Day three of our trip was a FULL day covering 3 of New York City’s 5 boroughs and completing my goal of visiting all five!
We woke up and took the bus into the Port Authority bus terminal in Manhattan, and then hopped on the subway to Brooklyn, where we walked around and got THESE amazing views.
After taking in the views of lower Manhattan on a day that couldn’t be any more beautiful and clear (even if it was chilly for us SoCal folks), we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.
The bridge is just over a mile long and the architecture and views make it worth every step. It’s amazing to set foot on one of the most iconic landmarks in the world and know it has been there for over 130 years! Being on the bridge with all the other tourists and locals reminded me of one of the things I loved from my first visit to the city seven years earlier – there are people from all over the world in New York!
After we crossed into Manhattan, we headed down to the southern tip to the Whitehall station for the Staten Island Ferry.
The Staten Island ferry transports passengers between southern Manhattan and the northern part of Staten Island. There is no cost for passengers and it is a nice, smooth 5 mile ride that provides amazing views of the city and the Statue of Liberty. We didn’t really have the time or an overwhelming desire to go directly to the Statue of Liberty but were thrilled to get to see her this closely during our day.
We realized pretty quickly after setting foot on Staten Island that there is not much to do on Staten Island. We walked around for a bit and headed back to the ferry terminal. Let me highly recommend the pizza place inside the ferry terminal, though. We grabbed a couple of slices before heading back to Manhattan – super cheap and so delicious!
Back in Manhattan, we decided to head toward the site of the World Trade Center. This was on our agenda for Monday (2 days later), but we were both really drawn to seeing it as soon as possible. The last time I was in Manhattan in 2010, this was still a hole in the ground with large fencing around it and nothing to really see except a very sad, empty space. It was amazing to see how much had changed in less than seven years.
Before our trip, Brian had been told of a former student from his school and local resident who had died on one of the planes on September 11th, so we spent some time searching for her name and a moment reflecting on the enormity of that day. Seeing thousands of names etched into these fountains was overwhelming and a bit emotional.
When visiting this part of New York, you MUST take the time to stop by St. Paul’s. Built in 1766, it survived a great fire and was where George Washington attended services following his inauguration in 1789. From their webpage:
“After September 11, 2001, St. Paul’s became the site of an extraordinary, round-the-clock relief ministry to rescue and recovery workers for nine months. Though the World Trade Center buildings collapsed just across the street, there was no damage to St. Paul’s, earning it the nickname “the little chapel that stood.””
Following our time at the 9/11 memorial, we decided to go off-agenda one more time and take the subway to Central Park. Central Park is easily one of my top five places on planet earth and I could not wait to show Brian and see the joy on his face! It was just stunning, as always, with a few hints of fall still lingering around on December 3rd.
After strolling in the park, we headed down to Chelsea. Here is something you need to know when traveling to New York City: bathrooms WILL be a challenge. It is important to know what stops in your itinerary will have good bathrooms and use them when you have the chance. We were on the hunt for bathrooms in Chelsea and realized our best bet was to find a restaurant, order food so we were paying customers, and use theirs. We ended up at a cute 24/7 longtime diner called Chelsea Square, where we indulged on cheese fries and cheesecake.
It was an awesome and exhausting day, and we couldn’t wait to have a whole new set of adventures the following day.
Kelli’s Travel Tips from this day:
- If you only have one chance to walk the Brooklyn Bridge, do it from the Brooklyn side and walk into Manhattan. The views are stunning! Spend some time on the Brooklyn side before you make your way across. Or, if you have time, it would be fun to walk BOTH ways!
- The Staten Island ferry has plenty of room. It seems crazy and crowded in that terminal, but everyone gets on and everyone has a seat (at least on our day they did!)
- Staten Island is nice, but not worth a big visit. Most people get off the ferry in Staten Island, turn around and get right back in line to go back. There is not much to see in the terminal, but that PIZZA PLACE…I’m dreaming of it right now!
- There will never be enough time to get enough Central Park. Please block out more time for it than you think you need. There are still some things in there I haven’t gotten to see after being in the park 5 or 6 times!
Links from OUR itinerary to help you plan YOUR itinerary!