Friday, May 29, 2015

NYC {days 4 & 5}

Tuesday morning I woke approximately 3 hours after going to sleep {smart} and had the world's largest hangover. But, I wasn't about to miss a day in NYC - so I rallied, kind of. While planning our trip, Tuesday was always referred to as "Patriotic Day" because our agenda consisted of The Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the 9/11 Memorial. Before hopping on the ferry, we took the world's craziest cab ride to Battery Park and walked to breakfast at Inatteso Cafe. The french toast and iced chai definitely hit the spot.
After breakfast we boarded the ferry to Liberty Island. It was a really foggy morning, but even through the mist seeing lady liberty gives you such a feeling of pride and patriotism. 
deep in thought or trying not to vomit? you decide. 

This was my first time actually getting off the ferry on Liberty Island and it was really quite something. We had access to the pedestal {that part right under her feet} and seeing the statue up close and personal was really quite something. When you think of her history and what she represents along with the tons of security points we had to go through to keep her safe, it's hard not to get a little choked up.
"We love lady liberty!"

From there we got back on the ferry and made our way to Ellis Island. 
While I knew what Ellis Island was and meant {obviously}, actually visiting opened my eyes to what the immigrants entering this amazing country so many years ago really went through. It was so much more than what I'd ever learned. Additionally, we spent some time searching the Ellis Island records for information on my great-grandma and great-grandpa. What we found wasn't what we were expecting but at the same time wasn't all that see, Greeks tend to be QUITE the story tellers {read: they make shit up} so through the generations and my entire Big Fat Greek Family of storytellers, the true story has likely been completely lost and as a result we had a hard time pinpointing our bloodline's arrival from Greece. It was a little frustrating and disappointing while at Ellis Island, but it opened up some great conversations with the rest of our family and I'm anxious to piece together everyone's stories to get the real thing...or at least close to it, because I'm not convinced our Yia Yia told anyone the complete full story. 

When we boarded the ferry one last time we were greeted with blue skies and sunshine as we made our way back to beautiful Manhattan.
From Battery Park we made our way to a beautiful mall on the water for lunch. We all grabbed what sounded best but my cousin and I opted for Mighty Quinn's BBQ which was no joke. This was the first brisket I've had that challenged my mother-in-law's {don't worry MIL, yours is still better}! 

From there we walked a few blocks to visit the Freedom Tower and Reflecting Pools. I am incredibly lucky to have made quite a few visits to NYC and have had the privilege to see this area of town with two giant towers standing proud on the island's edge. I've also seen the city not long after the 9/11 attacks when this part of town was ash and dust and the city was eerily silent. From there I saw the rubble turn in to hope and as of this last visit saw a beautiful memorial honoring the lives that were lost that fateful day but also a symbol of strength and patriotism that speaks volumes. I get emotional visiting this spot every time and this last visit was no different. It's hard not to feel something deep inside and think of how awful that day was and all of the lives that were hastily taken. At the same time I walk away from the memorial feeling proud - proud of how we handled that day and the years to follow, proud of how we have honored those lost, proud of how we don't give in and most of all proud to be an American.

Turns out being that patriotic for a full day can wear a girl{s} out! We grabbed a subway train back uptown to the Plaza and 3/4 of us may have snoozed a bit - props to my mom for holding down the fort while the rest of us dozed!

Thankfully all of us girls were in agreeance that we needed some time to rest, recover and revive! And so, we took an hour or two at the hotel to regroup. Mega bonus for this girl - my cousin recently graduated from cosmetology school and was kind enough to give some TLC to my poor hairs who looked a hot mess after the previous night and daytime's activities. 
Yes I wore a robe. I used every excuse to wear my Plaza robe! Pretty sure I actually slept in it the night before. 

We regrouped feeling awesome and ready to tackle our last night in the big city. Our first stop was the Peninsula Hotel for some rooftop cocktails. It was a perfect night, we snagged a great table and my cousin and I used our detective skills to decipher what could only be described as a "working girl + successful businessman's initial consultation." From there we took a lovely stroll through Columbus Circle to Rosa Mexicano for dinner. It's funny because I think every single time except for one I have had dinner at Rosa's while visiting NYC and a couple years ago one came to Minneapolis and I have been there ONE TIME. It just goes to show, if it's not NYC, it's just not the same.
At Rosa's we were joined by my mom and aunt's cousin, Barb, who lives in New Jersey! I haven't seen Barb since I was 5ish{?}, so it was definitely a treat to be able to catch up with her, spend time with her and hear her stories about our crazy family! There really is something unique about the bond that Greeks have with their family and each other and this special dinner definitely proved that. 
It was hard to leave the restaurant and accept that our trip was coming to a close, but turns out when a restaurant closes, they will ask you to leave. We reconvened in our room for some last minute girl time but it was short lived as we were all exhausted - and also because I straight up fell asleep in the middle of the conversation. Sorry girls!

The next morning we all packed our bags, said our goodbyes and went our separate ways with a pouty face. My mom and I walked to Ess-a-Bagel {best bagel in NYC if you ask me} for a bite on the run to our flight. While my aunt and cousin hit up Lindy's for a slice of famous NYC cheesecake {still jealous} and a cup of coffee. 
There's not much I can say to describe how special this trip was to me. I definitely do not get to see my aunt and cousin as much as I would like so to have this quality time with them and create these fantastic memories with them is something I will always cherish! And to my little mama, well she is my travel buddy, and I am beyond grateful for the time we get to have with each other during our travel adventure antics!

We may not have any milestone birthdays coming up soon, but I think it's about time we start planning our next girl trip!

{Recaps: Day 1, Day 2 & Day 3}


Bridget said...

What an incredible trip...loved the recap of it all and makes me want to go to NYC even more now!!!

Christina Sotherden said...

I love that you guys did all the patriotic stuff in one day – how fun! You girls look like you had a blast the whole time! I love wearing my robe as much as I can in hotels!

Brittany said...

What a fun trip!! After reading your first recap I asked my mom aunt and cousin if they wanted to do a girls trip later this year for my birthday. Hopefully I can convince them :) also I want to go back to NYC asap now.

ajs {of MN} said...

NY is intimidating to me but your stories and adventure and everything shared make it a place i must get to at some point in my life!

thanks for all the recaps, what a fun & special girl trip with your family. said...

Sounds like a fun trip and the food looks amazing!

Becky said...

Wow! What an amazing trip! I'm so impressed with how much you saw and did. Looks like a great time!

Becky said...

Wow! What an amazing trip! I'm so impressed with how much you saw and did. Looks like a great time!

Unknown said...

Such a talent to put our trip into words and I am thankful for all of the pictures(I do realize that I need to work on being camera ready and find some better poses). Thanks for the memories travel buddy. xo m

Erin LFF said...

I have LOVED every single one of these trip recaps. You guys seriously got to do/see so much! Thanks to your planning, I'm sure ;) When my sister lived in Jersey we were able to take the ferry over from that side and see the Statue of Liberty and visit Ellis Island as well- such a cool experience. We tried to find some family names of ours and couldn't locate them which was a total bummer as well :(