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A play, a wedding, and a lot of new views of a familiar place...

"Top of the Rock" view toward downtown

An opportunity arose to return to New York City for a long weekend on the occasion of my younger nephew's wedding, so off I went with my oldest son Ben and his girlfriend Danielle. Traveling with young adults is a uniquely great experience - makes me feel younger, yet a bit out of touch. All three of us had been to New York City, so I planned sightseeing that none of us had done before, while working around the wedding rehearsal dinner and the wedding itself. Congratulations to Greg and Stephanie, and thank you for inviting us to your magnificent wedding.

Friday July 8th - Times Square & "Phantom" on Broadway

 

Our flight from LAX to Newark arrived around 5:30pm, an hour late because of thunderstorms around the airport. We knew it would be tight getting to the Millennium Hilton hotel downtown, then subwaying uptown to the half-price ticket booth in Times Square. But we pulled it off, albeit without dinner - instead just a quick cheesecake at Junior's. Life is sweet! We got decent orchestra seats for Phantom of the Opera, which was excellent. After the play, we had time to slow down with a late dinner and drinks at Guy's American Kitchen just off of Times Square (first picture below). From there we subwayed (second picture below) back downtown and retired for the night.

Wayne & Ben on Brooklyn's waterfront

Times Square late night

Subway after "Phantom"

One World Trade Center

One World Observatory selfie

 

Saturday July 9th - World Trade Center, 911 Memorial & Museum

After a good night's sleep and breakfast at the Hilton, we walked just a couple of blocks to One World Trade Center (third picture above) where we bought tickets for the observatory. It was early and a bit overcast, so there was no waiting to head up to the three observation decks on floors 100, 101 and 102 (selfie with the Brooklyn Bridge backdrop - fourth picture above). The quick elevator to the top has an interesting video of the entire history of building New York City. The observation decks are entirely enclosed, which sacrifices much of the drama of being at the top of the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center.

 

Back at ground level, we walked through the outdoor 9/11 Memorial, with its two inverted fountains built at the center of the footprints of the original twin towers. The trees surrounding the fountain mark the actual outline of the original buildings (first picture below). The Millennium Hilton where we stayed is the black building just above the white wings in the first picture below. From the memorial, we walked to the long ticket line for the 9/11 Museum (second picture below). I'll add my voice to a chorus of others by saying that the museum is very well done. The museum is directly under the fountains, laid out along the outlines of the two original building foundations. Somewhat scary is how much I had forgotten about what that day felt like in 2001, even though I was too close to the 9/11 attacks.

 

After a quick stop at the hotel, we walked and subwayed to the lower east side for a late lunch at Katz's Deli. Although it is an iconic spot, none of us had ever been there before. It was packed and there was a long line, but the wait was worthwhile. Arguably the best Rueben sandwich I've ever had. Over-stuffed, we subwayed back to the hotel to get ready for the evening wedding rehearsal dinner in Brooklyn at Luzzo's BK, where the wedding party reserved the whole restaurant for the evening. After the rehearsal dinner, most of the wedding party 20 and 30-somethings went off to bar-hop through Brooklyn while my brother-in-law Tom, father of the groom, and I walked to the Brooklyn Bridge Marriott for a quiet conversation in their bar. A couple of hours later the well bar-hopped wedding party 20 and 30-somethings invaded the Marriott bar so I called it a night and Ben, Danielle and I Ubered back to the Millennium Hilton.

 

9/11 Memorial fountain

9/11 Memorial Museum

Battery Park WTC backdrop

Battery Park uptown view

 

Sunday July 10th - Battery Park morning stroll, Washington Square Park

I woke early and decided to do a solo walk through Battery Park (third picture above) to let Ben and Danielle sleep in. That morning was about as good weather-wise as New York City ever gets, so armed with my serious camera I did a photo safari up and down Battery Park City (fourth picture above) and along the shoreline (first picture below). I met up with Ben and Danielle in the late morning and we subwayed to Greenwich Village for a walk through Washington Square Park (second, third and fourth pictures below) and then through Greenwich Village itself, stopping for a healthy snack at Juice Generation. We subwayed back to the hotel mid-afternoon to get ready for the wedding.

 

New Jersey skyline from Battery Park

Washington Sq Park

Washington Sq Pk fountain

Washington Sq Pk pianist

 

Sunday July 10th - Stephanie and Greg's wedding - Liberty Warehouse, Brooklyn

If there exists a definition of a first class wedding, this was it. The venue, Liberty Warehouse, was wonderfully picturesque (first picture below - view of Manhattan from the deck), the food was great, and the DJ kept everyone moving throughout the evening. The wonderfully short ceremony was meaningful and focused (second picture below), and the happy couple actually looked exceedingly happy (third picture below).

 

Wedding with a view

Sealed with a kiss

Down the aisle

Waterfront sunset

 

As the sun set after the ceremony, armed with my serious camera, I had a chance to capture some shots of Greg and Stephanie away from the crowd (fourth picture above) and of the sunset over the Statue of Liberty (first picture below). Dinner was wonderful and the music played on throughout the evening. Ben and Danielle were squarely in their element (and out of mine) tearing up the dance floor until the music stopped many hours later (second, third and fourth pictures below). We Lyfted back to the hotel just before midnight.

 

Liberty Warehouse sunset & sailboat

Dancin...

Dancin...

Slow dancin

 

Monday July 11th - St. Patrick's Cathedral & Rockefeller Center

I negotiated a late checkout for both rooms, giving us license to spend our last partial day in the city sightseeing. We ate breakfast separately (Ben and Danielle wanted to have an authentic NYC bagel experience) and met in the hotel lobby in the morning and subwayed up to Central Park south. We walked past Saint Patrick's Cathedral (first picture below) where a funeral was underway for former First Deputy Mayor of New York City, Peter Powers (under Rudy Giuliani). We continued on to Rockefeller Center (second picture below) and then to the ticket spot for the "Top of the Rock". The line for the elevators was long, punctuated by videos and history notes from building the complex, just after the depression. The views from the "Top of the Rock" were wonderful (large picture, top of page left and third and fourth pictures below), better than I've experienced at the Empire State Building or the World Trade Center. We subwayed back to the hotel in the early afternoon, changed and Ubered to Newark for our return flight to LAX. All in all, a brief, but wonderful journey.

 

St. Patrick's

Rockefeller Center

Central Park from Top of the Rock

Downtown from Top of the Rock

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