On day 3 of our trip my mother and I decided to leave our little island and travel to the wild and exotic land of….Brooklyn. Before that though we wandered down to Battery Park to see Lady Liberty. I have heard that some people get very moved by the sight of The Statue of Liberty. I have to tell you, I didn’t feel it. Maybe its the fact that I am not American, nor am I an immigrant and neither are any of my family members for about 3 generations. Maybe it’s because I don’t really buy a lot of the American principles that I think the statue is supposed to represent, but I felt nothing more than what I would feel looking at any other statue on an island. None of this is to take away from the emotion that other people feel when experiencing this same sight, I can understand that coming from a different place will elicit a different response, I was just expecting to feel something that never came. A great view though.
After Battery Park we hopped on our bus and were off to Brooklyn!
Okay, Brooklyn I think that you definitely have some beautiful areas, and I really did see some fascinating sites but you fell a little short of my expectations. Maybe it’s the reputation you have (it’s not the best, sorry to tell you) or maybe it’s living in your bigger sister’s shadow but you just left me a little…..well, underwhelmed. I mean, its nothing personal. You certainly have a lovely bridge, and maybe one day I will be able to get to know you a little better but this trip was all about that bigger sister of yours, Manhattan.
Here are some pictures of my favourite part of Brooklyn….
After Brooklyn my mum and I wandered around the South Side Sea Port for a while and had some lunch on a pier. I mean, who can resist a pina colada on a warm day? We wandered around lower Manhattan for a while. We headed to Century 21, which I hated an my mum wasnt really a fan of either. Deals, schmeals, I cannot stand wading through crowds of people to get to a messy rack and have to shovel through garment after garment just to save a few bucks. We promptly left and headed to Ground Zero.
Again, I expected to feel something. Again I didn’t. It was a construction site, nothing more. The only thing that really hit home to me in that instant was just how close the site is to surrounding buildings and the very small area that the buildings were contained in, and what they must have looked like as they fell. certainly this is not to take away from the loss of life that occurred here on that fateful day. I have spent many hours pondering the thoughts and feelings of those that died and those that lived in the city at the time. It is a heartbreaking tragedy that I remember quite vividly.
Where I did feel the emotions of 9/11 was at Trinity Church.
Here we read about the progression of events from the first tower being struck to a year later. I was flooded with memories of how I found out about the tragedy and my reactions. Inside the church we looked at badges sent from police forces and fire stations around the world that sent their support, as well as a uniform from a NYC fire fighter. My mum’s partner was a volunteer fire fighter when he lived in New York, so we took quite a few pictures for him. The pictures of the victims and some of the fliers that were distributed to find the missing after the towers fell were absolutely heartbreaking. It was here that I felt the pain that still resonates in this city 9 years later. What I also felt though was the camaraderie of the city. It was evident that in the wake of all the tragedy the city really pulled together and became stronger. You hear about how New Yorkers are disengaged and jaded people, I certainly didn’t find that to be the case, and I cannot speak to what the city was like on September 10th, 2001 but in present day I experienced a memory that resonates but a spirit that prevails.
From Lower Manhattan we made our way back up to the hotel to get ready for the night out that I had planned, dinner at Mesa Grill. There was a small argument with a cab driver but we made it to Mesa unscathed. The restaurant itself was beautiful, casual and understated but charming. We were sat at a table near the kitchen, which was enclosed but by glass so that you can see into it. We were hoping to see the man himself, Bobby Flay, but I realised that it was probably not likely on a Sunday night. Our server, whose name I cannot recall was simply perfect. She was friendly, helpful and generally charming. My mother ordered a glass of red wine while I ordered the signature cocktail of the house, the cactus pear margarita. It was pink and delicious and if it weren’t $12 USD I might have had 3 or 4 of them! Even the bread course was amazing. We had blue cornmeal muffins that were deliciously moist. For dinner I had the spice rubbed pork tenderloin with a sweet potato tamale and my mother had the sun grilled hanger steak with a mushroom radichio salad. Both entre’s were cooked to absolute perfection. What really surprised us was the side dish that our server recommended of Roasted Corn with Grilled Cactus, Lime and Cotija. It was sweet from the corn, spicy from the chillies, tart from the lime and salty from the cheese. I simply cannot describe this dish. It was different every bite, which ultimately resulted in my mother and I eating the whole dish on top of our entres. I highly recommend this to anyone who visits. To cap off our visit to Mesa we shared the toasted coconut cake which was delectable, sweet but not too sweet and coconutty (it’s a word now) but not too coconutty. It went exceptionally well with our cappuccino. Top this incredible meal off with the fact that the meal was not that expensive. I have spent about the same at a chain steak house in Toronto for a meal that was not nearly the same calibre as the one we experienced at Mesa.
After our meal we walked off some of the calories by exploring NYC at night. We wandered around Chelsea then hopped on the subway to Times Square.
We ran into a police officer who seemed to be more into posing for pictures than fighting crime.
When we got back to the hotel we soaked our very sore feet in the bathtub and got some rest before our last day in the city.