Another early start, but snoring man from the previous night found a buddy in snoring German man. They took it in turns from about 2.30 am so I didn't sleep very well. They were both in my neighbouring bunks too... So I wasn't in the best of moods in when my alarm went off at 6.30!
Had purple bagels from Hot & Crusty on Broadway for breakfast. They're so yummy. Afterwards we got the subway all the way down to Wall St. which is where the day of site-seeing would take place.
Our first task was to find a post office to send some things home and post some postcards off. This took much longer than we had planned as the 2 post offices on the map of the area (in fact, on all the maps we found) didn't exsist any more! I ended up asking someone for directions and we found one, cost us a fortune to mail stuff back but at least we got it done!
So, it was finally time for some site-seeing. And we decided to hit the Staten Island Ferry first. It's free and meant to be a great way to see the city. Unfortunately, no one tells you it will be packed with tourists who all have the same idea as you! It was not the best idea we had, as it was also very warm (only 3 windows open and no deck to go and stand on) but I got some photos leaning over people and then Dan and I just sat down for the rest of the trip and watched the world go by through the closed windows. (The tourists we huddle around the few that were open.) Overall, I think Dan put it best when he said "good thing it was free."
We then headed to Ground Zero. I think we both knew it would be a humbling experience for us, but I don't think we realised how much. I knew the buildings that once stood on the site were big but I didn't realise how big until you see the hole they left in the skyline. The financial district is all built up with mainly modern sky-scrapers and then there's this giant expanse of space with a few cranes and one single American flag flying. Standing outside it, the enormity of it all really hits you and makes you think. They're still finding remains while they dig, it's ridiculous. Really moving. I was very glad Dan was with me.
After that it took a while to pep ourselves up again, but we took a walk around the financial district, seeing the Stock Exchange and Federal Hall etc. It's an interesting mix of architecture round there, some old, some new. I like how New York does that- blending new design with it's heritage, there's a definate patriotism you feel walking anywhere round there, and plenty of flags. It's an obvious pride in the city that I was so impressed with.
We decided to have lunch at Grimaldi's (under the Brooklyn Bridge) on Joanne's reccommendation (Dan's sister.) We walked for AGES to find it but there was no sign. It's not like me not to have directions written down but this time all we had was the knowledge that it was under the Brooklyn Bridge... Turns out, this was not enough info to actually find the place. Eventually, tired, achy and starving we settled on an Italian restaurant in a very pretty square near the bridge. The food was good, the service was not and it was pretty pricey (compared to where we have been eating) so we weren't best pleased. But, with out bellies full we could set off again on some more exploring.
Our next venture of the day was the Brooklyn Bridge itself. It's beautiful in it's design but I did not realise how scary it would be! I know I'm a chicken when it comes to heights but, seriously, the pedestrian bridge wobbles when cars drive beneath you. And if you look down you can see straight through the gaps in the wooden planks to.... Well, nothing. You can see water, and that's about it. Terrifying. So, chickens that we are, we made it to the first of the 2 pillars, took some pictures, tiptoed our way around (arms out, looking like real, real tourists) had a look at the various views and then headed back. The bridge is stunning, really, and the views are spectacular. But I have no heads for heights, and neither does Dan it would seem. Particularly when you don't feel steady on your feet. So back on firmer ground we shall remain.
By this point Dan was pretty red (we were not planning for the heat or the sun that day) so we made it to the nearest drugstore to get some heavy sunblock and an aftersun. Luckily there was a drugstore and a grocery store right outside our hostel so we managed to get those bits and our dinner in one fell swoop. We just had some torilla chips and salsa (lunch was pretty big) sitting on the hostel roof reading the paper. After such a long day it was really what we needed I think, and it was really nice to just chill with Dan and chat without feeling like we needed to rush to be somewhere.
Although we returned to the room to find it full of smelly, smelly men who decided ventilation was "not their bag" and who had closed the only window we had and turned off the fan (disgusting, even dan agreed) today was a good day, a busy day but with a nice lazy evening. Just hope there's no snoring tonight...