New York City. The Big Apple. It’s the 15th anniversary of 9/11 — just ten days after we’d gotten married — and I’m waxing nostalgic.
I’ve visited New York City only once. It was four years ago in November, just before the big election and I had sort of invited myself to tag along on one of my husband’s business trips. This would be the first time Jeff and I got away together kid-free since our eldest was born. I was pretty stoked.
Our foursome went to stay with brave friends (who have three children of their own) and off we went. It was cold and rainy on the heels of Hurricane Sandy and I hadn’t packed warm enough clothes. But I walked and walked and explored to my heart’s content while my husband tended to business matters. While I ‘touristed’ he worked and then we would meet for fabulous dinners together at places like Casa Mono/Bar Jamón and Tao.
One of the coolest things to happen was meeting up with my cousin, Joaquin, and his girlfriend, Mari, who were also in New York, visiting from Spain. We, of course, went to Rockefeller Center, going all the way up to the observation deck. From there we had a magnificent 360º view of the city, including the iconic Empire State Building.
I’ve been wanting to write about my New York trip for — oh, four years or so — but somehow never got around to it and, so, the memories fade a bit. Took me awhile to locate my photos as well, since I’m prone to saving them in eight different places, but never in the one place I look. Then today, on the anniversary of 9/11, I was struck by the nostalgia of our trip and this dark moment in history, I decided to go back and read my diary entry from this day in 2001 — just two days after we’d returned to work from our honeymoon.
In world news — there was a major terrorist attack on the U.S. Two hijacked planes were crashed into the 2 World Trade Center Towers causing them & a 3rd bldg to collapse. Another hijacked plane nosedived into the Pentagon in Washington & a fourth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. I talked to Dad tonight about the disbelief that this could happen.
The tone of my writing seems clipped and oddly disjointed, but I’m not sure the magnitude of the events of the day had sunk in. I remember clearly sitting at my desk at work, radio on, when suddenly news reports began coming in. The internet was not quite as ‘at-the-ready’ then as it is now but as the news spread, the office began buzzing with nervous energy because it all seemed so strange and other-worldly.
It only seemed fitting, that on the wettest day of my visit to New York City, that I should make my way to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and peacefully pay my respects. The experience was haunting.
There’s so much more to this vibrant city, though. Shopping, theatre, museums, restaurants and skyscrapers as far as the eye can see. This trip was as close to having two separate vacations together as you could get. During the day I busied myself with long walks and people-watching. Got lost and pretended I wasn’t. (I wouldn’t recommend it.)
I took in the Harry Potter exhibit, saw two musicals: Mama Mia! and Evita (with Ricky Martin, thankyouverymuch), as well as the Broadway show, Dead Accounts, starring Katie Holmes. I sampled cupcakes at Crumbs and walked through Central Park. I spent hours alone at The Guggenheim. Basically, I did all the things that would have bored my husband to tears.
We stayed at a beautiful little boutique hotel close to Times Square which was perfect for getting around on foot and hitting up nearby shops. After my husband finished up his work stuff, he treated me to the very best meals and we savoured every moment of our time together. It’s not easy, as parents to four kids to get away, but even a short four- or five-day trip and a change of scene can revitalize your relationship.
As we were leaving New York we pulled an Amazing Race-style exit realizing, as we neared the airport, that Jeff had forgotten his passport back in the hotel room safe. You’ve heard the rumours about New York City cab drivers? They’re all true. I tried not to think about how we were going to crash as the cabbie sped back through the city while I furiously texted our people back home to tell them of the hiccup. We narrowly missed our flight but were lucky enough to get the next one an hour later. One of those ‘ha ha’ moments, amirite?
While we must #NeverForget 9/11 it’s important to remember that New York City is a powerful force with endless culture, entertainment, cuisine and sightseeing. I can not wait to visit again.