and tear-filled voice, and she let us threw. Then I hugged her and my mom gave her $5. We got through security, but it took extra long because of my mom’s cast. They probably spent 10-15 minutes inspecting it, while I’m pacing anxiously. Now JFK is a large airport, so we had to take a bus to our terminal. At this point, we knew the gates had closed (as they typically do 15 minutes before), but we were going to at least try. The bus was delayed but finally arrived. As soon as we landed at the right terminal and ran to the gate, we basically collapsed at the counter and asked if the gates had closed. Then the agent pointed around, and we saw the gate area full with people. The flight had been delayed about 20 minutes! My mom said, “There is a special place in heaven for you, sir!” We took the biggest sigh of relief, had a few tears, and recuperated while waiting for the flight. Then, we were on our way back home!
PS: My mom specifically asked for this photo to be included in the blog post. These were her two saving graces to get through her hand healing, cleaning, showering, etc. It gave us a good chuckle because she kept pulling large items out of her carryon, and I had no idea how she managed to fit it all in there.