We did everything we wanted to do in New York – visited all the neighbourhoods and especially loved the multicultural vibes of Harlem and trendy West Village; mingled with thousands of New Yorkers at Sheep Meadow in Central Park enjoying the perfect summer weather on Memorial Day weekend; explored the Brooklyn Bridge Park and walked across the Brooklyn Bridge on possibly the busiest day of the year (Memorial Day); caught the Staten Island Ferry to get up close to the majestic Statue of Liberty; visited Wall Street, and paid our respects at the Reflection Pool on the site of the fallen World Trade Centre and the newly opened National September 11 Memorial and Museum.
Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island ferry.
One of the two Reflection Pools at the site of the former World Trade Centre twin towers.
'No day shall erase you from the memory of time' - Virgil
(at the National September 11 Memorial and Museum).
We found the homes of some pop culture icon’s (Monica’s apartment in Friends and Carrie Bradshaw’s brownstone in Sex and the City); people watched in Times Square; were serenaded by the Belfast Community Gospel Choir by the Bethesda Fountain and Terrace in Central Park; visited the fabulous museums - the Frick Collection, The Metropolitan Museum of Art (and enjoyed lunch on the Met’s rooftop terrace), and the Natural History Museum.
Monica's apartment in Friends.
Carrie's Brownstone in Sex and the City.
The Belfast Community Gospel Choir performing acoustic
inside the Bethesda Terrace in Central Park.
The rooftop terrace and view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
We watched the New York Yankees beat the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx; transited through the regal Grand Central Station; walked the High Line; watched the fabulous 'Motown the Musical' on Broadway; found the famous Flatiron building; explored the iconic New York City Library; toured the Garment District (even hubby enjoyed this one!); shopped on Fifth Avenue; and on our final night in New York, we watched the sun set from the Top of the Rock, one of the highest views in NYC from the top of the Rockerfeller Plaza .
Enjoying some American culture watching the New York Yankees!
Grand Central Terminal.
The spectacular Flatiron building.
A mere 70 floors up at the Top of the Rock - Observation Deck at Rockefeller Plaza.
Day time view north of Central Park from the Top of the Rock.
Evening view south of the Empire State Building and
lower Manhattan from the Top of the Rock.
After 10 amazing and dream-fulfilling days in New York, we flew to Las Vegas. With all the lights, colours, neon, action and garish behaviour that comes with Vegas (and it’s seemingly lawless culture), I was almost instantly homesick and desperately missed the girls. We stayed at the Bellagio with our room overlooking their famous fountains – this resulted in numerous Skype calls home so the girls could see the fountains in action in daytime and lit up at night! It was so lovely to share it with them, but I was ready to come home after just one night in Vegas.
Iconic sign at 'old Vegas' - Fremont St.
The view from our hotel room at the Bellagio.
The Bellagio Fountains dancing at night.
One thing that really struck me being without three young children, was how often in those two weeks we would have missed the ‘little’ things. You know, where us adults are generally looking at the big thing and the child beside you points out something little but just as important (or beautiful, or detailed, or poignant)? I think we would have missed so many of these things without the girls to point them out to us.
So, was it worth it? Absolutely YES! It was a fabulous experience that now seems like a dream – did it really happen? Were we really there? Despite the tears and missing the children dreadfully, we knew they were safe and happy and managing fine without us. That is a great thing for a parent to know. We have strong, resilient children. I’m so proud of them.
Would I do it again? No, not in a hurry and not by choice. We hope to take the girls to New York one day, but not until they are all teenagers and can truly appreciate the awe of the city and be able to walk, and walk, and walk some more!
Every holiday from now on will be a family holiday. But, it was so lovely to be able to spend time alone with my husband again. To be able to have an entire conversation on the one day, and not spread out over a week, was fabulous! To enjoy many lazy meals and get to know each other properly again was wonderful. Yes, we had our moments, but I would do it all again in a heart beat!
Home with my beautiful, crazy girls!