Last Day in New York - Maybe?July 13 in the United States
This morning we have a family tour of the World Trade Center Memorial and Museum scheduled for 11:30. We are driving the car down to a parkade just a block from the site. I pre-booked that online a while ago. The drive from our hotel in Yonkers is easy and takes us about 45 mins.
We are welcomed by our tour guide and joined by about ten others on the tour. She gives us each headsets so that we can easily hear what she has to say as we tour. We spend about 1/2 hour on the site and learn a bit about the design of the memorial. The two pools in place where the north and south towers once stood are very impressive. The next thirty minutes are inside the museum where we are given information about the terror attack and the extent of the damage and lives lost. We are then left to explore the rest of the museum on our own. It is a very well organized exhibit with lots of photos, videos and artifacts salvaged from the ruins. The museum is deep underground at the level of where the foundations of the original buildings were located.
From here we began another walking tour. This one was in a travel book of NYC we purchased long before we left. It took us through the heart of the financial district, along Wall Street and ended at Battery Park. We passed many historic buildings along the way. After a short break, we made our way to the nearest Metro station and caught the train to Union Square. The plan now was to see some more sights in the area, but also to find a large, recommended vintage and consignment clothing shop called "Beacon's Closet". It wasn't too far before we found it. Very popular and very crowded. Jaden and Aaron both found sneakers.
We continued touring the Soho and Greenich Village neighborhoods. Ate a delicious lunch and found a few more shops of interest. It was then time to take the Metro back to where we had parked our car. We initially headed in the wrong direction and got off at a stop soon after finding out. Sadly, at that stop we did not have the option to go back. So, we had to wait for the next train, go two more stops in the wrong direction and then transfer to the train that would take us in the right direction. Luckily, we had lots of time to get to the airport. Lots and lots of time!
We had to wait a few more minutes to get our car back once we arrived at the pickup location. It is a valet service and I was instructed to text ahead of time so that car would be ready on arrival. I'm not sure what went wrong. There was no apology or reason given. Again, it was all good because we had lots and lots of time before our flight would leave.
The drive was a it unnerving at the start. It was dark. It was very busy. And, the GPS was lagging making it problematic when you had to make many quick turns to stay on course. Once over the Brooklyn Bridge, however, traffic thinned out and it was much less stressful. We arrived at our car rental drop off location. I had to go in and see the manger regarding a parking violation from yesterday that had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the fact that the car did not have valid insurance, or at least did not have a current sticker on the license plate. The manager was very apologetic and told me she would take care of it. So far, this had been a fairly good day, considering it was Friday the 13th!
From here we hauled our luggage to the Airtrain for a short ride to Terminal 1 where we would check in with Phillipine Airlines. It was still a couple hours before the flight was to leave so I wasn't too concerned about the fact that no one was yet available to check us in. While waiting, I decided to take a look at the recent reminder email I had received for the airline. To my astonishment, we were a day early! When I announced the finding to the family they thought I was joking. Soon, however, they realized that I was not.
I was not popular. I expected that response. Nobody was happy. Least of all, me! I felt that I had done a pretty good job of planning and organizing this trip. It had all gone according to plan. Until now. I did not want this to be the defining moment of our last, full family trip. All I could do was apologize and go about finding a solution to our problem. It took several phone calls, but eventually I managed to find a hotel nearby with a room for us. They would even send their shuttle bus out to the airport to pick us up and drive us to the hotel. I breathed a sigh of relief. But the dilemma was not yet completely resolved.
On arrival at the hotel, we checked in and found that there were two double beds and no cot, as promised. I called the front desk and was told that it was not possible to bring in a cot. I explained that I had been promised that the room would be fine for the five of us and that a cot would be provided. The fellow that made the promise worked out of the central reservations, not the hotel, however. To spare you more details, suffice it to say that I successfully plead my case and we ended up getting a second room at no extra cost. Now we could finally relax and get a decent nights sleep.Read more