Vacation Update 3: NYC!

I’m on vacation, but I can’t quite stay away from the blog, so I’ll regale you with vacation pictures and tales from the big city.

This post was supposed to go in chronological order, but after seeing the September 11 Memorial, I have to go there first.

My 9/11/2001

I was at work writing code when the attacks happened. A co-worker named Ginny mentioned that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. She looked terrified.

My first thought was:


Planes had hit buildings before and I assumed someone had a very bad day in a Cessna. No big deal. Ginny’s look of concern worried me though, so I decided to check CNN’s website just to be sure something bigger wasn’t going on.

I plugged into my browser, but it wouldn’t load. This was ominous. Sites like CNN don’t go down.

After 5 minutes or so, CNN finally came up and I saw a picture of the North Tower with smoke pouring from it.

Next thought:

Oh shit, it was a bigger plane than a Cessna.

A short time later I learned that the South Tower was hit. Not good. What was going on? Could it get any worse?

Soon I found out that South Tower had come down. This is when it got real for me. The thought that a plane strike could bring down a skyscraper hadn’t crossed my mind. I felt like I was going to throw up.

I was desperate for information and figured that I’d learn more over the radio. I walked to my car in the parking garage. There I sat and listened to the news. I soon learned that the North Tower had also come down.

It was a day of dread and hopelessness.


The Memorial (9/2/2017)

Mrs. 1500 had a speaking engagement near Midtown, so we had dinner together and then split up. I marched off with the kids, intending to go back to our hotel, but then decided to head down to Wall Street.. We jumped on the subway to see the Charging Bull instead.

As our station neared, I couldn’t stop looking at the September 11 Memorial on my Map app. I made a last second decision to go there instead.

The girls and I arrived at the pools a short time later. It was gloomy and a light rain was coming down.

My 7-year-old was mostly confused. She asked questions about what she was seeing, but couldn’t seem to grasp that towers once stood where there were now waterfalls.

My 10-year-old had read a book about 9/11 and looked at the memorial solemnly.

9/11 Museum. Note the slurry wall on the left that was build to hold back the Hudson, enabling the Twin Towers to be built.


Feelings Surfacing

Looking at the South Pool of the memorial, I felt nervous and uneasy. The pools were there because something horrible had taken place, but the memorial itself was disturbing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on exactly why it made me feel this way. We walked over to the North pool and then around it. I felt no better and we soon left.

A short time later, it hit me. It was the design of the memorial which created the emotions; specifically, the water flowing into a seemingly bottomless pit in the middle of each pool. This evoked feelings of dread and hopelessness, much like on the day of the attacks.

I wondered if the memorial conjures up the same feelings among those who didn’t live through the attack? 10-year-old daughter didn’t seem bothered by it, but she was probably thinking about the ice cream cone that I had promised her. Will she feel differently if she sees the pools as a 30-year-old? I’m not sure, but I don’t think so. You have to have lived through it to really appreciate it.

And none of this is negative criticism. NYC did a wonderful job with the memorial and museum. The purpose of it shouldn’t be to create happiness, but to encourage reflection. One who lived though 9/11 cannot reflect on the event and anything remotely close to good.

One World Trade Center reflected in the memorial


And the Rest of NYC

I was going to go in chronological order, but that would be boring. Here is what I loved about NYC and what I didn’t:

Times Square: Ugggh. This was a sea of tourist nonsense. Same as Navy Pier in Chicago or Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco. I’m glad to have seen it, but no need to return.

Charging Bull: I’m a money geek and have wanted to visit the bull for most of my life. It symbolizes healthy markets and optimism. Seeing it in person was amazing. I was only disappointed that it was perpetually swarmed by fellow humans, so I couldn’t get a good picture. The bull’s ass was the best I could do:

Upper West Side: I loved the area where we stayed. The hotel was perfectly located near a subway stop and Central Park.

On our first day in NYC, I discovered that the hotel workers forgot to lock a door to the roof. I went up there every morning and evening to take in the city from above. I had an awesome view all to myself. Unfortunately, the hotel realized this halfway through and locked the door. Not before I could get some good photos though:

Central Park: We spent loads of time just walking around the city. Much of it was in Central Park. On Tuesday, we walked 11 miles and at least half of it was in the park. This place was amazing.

The People: For some reason, I thought New Yorkers were aggressive and gruff. Almost everyone we ran into was quite the opposite. Folks were friendly and helpful. Sometimes the crowds were overwhelming, but the natives were good.

