Island Hopping

Day five: Brooklyn Bridge, Wall St, and the 9/11 Memorial

The plan for day five was an ambitious one starting at Brooklyn Bridge. The weather was perfect and with it being just past 11am, the bridge was not yet blocked by a wall of tourists. There were still undeniably a lot of sightseers but we were able to get some amazing views of the city and to get some great pictures without having to fight for a spot.

We crossed the bridge into Brooklyn, then took the metro back into Manhatten to catch the Staten Island ferry for a view of the Statue of Liberty. On the walk to the ferry terminal, we passed by NYSE and walked along Wall St. This was Dad’s number one stop and he was like a boy in a toy store. We also made an impromptu stop into Federal Hall, a historical building shadowed by the economic power house, the NYSE next door. Federal Hall is the location where many important events in the history of the United States took place. It was where the Congress of the Confederation held their meetings, where the first Congress was hosted and where George Washington was sworn into office.

Back to the scheduled programming of the day, we continued to the ferry terminal. The 20 min free ride across the Hudson river to Staten Island provides a perfect view of the ever grand and imposing Statue of Liberty.

The moment our ferry reached the shores of Staten Island, we sprinted to catch the returning ferry back to Manhatten. Luckily, we made it and had a smooth return journey, this time with a gorgeous view of the impressive Manhatten skyline. The skyscrapers reach their tips into the sky and dip their toes into the shallows of the Hudson. We could see all the iconic buildings of the Big Apple including the Chrysler Building, the World Trade Centre and the Empire State Building.

Back in Manhatten, we walked back up to the Oculus and the 9/11 memorial. On the way, we walked through NYC’s oldest park (Bowling Green Park), passed the swarms of tourists attacking the Charging Bull with their camera flashes, and stopped into the cemetery beside Trinity Church where Alexander Hamilton, his wife and son are entombed. The cemetery was a peaceful recluse from all the tourists trying to find Wall St. and the traders working within the financial buildings.

After we paid respects to the founding father of America who inspired the creation of one of the most popular musicals today, we continued on our way. We left the church and were immediately enticed by the sweet, nutty smell of the street stand selling praline nuts. We realized that with all the sightseeing, it was nearly 3:30pm and we hadn’t had lunch yet. So, we grabbed some pralined almonds and cashews from the street car just outside the church to tide us over until we found somewhere to have some real food. The nuts were warm, sweet and delightfully crunchy. I would say that they are a must try when in Manhattan. Cheap and easy to find, just follow your nose to every other street corner.

Now blatantly aware of our growling tummies, I found the way to Eatly where we got two HUGE slices of pizza. The first was topped with the most umami mix of mushrooms, the second was topped with a perfect combination of cured meats, olives and artichokes, both on top of a thick soft, foccacia like dough. Maybe it was because we were so hungry but these pizzas were unforgettably delicious.

With our tummies finally quiet and happy, we continued to see the 9/11 memorial. A powerful monument to remind us of what happened that tragic day. While we walked from one pool to the next, Mom told me about her memories of that day. While I don’t remember much myself as I was only three, Mom vividly remembers how she heard about the tragedy that day. It’s startling to remember that the tragedy day happened during my lifetime.

With the mood turning somber with the memories of that day, we headed to the Oculus across the street and got into contact with Helena to figure out our plans for dinner. We sat people watching on the ground floor while I messaged Helena to discuss where to eat. We decided on the Bombay Bread bar near Washington Park. With the plan set to meet at 7:30pm, we headed to Washington Square Park to kill some time before meeting. Washington Square Park is one of my favourite parks in NYC. It’s got a beautiful fountain, a stunning arch reminiscent of the Arc de Triumph in Paris, and people of all walks of life enjoying the outdoors. We people watched and read the short stories and notes left at the Stranger’s Project where they collect messages written by park goers.

As the time to our reservation drew near, we headed over. The Bombay Bread bar is an Indian restaurant serving up some authentic Indian dishes. We ordered a couple of naans and chutneys to begin by recommendation of the waitress, then we had a collection of small plates. Helena and my favourite chutney was the delightfully tangy tamarind chuntney, Mom preferred the mint cilantro and as always, Dad said everything was delicious. Our unanimous favourite dish was the upma polenta with wild mushrooms because it’s smooth, creamy, umami-ness. Each dish was wonderful and very different from other foods we’d had in the past. Because the food was so delicious, I completely forgot about taking pictures to share with you! It was a pricier meal but altogether, the great food and great service made it 1000% worth it.

Stay tuned for day 6 which will feature a full day of stuffing our faces with the most delicious foods.

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