On our third day in New York we awoke as early as we could after the previous night's epic party with Drake. We started with a delicious breakfast in Soho at Jack's Wife Freda, and then got a taxi down to Wall Street to get the ferry over to Ellis Island. We finished the day in Brooklyn. While we were in Soho we fell in love with it, it was so typical NYC - fire escapes on every building, and the buildings were this beautiful deep red brick.
As we had the NYC CityPass we traded in our Statue of Liberty Tour stub for an actual ticket, and after going through airport-like security we jumped on the ferry and nabbed the last seats on the very top deck. There's always an argument between whether you should 'be a tourist' or 'a local' when on holiday/"travelling". Well, as it was my first visit to the city, I was a tourist, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I'm of the strong belief that many tourist attractions are popular for a reason, and for me the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are important ones.
Many of my relatives moved to America in the early 1900's, including the original Catherine Lux, my great grandfather's sister whose grave we visited in California a few years back. We know from records that Catherine Lux passed through Ellis Island on her way to California, so I wanted to visit somewhere I knew she had been. Somewhere in this city where I could stand and say 'she stared at this exact same view'. The Statue of Liberty was that view. It would have been one of the first landmarks she saw of New York and America.
A sign of freedom and of hope. A sign of a new life and of the American dream. She was born in Cologne in what was then Prussia, and after growing up in the East End of London with a drunk for a father and a strong Irish mother who was classed as an 'enemy alien' for being married to a German during WW1, she was about to start a long life in the big ole USA.
We didn't spend much time at Ellis Island as we didn't have a lot of time due to our 'itinerary' (this was my fault - I planned far too much and didn't account for any hungover-ness), but standing in the registration hall where Catherine Lux would have registered as an immigrant was pretty special for me. And I was happy to just see this room, have a quick look around the museum, and then head back to Manhattan.
Thinking of the huge amount of immigrants from all over the world that passed through this island to begin their new lives in America, just hammers home the importance of immigration and the utter stupidity of Donald Trump. Did you know that in the mid-1800's a thing called 'Nativism' flared? When hundreds of thousands of Irish Catholics arrived in America fleeing the famine, there were Anti-Catholic publications and preachers encouraging the Protestant Americans to incite violence against the Catholics that were arriving. It's crazy to think that that could ever happen when Catholics and Protestants live so peacefully side-by-side today.
The same thing happened when the Poles, Jews, Asians, Italians, and Greeks arrived. And these days, it's happening to Muslims and the refugees from Syria and Iraq. It's strange how history repeats itself...and yet America wouldn't be America without the huge mix of nationalities and cultures named above. Bagels after all, are Jewish. Hamburgers are German. The New York Pizza is Italian. And so on. Just something to think about. It's one of the most beautiful things about New York - all these cultures and religions living together peacefully.
So next time you go to NYC, don't avoid the 'touristy' places in fear of looking like a 'tourist'...visit them and learn. Find out more about their history, because it's so important to learn these things in today's world.
|A failed attempt. Damn modern fancy cameras with their bokeh. Haha.|
After Ellis Island we headed back to Battery Park and walked through Lower Manhattan towards Brooklyn Bridge.
We were tired after our night out with Drake (did I tell you we had a night out with Drake?! ;)), so we decided to save 'walking the Brooklyn Bridge' until next time, and hopped on the subway at Wall Street.
Our main reason for going to Brooklyn was for Juliana's pizza. It's widely known as the best pizza in NYC. Patsy Grimaldi is the owner, and he started the original Grimaldi pizza restaurant. Grimaldi's is no longer owned by the Grimaldi's, so next time you go to NYC, go to Juliana's for the best and actual famous Grimaldi's pizza, not Grimaldi's next door! After a very busy morning and being very hungover, this pizza tasted absolutely incredible. And it was HUGE! Check out my creepy-excited-for-pizza face.
After pizza we needed something sweet, so shared a New York Cheesecake. The cheesecake part was amazing, but the base was way too thin and needed to be far thicker.
We then wandered back to the subway and caught the subway up to Penn Station. We walked back to the hotel from there, and had an hour or so nap before our final NYC night out!
I'd love to go back to NYC and really explore Brooklyn and Williamsburg more, we kept seeing so many cool streets and cafes but just didn't have time to really experience them.
Check out my NYC Vlog below to see what else we got up to on our 4 day trip to the Big Apple!
Where's your favourite pizza place in New York?