Munich to New York was a pretty long day, especially with the four and a half hour long extra delay in Amsterdam, but I finally arrived at JFK airport late in the evening, and made my way as planned out Long Island. Lilly and I had emailed a couple of times after she very kindly offered me accomodation with her family, and Leo, her husband came to the station to collect me.
At their house I met Lilly herself, her mum and sister, and this morning I met their kids, Nicole, Chris, and Leo Jr, who is turning eleven today.
I was up pretty early, and after droping the kids off at school, Lilly dropped me off at the train station, and I headed into Manhattan. Coming out of Penn Station into the centre of New York was fantastic, and pretty much straight away, to the east down 34th Street, there was the Empire State Building, with the early morning sun just behind it. I had the biggest grin on my face as I wandered around taking pictures and being the typical tourist.
I just strolled around happily for a few hours as I looked for a US SIM card for my phone, and wandered passed Macy’s, the New York Public Library, walked up Broadway and through Times Square, along 42nd Street, through Grand Central Station, up 5th Avenue, and through Central Park to the Natural History Museum. Absolutely wonderful. Like Paris did, it all seemed so familiar, yet slightly unreal to be walking around these places, which I have seen so many times in movies, or on TV.
I took the subway downtown, and got off near the site of the World Trade Centre, and walked right round the perimiter of the site, which is now undergoing huge construction works to make the 9/11 memorial. It is very busy, with the constant noise of the building work, but you can still sit and look out over the area and ponder what happened here, and many people were doing so. Although I have no direct connection with anyone involved in that day at all, I still felt quite moved to actually just sit there.
Eventually it was time to head back out to Long Island, where I met up once again with my host family at the local steakhouse to celebrate Leo’s birthday. I had a Long Island Iced Tea, which tasted like probably the most alcoholic drink I have ever had. When we got home Leo made another which tasted even stronger!
New York, New York, so good they named it twice!
Ian, What an amazing excursion you are on… I applaud you. You have also stayed with one on the most genuine families that I know – The Pensas. Albeit I am bias since they are my brother-in-law, sister-in-law, niece and nephews. I wish I had known they were your host family as I would have liked to have met such a courageous man. God Bless!