New York is the kind of city that always surprises me. In fact, it almost overwhelms me with the sheer volume of new and interesting things to do! A lot of people who live here don’t even take advantage of the great seasonal events, shows, museums and tours that are on offer 365 days a year. Many assume these things are just for tourists, but I think if they did a bit of research they’d find that living in one of the most exciting cities in the world is pretty pointless if you don’t experience it to the fullest. And just because you’re a New Yorker – doesn’t mean there isn’t more for you to learn and love.
When I’m not doing journalism-type activities, I work in the travel business and as a result am lucky enough to see some of the best attractions up close and personal. This week I attended an event that took me from the USS Intrepid to the brand new 9/11 Memorial by Water Taxi. Here’s what I thought:
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum
I have to admit that I knew very little about the U.S.S Intrepid before I visited the museum. In a stereotypical way, I had these pre-conceived notions of it being a “boys place” with big ships, planes and guns. However, once our tour guide Daniel started to show us around, my opinion completely flipped. The Intrepid Museum is for anyone with a passion for history and a love of fascinating machines. Daniel only had a short period of time to squeeze in a lot – but I’ve never seen a guide with so much enthusiasm for his subject! He was constantly sharing little known facts about US naval history and making the huge amount of information he had extremely accessible to our small group.
The museum space is set out in an attractive way with plenty of places to sit and take everything in. It also has lots of different interactive exhibits including a 4D experience! In addition the museum has a British Concorde plane and is soon to be home to a US Space Shuttle.
One thing I learned was that the U.S.S Intrepid is still vital to the US military. Directly following the September 11th attacks, the aircraft carrier was called back into duty and became the base of the FBI in New York as it carried it out its counter terrorism operations.
At $24.00 for adults and either $12.00 or $19.00 for kids (depending on their age) the price tag is a bit steep. But you could easily spend several hours in this museum and not tire of the educational, historical and heroic snapshot its gives.
For more info see: http://www.intrepidmuseum.org/
The NY Water Taxi
I’m no stranger to the NY Water Taxi and spent a whole summer ferrying large groups of senior citizens on and off these boats! I can therefore vouch for my experience on more than one occasion. But in a city where quick and easy transportation is king – these boats sure do come in handy!
We were ferried from the U.S.S Intrepid Museum down along the Hudson river, which allows you to take in every facet of the New York skyline in all it’s glory! There is no better way to check out the city than from the top deck of a boat with the breeze in your hair. Especially when you compare the experience to a cramped, dark and sweaty subway carriage. It took us no time at all to reach the Brooklyn shore and the newly revamped Brooklyn Bridge Park for lunch.
We were then ferried back across the river to lower Manhattan and Battery Park. You can get a Hop on Hop Off day pass for $25.00 and see the city at your own pace. The NY Water Taxi docks at Pier 84, West 44th Street, Battery Park Slip 6, Pier 17, South Street Seaport and Fulton Ferry Landing, DUMBO.
And now, the Water Taxi has partnered with the new 9/11 Memorial offering passes and packages on its website: http://www.nywatertaxi.com/
It’s hard to believe that ten years have passed since the attacks on September 11th, 2001 but sure enough, time has flown by and a
few weeks ago the 9/11 memorial opened to the public. As someone who was in New York on that fateful day ten years ago, I was eager to see what kind of tribute would be put in place and I can tell you, I was not disappointed.
Passes to the memorial are available from its website http://www.911memorial.org/ (or the water taxi website above) and are issued in timed intervals. This system works really well and once you’re there on time with your pass you should have no problems. Lines moved quickly and security went very smoothly despite the huge numbers of people going through the metal detectors. Once in side the Memorial itself I was surprised at how open and airy it was. There weren’t too many people crowded into one space and this left each person more than enough room to breathe and thus take a moment to reflect.
The two pools of water located on the original Twin Towers sites are breath taking. Cool waters flow from all around square imprints where the towers once stood and are surrounded by engravings of the victims’ names. The metal surrounding the giant pools is such that it will always be cool, even on the hottest New York day. Also visible from the sight is the Freedom Tower – currently under construction and only at half it’s final height.
While we were making our visit, we were overwhelmed by the respect ordinary visitors showed to the FDNY, NYPD and military officers who also attended. It is truly a touching and fitting tribute to what happened that day.
This is sure to be one of the most visited tourist attractions on the planet – especially when the 9/11 Memorial Museum opens up next year. Passes for the site are free (but a donation is suggested) and must be reserved in advance. Definitely put this one on your to-do list.