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Hello from New York City - Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge, Exploring Downtown Manhattan
By Susanne Pacher

What a full day we had yesterday. We had a delightful breakfast in our bed and breakfast at about 8:30 am and shared some nice conversations with a young couple from Sweden and an older couple from Holland, the hostess was participating as well. This is one of my favourite things about bed and breakfasts, usually they offer really tasty filling meals and a great conversation to go with it.

We got going at around noon and hopped off the subway just before the Brooklyn Bridge and ended up exploring the historic Brooklyn Heights neighbourhood a bit, a place with many well-preserved brownstones and expensive apartment buildings with a perfect view of downtown Manhattan. Then we started our walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, and started to soak in the vistas of the famous skyscrapers.

The Manhattan Bridge is very close to the Brooklyn Bridge and the Empire State Building is visible on the horizon. Tons of walkers and bikers were making the trekk across the bridge and the weather was pretty decent, sunny with about 16 degrees Celsius.

After the bridge we arrived at NYC City Hall which was blocked off to pedestrian traffic and there was a big congregation of media people on the front steps. Tons of people were sitting around the beautiful fountain just outside of city hall and with the blue sky, the blooming trees and the surrounding architectural arrangements this was just the perfect place to snap away with the camera. I particularly fell in love with the ornate spires of the Woolworth Building.

Then we headed further west, explored the yard of St. Paul's Cathedral which is right across from the World Trade Center location. As a first place of refuge after the tragedy, the churchyard has many plaques commemorating the events of 911 and it took more than 2 years to clear all the debris from the yard that had fallen down with the collapse of the buildings.

We then proceeded to Ground Zero. The area is fenced off with various posters showing the history of the buildings, the events of 911, and the names of the more than 2700 victims. The tragedy of 911 is very hard to grasp and when you are right there where it happened, you remember all the horrible pictures and the even more horrible events of that fateful day, now more than 31/2 years ago. It is so hard to imagine these 2 enormous buildings collapsing, surrounded on all sides by other highrise towers, and what it must have been like that day, with people running through the streets, debris raining down, rescue workers risking their lives to help the victims. The police presence, by the way, was very strong and we weren't sure if there was a special reason for that or if that was the case every day.

After reflecting for a while and absorbing the incomprehensible nature of that tragedy we walked south on Liberty Street into Battery Park. Lots of African entrepreneurs were around with suitcases and bags full of merchandise and it seems they were very careful not to be seen by the police. We had a beautiful view across the bay towards the statue of liberty and proceeded to our next destination - the Staten Island Ferry terminal, where our next adventure began...

Susanne Pacher is the publisher of a website called Travel and Transitions. Travel and Transitions deals with travel to foreign countries and is chock full of advice, tips, real life travel experiences, interviews with travellers and travel experts, insights and reflections, cross-cultural issues, contests and many other features. Life is a Journey Explore New Horizons. The whole story with photos is published at Travel and Transitions - Travel Stories and Photos

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