We went inside and were directed downstairs to queue for admission to the One World Observatory.
The lines weren’t bad, but the vibe was strange. The main entry hall felt very much like the lobby of a corporate office tower (which is accurate). But then we were ushered into a winding corridor made to look like a fake tunnel of bedrock. It was surely meant to educate us about how skyscrapers are built, and to symbolize the “bedrock” of the American spirit — but mostly it just felt like a cheesy Disney ride.
Fortunately, when the elevators brought us to the top of the building, there was nothing cheesy or fake about the views. They were stunning.
|West-ish to New Jersey|
|North-ish over Manhattan|
|East-ish towards Brooklyn and Queens|
|South-ish towards the harbor|
We also could see down into the World Trade Center Memorial, where the towers once stood.
After we had made our way around the observation deck, we went down to have a closer look at the memorial. It was somber and impressive. And it was emotionally affecting for me in a way that no other memorial has been. Its the first memorial I’ve visited that commemorates something major that I remember happening.
The transit station, designed by Italian architect Calatrava, is a lovely and surprisingly large structure that is kind of birdlike, but also surprisingly skeletal. I liked it a lot.
After paying our respects, we took the train up to Chelsea, where we met a friend of Justin’s for lunch. We then tried getting into the Met Museum, but discovered that it was closed on New Year’s Day, and so had to settle with window shopping on Fifth Avenue — which at this time of year is tremendous fun.
We started at Bergdorf Goodman, where we saw a sensible spelunking outfit covered in jewels . . .
. . . it appeared to come with its own be-jeweled bat.
Inspired by the jewels, we walked to Tiffany and were charmed by their miniature doll-house displays.
By this time Justin was getting cold and losing interest, but then we spied Saks Fifth Avenue and knew that we couldn’t turn in quite just yet.
These windows started with some lovely winter gowns . . .
When we had taken in all of the fabulous windows, we went back to hotel for a snack and a nap. Then we met up with a couple more of Justin’s friends (Todd and Jon, who I had met on our trip to Mexico back in March) for dinner at a swanky Thai restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen.
And of course, after dinner came the play of the day:
Sensible spelunking, indeed.