NYC: Double-Decker Bus, 9/11 Memorial + Madame Tussauds

Welcome to Day 2 of my New York City adventures! Again, here's the warning (and apology!) in advance for a word heavy post, but I promise there will be a tonne of lovely photos included as well :) But before you go any further, make sure you've read day 1 which is linked here.

Our first full day in New York started off at Pure and Fresh, a cute little place literally a minute's walk from our hotel, where we had a quick breakfast. My mum had a bagel, my dad had just a coffee, and my boyfriend had Cheerios. I opted for a chocolate croissant and a Mochachino, for a bit of an indulgent treat to start off my morning!

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We then quickly headed a few blocks away to a pick-up location for the Big Bus double-decker hop-on-hop-off tours. We got a two-day pass and as it was unlimited for those two days, we were able to use the bus as many times as we wished within the two-day period. We chose to get picked up near the Empire State Building and take the Downtown line all the way to the 9/11 Memorial. The views from the open top floor were AMAZING. It was a chillier day, about 14 degrees Celsius, but it was a sunny morning so the cold breeze was bearable. We saw some beautiful sights, including a gorgeous church, the Washington Square Arch, and, my personal favourite, the Flat Iron Building.

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The 9/11 Memorial consists of two main parts. One is the actual memorial, which consists of two massive waterfall structures in the ground where the World Trade Center towers once stood. The edges of the waterfalls are engraved with names of the victims of the 9/11 tragedies. In the background is the One World Trade Center, or Freedom Tower, which is the sixth tallest building in the world. The memorial was absolutely beautiful, and it was so heartbreaking to be standing in the place where these buildings stood tall not too long ago.

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Not far from the 9/11 Memorial was St. Paul's Chapel, which is the church just opposite of the World Trade Center. Not only is the church the oldest surviving one in Manhattan (since 1766), but it also survived the 9/11 attacks without a single broken window, which is seen by many as a miracle given its proximity to the site. I was also interested to find out it had a long history, as summarised in the blue sign outside its gates.

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The second part of the 9/11 Memorial was the museum. It was unbelievably huge. We spent about an hour or so walking through the museum, which was full of pieces of the buildings and other artifacts that showed the damage of the attacks. There was a whole room dedicated to showing the pictures of all the victims, which included some glass cases of belongings of some of the victims. It was so personal and so very sad. I am far too young to remember 9/11 (I was only three years old at the time) but it is still so tragic to hear all the stories and especially the recordings of voicemail messages left on loved ones' phones by people who were in the towers or on the planes.

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We then made our way to Century 21, a massive department store just a few blocks away from the 9/11 Memorial. It's about six floors of discounted designer clothing and we went to town. I bought a bunch of stuff, which I'll make a post about later. It took us two whole hours to get through the whole store, plus the extremely long line to pay. So, once we were done, we were starving - and it was off to dinner!

We dined at a restaurant in Little Italy where we ate in 2010, called Caffe Napoli. The windows at the front of the restaurant were opened so that the seating inside flowed with the outside patio, but it would have been much nicer if it hadn't been about twelve degrees at that point haha. We ordered the Bruschetta for an appetizer, and I had the Gnocchi Pomodoro for an entrée.

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 After dinner, we rushed all the way to another Big Bus location and got on the Uptown loop which took us to Times Square, where we got to spend an hour going through Madame Tussauds. I've been to Madame Tussauds in London and Orlando before, so it was interesting to see the difference in wax figures from city-to-city. I got a few pictures of some of my favourite wax figures, including Prince Harry, Melissa McCarthy, and Johnny Cash. IMG_0494IMG_0506IMG_0518After that, we just walked around Times Square, popped into a few shops, and then headed back to the hotel for the night!

Ready for the next post? Follow this link for Day 3.