I thought I would have to teach my daughter about the world; turns out I have to teach the world about her. They see a girl who doesn't speak,
I see a miracle who doesn't need words.

Monday, May 18, 2015

New York!

Life has been extra crazy lately.  I have SO many things to blog about - like the phenomenal We Heart Harlie and Friends event, family, genetics, etc.  I'll start with this post because it was the most recent and because I have tons of pictures to include!
On Friday I drove my mom and Zach to New York.  This trip seemed doomed from the start and it was on and off and on and off again so many times I didn't think it was going to happen.  Mom had her 50th nursing school reunion in New York City and one of my oldest childhood friends was having a baby shower.  Mom took a terrible fall at my house the weekend before and hurt her back and neck pretty good so we honestly didn't think she would be able to make the trip at all.  She has only missed one of her reunions in 50 years and let's face it FIFTY years is a pretty big deal - and not something she would be able to make up.  I'm thankful she was well enough to go. Zach has never been to New York City so I was super excited to show him where I grew up, where I went to school, where I worked and how you travel around New York.

One of our first stops was the house my parents brought me home from the hospital to.  It looks a lot smaller than it actually is and my dad was definitely a much better landscaper, but this house holds SO many wonderful memories for me. 

A big thank you to my friend Laura and her husband Darin for letting Zach and I stay at their beautiful home.  Laura and I have been friends since we went to business school in New York City twenty five years ago.  Every time we get together it's like time has stood still and we can pick up just like it was yesterday.  If there was a prize for my best blog reader, it would be Laura.  We were able to talk about things like we've been around the corner instead of states away because she knows so much of what goes on with Alex through my blog.  It was such a great visit with her. 

And now we have these two handsome guys to change the dynamics up just a bit!
Within minutes of meeting each other they were old friends. 
And it was monkey see, monkey do from them on!
Besides my friends I miss New York food!  Look at that pizza!! 

Pizza is one of Zach's favorite foods so I kept telling him he was in for a treat and I knew he would not be disappointed - especially since we went to one of the best pizza places on Staten Island!

And yes, I actually did take a picture of him taking his first bite of "real" pizza!

Saturday was our marathon day.  We walked from Laura's house to the train station so he could experience the train to the ferry.  It was fun telling him different things about each stop that had a story or memory for me.

He looks like a natural riding the rails :)

We took the train to St. George station where we got on the Staten Island Ferry.  Back in the day I would take the ferry back and forth to work every day.

Me and Zach standing outside on the ferry.

And Zach watching the boat leave the dock.

My good friend Joey met us at the ferry and spent the day with us in the city.  If there is anyone you want guiding you around the city, it's Joe.  He knows the city like the back of his hand!

I will admit I was a little nervous and freaked out when I saw the Coast Guard with their big guns circling the ferry.  They circled the boat the whole way to the city and there were several helicopters above too.  It was definitely a sign of the times and not something I was used to from years ago.

View of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

And Lady Liberty...with her Coast Guard body guards!

I  prefer the sailboat to the Coast Guard, personally! 

Zach did say that seeing the Statue of Liberty was one of his favorite parts of the day.  He also gave Joe and I a history lesson on why she is green.

Joe and I with the statue of liberty between us :)

 I was like a kid in a candy store when we got to the city.  I couldn't wait to walk around and see and smell all the familiar sights.  Ok, some smells in NY I could definitely do without, but it was so good to be back and sharing it with Zach!

Joey knew a great spot that we definitely would never have found on our own that had a great view of the heliport....

...And the Brooklyn Bridge....

...And Brooklyn Heights

I think this is one of my favorite pictures....

 After that we went to Ulysses for lunch.  Zach had his first sparkling water....and I'm glad I took a picture of that first sip because it was the only sip.  

We started to make our way through the financial district and up to what I was anticipating most, Ground Zero.

I love this picture of Trinity Church....

The New York Stock Exchange....

This is the fire house that was across the street from the Towers that lost so many of their first responders. 

If you've followed my blog for any length of time you know that I worked in Two World Trade Center and that I was working there during the first bombing.  I haven't been back to ground zero since a few months after the attacks when there was still a smoldering hole in the ground and missing person posters every where.  It was so important for me to see the new Freedom building and to have Zach experience this with me.
We talked about how things were when I worked there and then we talked about what he was seeing.
This was the footprint of what was Two World Trade Center.  Thirty foot waterfalls - the largest in North America - cascade into the pool, each then descending into a center void.

...and that all of the names he was seeing around the reflection pools were the 3,000 names of the victims that died that day.  The arrangement of the names reflect where the victims were on 9/11 and relationships they shared with others who were killed that day, honoring requests from victims families for specific names to be next to one another. 

 He really took in everything I was saying and I let him be for a few minutes for everything to sink in.


It was a very powerful moment for both of us....and even Joey whose been to the site numerous times.  I can't describe the feeling there.  It's so surreal.

The landscape looks nothing like it did a hundred floors up and it took me a bit to get my bearings.  It's hard to put into words but it really was like seeing everything for the first time.



Joe and I were taking pictures of the Freedom Tower and commenting on how neat the pictures looked with the clouds in the buildings and discussing all of the details on the new building.....  

....and then a plane flew by and I captured a shadow of the plane in the building and it really was just too eerie.  It was time to go.

We went to the subway to catch a train to mid-town.  The subway was nothing like the train ride he experienced from Staten Island to the ferry and you can tell from the look on his face he felt a bit out of his element!


In his defense, we were in one of the busiest stations...!

Grand Central Station


(That's the Empire State Building in the far distance)

Given Zach's love of basketball he was quite thrilled to see the NBA store once we got off the train.

There were so many things to show him!

We did a lot of walking...look at that tired face.  I should also mention his ankle had been hurting him really bad since the night before.  He was wearing an ankle support but he gets the super trooper award for doing all that walking - especially since I had to take him for an x-ray as soon as we got home and found out he was doing all that walking with a sprained ankle!
 Our last stop - Times Square!

...my ill attempt at a Times Square selfie!

The New Year's ball....

No explanation needed!

Zach watching some NYC street art! 

And Zach with one of his favorite basketball players!

Time to head back to the ferry.

There's never a lack of entertainment waiting for the ferry.

It was a great day.  As my mom likes to say, we made a memory.
Leaving the city on the ferry and seeing the skyline changing again, I do feel like it's starting to feel a little bit more like the city.  It will never look or feel the same again, but there really is a feeling all it's own when you look at it.  I wish I didn't take all of it so for granted when I lived there.
Photo Credit to Joey!

I ended the weekend on such a great note, it was short, but I got to see one of my dearest friends celebrating the upcoming birth of her first baby at her shower.  A girl.  Cathy and I were the best of friends when we met when we were 11.  Oh the stories we can tell....and her mom actually told one or two while I was there!  I know Cathy is going to make an AMAZING mom and I can't wait to meet her sweet princess in person.

A long post and a lot of pictures, but it was such a great visit for me to share with Zach.  It's been way too long since I've been back and to have shared the trip with Zach to give him a little glimpse of what life for his mom was like back in the day was so special for me. Growing up in VA vs. NY is a huge cultural difference!  I truly hope he will look back on the trip with a smile and that it holds great memories for him like it does for me.  I hope that his childhood is as memorable as mine was and that he has wonderful lifelong friends that he can count on to recount those wonderful memories with.