With friends and family in town I shared the city I love and had a blast!
With NYC spring weather in full swing, my guest list of incoming friends and family has been a long one! Everyone is so excited to enjoy the beautiful warm weather and get a taste of city life.
Looking south to the Freedom Tower from the observation deck of the Empire State Building
I’v been getting to do some tourist friendly activities that I haven’t done in ages–activities that as a city veteran of 25 years I’ve come to take for granted.
I recall doing many of these things as a wide-eyed 21 year old college student coming from the Midwest to the city for the first time. I was thrilled about coming to NYC to study fashion design and enamored by the sheer scale and scope of what NYC had to offer. Many of these iconic NY sights and scenes are the things that instilled even stronger feelings for coming here and starting my career in the fashion industry.
Tina on the Empire State Building
As time has flown by from those early days of youthful excitement about coming to the big city, and I’ve gotten very used to my weekday work routine, I just don’t take the time to enjoy these things anymore.
My Monday through Friday schedule in the city look something like this…an early morning drive to make a ferry boat across the Hudson River. And then a shuttle bus for a cross-town ride that drops me off in Times Square close to my office.
Then a long hectic work day, and if I’m lucky, I can maybe make a cardio class after work, and then the exact same reverse commute out of the city and back to suburbia. With all that effort put in from Monday to Friday, I’m not really excited about the thought of spending my relaxing weekend anywhere near the big city.
The soaring height of the Freedom Tower redefining the modern NYC skyline
But right now, with everyone in town, I’ve signed on to be the NYC adventure tour guide and I have to say, it’s been fun (tiring but fun).
It’s always intriguing to see the city through the eyes of people who have never been here or are not typically exposed to the exteme levels of activity in the city. Everything is overwhelming to them—from maneuvering through crowds, the busy street traffic, the loud sounds, the intense smells, finding their way around town and that’s the normal everyday stuff!
Compared to when I first came to the city in 1992, it is so much easier than ever to get around with our handheld digital devices that can map out daily routes, inform you about hours of operation, and help to purchase tickets to events on the fly. It makes it easy to enjoy the city even if you don’t have your own personal tour guide.
It’s hard to believe the Reflection Pools are the actual World Trade Center buildings’ footprints. A solemn reminder to all of what we lost as a country and that we can never forget our past.
The beginning of our adventure started on Friday with a visit to the Freedom Tower and the Reflection Pools.
This is actually something I’ve done a few times since these structures have been completed. Ever since the tragic events of 9/11, I don’t think any New Yorker thought life could ever feel normal or safe.
Visiting the Freedom Tower really shows the resilience of the city and the memorial pools are a reminder for us to never forget what and whom we lost that day.
For me, viewing those reflection pools is a difficult thing to see. I always have a wave of emotions—goose bumps, tears, a haunting feel of loss, but I know it’s part of our history and it’s important to experience those feelings.
From here, a jaunt through midtown’s Bryant Park to stop and smell the flowers, some lunch and then off to the top of the Empire State Building.
We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect, clear day to get a gorgeous 360 degree view of the city and our timing was just right with the beginning of sunset starting to magically light up the city. I absolutely remember doing this when I was 21 years old. It was stunning then and I’m not surprised that it still holds that awesome effect over me.
I will say the lines can get a bit crazy so it does pay to “express” ticket it to get to the top fast and enjoy that spectacular view!
The flowers in high bloom at Bryant Park!
Next- more photos and commentary playing NYC tourist!