My Big Apple Adventure

NYC Skyline

This weekend Mike (my boyfriend of 3 years) and I went to NYC to visit my cousin Vanessa and her husband Nick. We’ve visited them a dozen times before, but this trip was extra special. Usually when we go down to the City we hit up all of the local bars and just kind of bounce around with no set plans, however this time we decided to do something neither Mike nor myself have done before. We decided to make this an educational trip and go to the American Museum of Natural History and the 9/11 Memorial.

A T-Rex fossil at the American Museum of Natural History
A T-Rex fossil at the American Museum of Natural History

Ever since the Night at the Museum was released back in 2006 with Ben Stiller, I have craved to go. To be completely honest, the museum was packed so it was a little overwhelming at times especially once we made it to the fourth floor, which was where all the dinosaur fossils were (the part I longed to see most). No surprise though since it was a Friday afternoon and we were in the middle of one of the largest cities in the world in one of the most popular museums ever created.  The T-Rex fossil that is depicted in the photo to the left was incredible to see, it honestly left me speechless. To think that this creature once roamed our Earth is remarkable.

Of course after the museum Mike and I did take a pit stop to grab a couple drinks.  We stopped at the Beacon Bar, which was right down the street from my cousins apartment. I recommend this sophisticated cocktail lounge to anyone who is near the Upper West Side or as NYC residents call it, UWS. When you walk in your eyes completely surpass the brilliant lit bar and they go right to the black leather couches in the center of the room. It really is a quaint little place, where you can unwind with friends by drinking a couple of their signature cocktails, while occasionally listening to live Jazz.

Saturday was a day that Mike and I had been looking forward to for a very long time. We were finally going to go to the 9/11 memorial. Back in 2001 when 9/11 occurred I was in 5th grade and Mike was in 7th. For anyone that was alive during this time, it’s something we will never forget. You probably remember everything about that day, like what you did in school or work, the rumors that began to circulate, the horrifying details that came to be known, watching the twin towers crumble to the ground right in front of your eyes, and all of the overwhelming emotions that flooded your body.

For Mike, seeing this memorial was extra important because he is a police officer. There is an unspoken, undeniable bond between all police officers, firefighters and anyone who puts their lives on the line for others. As 9/11 was unfolding before our eyes 15 years ago, Mike never could have imagined that he would loose so many future brothers and sisters that day.

The most incredible part of this experience was what happened when we walked up to the first memorial pool. Keep in mind that these memorials are filled with thousands of names of people who lost their lives that day. And it just so happened that we walked right up to a man whose last name is DeSimone. What makes this so incredible and special is that DeSimone is mine and Vanessa’s mother’s maiden names, the name that our grandparents share. A week prior to going to the City, Mike sent me a picture of one of the memorial pools, and guess which name I first saw- DeSimone. (If you didn’t already click on the name, do it, you will be amazed). We don’t know if there is any relation, maybe a long lost relative, maybe not, but I am committed to finding out. Regardless, the coincidence is undeniable.  We were meant to see this mans name.

The name: Christian Louis DeSimone on one of the memorial pools

To add to our weekend of culture, Mike and I learned that Vanessa and Nick’s new apartment, The Ansonia, is an iconic landmark in NYC with a rich history. Below are some crazy facts about the building:

The Ansonia, located at 2109 Broadway in NYC
The Ansonia, located at 2109 Broadway in NYC
  1. The 1919 World Series was rigged here.
  2. Pneumatic tubes were built into the walls so messages could be transported between staff and tenants.
  3. Babe Ruth lived here.
  4. For much of its active life, the Ansonia was operating illegally.
  5. During WW11 all of the exterior ornamentation was stripped and melted for bullets and tanks.

NYC is rich in history and culture. There is so much to explore and learn here. Mike and I are excited to continue our exploration of the City’s history during future trips!

Until then, thank you to Vanessa and Nick who were excellent hosts as always!

From left to right: Vanessa, Mike, Me, Nick
From left to right: Vanessa, Mike, Janelle, Nick

If you have not visited this iconic place, I recommend you take a trip to NYC as quickly as you can get there. You will be amazed at all of the history and beauty within the City’s banks.  I’m happy we took this adventure and I hope it has motivated you to do the same.

Please share any and all experiences in NYC or any other city in the comments below. Learning from other people’s experiences and travel advice is indispensable. -JC


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