I live about 2 hours from New York City, so going to New York is a fun way to spend the day. Last year, Notre Dame played in the Pinstripe Bowl in Yankee Stadium. Since I only could get 2 tickets, my brother and dad went to the game and my mom and I walked around the city. We had fun so we decided to go again this year. My dad grew up in the city so he knows how to navigate the streets, but since cars are move of a hassle than anything, we parked in Jersey City and took the PATH train into New York.

The train dropped us off at 33rd Street, so we walked to Macy’s and then headed down to Time Square.

And of course we had to stop in Toys R Us, where I saw the cutest characters ever: minions and Olaf!! I love minions and Olaf.

All the stores and buildings decorate for Christmas, so it’s such a nice atmosphere just to walk around. Plus, the weather worked out pretty well. While it was grey and rainy all day, it was more of that drizzle that you can’t actually feel. We walked around the city for a while to waste some time before heading to the 9-11 Memorial.

The real reason for our trip was to visit the 9-11 Memorial. While I have been to New York numerous times, no one in my family has ever been to the 9-11 Memorial. In fact, back when I was in grade school, we stayed in a hotel room that overlooked Ground Zero.

9-11 Memorial
9-11 Memorial

On Tuesday evenings after 5pm, admission is free to the museum; however, you do need to wait in line for a ticket. We got in line at 3:15pm and tickets were given out at 4:30pm. The ticket has a timeslot on it between 5 and 7pm. There was definitely a line, but since we were there early, we got the 5pm timeslot.

Overall, the museum was well done but poorly laid out. The actual building is underground and incorporates a lot of the ruins from the two towers. As you descend the stairs, you walk past melted metal supports and cracked staircases. As an engineer, I really enjoyed listening to a volunteer tell about the material failure and building collapse.

But the actual exhibit, which goes through the entire day of September 11th 2001, is crowded and hidden. I think we were in the museum for almost an hour before actually finding the entrance and realizing that we had not even seen the main exhibit. I am a big picture viewer. I look at the pictures and move on, so my dad and I navigated the exhibit pretty quickly. My mom and brother, on the other hand are big history buffs. They spent 2 hours in those rooms. I would definitely say to give yourself at least 2.5 hours. They have soooooo much information on the day. There are small videos to watch, actual building structures to see, and an entire room dedicated to those who lost their lives that day.

By the time we left the museum, it was close to 9pm. It was a long day, but well worth the trip.