Vikki: As the title suggests we've been busy in New York, so much to see and do in such a big city. However at the same time, it has seen Raj laid up flat out in bed with back problems, a huge frustration which we could all have done without.
We are staying with family about an hour out of the city, which has been a godsend, in terms of getting Raj back on his feet. Kalpesh has been with us, first driving us up from New Jersey, and then staying and sight seeing with me and the kids.
We've had 2 days in the city so far, and it's a mission to get in and around, buses and metro's - the biggest metro system we've encountered yet and yes we've got lost, ended up going in the wrong direction and travelled in peak hour Friday night, a true experience. New York City itself is just a big WOW!!!!! Yellow cabs everywhere, the tooting of cars constant as frustrated drivers try to get through the streets, people everywhere - and this is the quiet time!!! I love it.
Times Square pumps with action, colourful, busy and go go go. The opposite is Central Park, quiet and sedate, huge trees, lakes, horses and carriages with the skyscrapers as a back drop, just 10 minutes walk away.
The 9/11 Memorial was inspiring. An amazing experience, the waterfalls are truly beautiful and well designed. It is hard to imagine how it looked with the original twin towers or what it would have been like on the day itself. I'd like to come back and see it once the building is all complete.
To finish our day yesterday we jumped aboard the free Staten Island Ferry, which takes you past the Statue of Liberty. Currently closed because of the government shutdown, it is still an amazing view as you sail past, a true New York icon.
Raj: Once again we're staying with family - my uncle and aunty whom I last saw in 1985! As with all family members, they have opened up their house, time and hospitality to us. We continue to be spoilt.
New York was one of the main parts of our trip we were all looking forward to. We gave ourselves 6 full days of sightseeing; however on the morning of day 1 I suffered an acute back spasm which saw me unable to move from the floor where I collapsed for 12 hours. I'm gutted this happened - both for me and the family as I've had forced bed rest for 3 days. On the bright side, I was lucky this happened at home, and that my uncle is a pharmacist and together with his doctor friend who made a couple of house calls I'm on the mend. However, I'll need to be really careful of my back for the balance of the trip.
Yesterday I managed to get out for the first time. It was a full and tiring day which included 6 hours of transportation and queuing - enough to quietly drive me nuts. As Vikki says, New York is huge and busy, and sadly I'm not in great condition to tolerate the more challenging aspects of big city living. The 9/11 memorial while it took an age to get in was sobering. It brought back those terrifying images of planes crashing into where the Twin Towers had once stood. This is a must visit for anyone that comes to New York, so I made sure we did this on my first day out.
Today is a another rest day leaving only tomorrow for my last and second day of sight seeing - Times Square and the Intrepid Museum. Sadly, no Empire State Building, Broadway show or Harlem tour. So, I guess we'll need to come back another time.
Anouk: 5 days ago we arrived in New York. We've seen Times Square, Ground Zero (or the 9/11 Memorial), Central Park, the Statue of Liberty and the Rockefeller Centre. At Times Square it was very busy and noisy because there is so much traffic and the cars keep honking their horns. One of the rules for Times Square is that all the buildings have to have neon signs on the outside. This makes it really bright and lit up. Around Central Park, a lot of the horse and carriages were carrying people all about the park. Lots of the horses had fluffy feathers on their heads and carriages were covered with flowers, blankets and frilly decorations. While we were in the park we saw the seals which were in the Central Park zoo. They were swimming round and round in circles and we could see them under the water.
At the 9/11 Memorial there were 2 big waterfalls which had the names of the people who died around the edges. It was very windy when we were there and the water from the fountains kept splashing up on us. There were also lots of big trees planted all around it. We went to see the Statue of Liberty but we couldn't see it up close because it was closed due to the government shutdown. So instead we saw it from a distance on the ferry boat. It looked small because we were quite a distance away from it, but I can't imagine how big it would be if we got up close. Really huge probably.
Harley: Kalpesh (dad's cousin) drove us to New York last Tuesday. On the way we stopped at the Liberty State Park and saw a memorial for the New Jersey people that were killed in September 11. We also saw the back of the Statue of Liberty from a distance. We got to see the front of the statue when we went on the Staten Island Ferry yesterday. The day before, we visited Times Square and saw all the big and bright neon panels. We also went to Toys R Us, a huge toy shop and we bought Marvin's Magic Drawing Board and Boomerang Stunt Planes. We've been playing with the toys lots and they are pretty cool.
Yesterday we visited the 9/11 Memorial. This is the site where the Twin Towers once stood. On 11 September 2001, terrorists hijacked 4 planes and 2 of them crashed into the Twin Towers, killing lots of people. There are huge fountains which have been built on the footprint of the 2 buildings. The fountains are really deep waterfalls and around the edges the names of the people who died are engraved.
Around New York City there are lots of street carts selling hotdogs, drinks, ice creams and pretzels. So far I have had a hot dog and an oreo ice cream. They were pretty good.