I also met a lot of nice people familiar with my silly writing (this blog):

  • Todd, who wrote this guest post, gave me an awesome cap. Thanks Todd! I’m going to wear it proudly back home in Colorado!
  • I also met Lenny who was a lot of fun to talk to, even if it was brief. If you need a proofreader, hire this guy.
  • Thanks Mc. Crazy Kicks, Church and Erin (Broke Millennial) for making the trip out.
  • Big thank you to the other readers who showed up with pizza and beer. I enjoyed talking to each and every one of you.


And thank you New York City. I will be back.

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24 Responses to Vacation Update 3: NYC!

  1. Lenny says:

    Was a pleasure meeting you and everybody else at the Central Park meetup!

    And it sounds like you had a good time in NYC. Happy to hear you’re planning on coming back sometime, can’t wait for the 1500days meetup part deux!

  2. It looks like you had an incredible and memorable trip to NYC. I have to admit that I liked NYC way more than I thought I would. Central Park was the gem that everyone said it was and if you stayed away from the tourist traps it was quite enjoyable. Although I have to admit after a couple of days I was ready to get back to home 🙂
    Mustard Seed Money recently posted…Read This Before You Commit to a Financial AdvisorMy Profile

  3. Glad you made it out here, it was fun to meet you, Mrs. 1500 and the rest of the readers that showed up in Central Park. I believe we shut the place down when the ATV rode up and basically ordered us to leave.

    I think the 9/11 memorial is masterfully done. As you noted, when you view the footprint of the two towers, you can’t help but want to see where the water is draining. No amount of straining one way or another lets you see the bottom. It generates a sense of emptiness and unease as I think they intended. Like you, I’ve visited with a younger generation and it’s interesting how they look at it as a historical event vs those of us that were watching/listening to the news the day it happened.
    Biglaw Investor recently posted…Find Freedom: Open a Solo PracticeMy Profile

  4. Miss Mazuma says:

    So glad to hear you had a great trip. I love New York because it is such a mixing pot of every ethnicity that it has become its own unique culture. The smells and sounds are overwhelming but the pace and general feeling of hope can be invigorating. How is it that a city with such a go go go attitude can still manage to have an area of peace and calm in its center? Central Park is necessary to create that balance. As is Millenial/Grant Parks in Chicago and Golden Gate in San Fran. Someone was doing something right!

    Also, glad you guys made it out to Scotland! Can’t wait to see those pics!

  5. NYC looks like such a fun place to see with so much to do and so much history. I’m not sure when we will have the opportunity to head out there. It is on Ms Blue Ribbon and my bucket list.

    I can’t help but say that I had a hard time reading the 9/11 section. I was only in 8th grade when it happened. I’m glad they were able to rebuild and create the memorial. I think those two together show us to remember the past and look to the future.
    Budget On a Stick recently posted…Walking on SunshineMy Profile

  6. I was 10 years old and our 5th grade history teacher told us. It was very sobering even as kid. We couldn’t go outside to recess as Air Force One was flying around us and all our teachers were worried about getting caught in the cross fire. I was just on the cusp of being old enough to be allowed to know what happened, as many of the younger kids didn’t get to know what happened.

    My trip to NYC happened before the memorial was finished. I’m not sure I’ll come back to NYC. This Midwestern gal had a hard time handling the crush of people and lack of fresh air. You can’t see the horizon!
    Gwen @ Fiery Millennials recently posted…My 10 Year Plan: 2017 UpdateMy Profile

    • Mrs PoP says:

      Gwen, I’m kindof on the same page with you on NYC. Whenever I’ve gone there I’ve only really been able to relax when in Central Park and you stop hearing traffic noises. We’ve got a trip to Brooklyn planned next month, and I’m hoping I like that borough better than Manhattan! =)

      It’s kindof crazy to think that 9/11 was almost 16 years ago. There are now people that can drive who weren’t alive then, and people joining the military that weren’t old enough to remember any of it. Seems strange and makes me feel a little old. =P
      Mrs PoP recently posted…How Much Did I REALLY Save Building Our Cabinets?My Profile

  7. Thanks for setting up that meetup at the park. What a great spot to enjoy some brews and meet a slew of cool new friends!

    As Lenny mentioned above, we need to have another meetup/party in the park some time 🙂

    • Lynx says:

      Lovely pictures. I remember first time visiting the 911 museum in 2014. The emotions were raw and the tears were hard to hold back. Central park is great fun and a great spot to hang out for a day. Times Square is a bit too touristy so I tend to keep away from there when in the city.

      If you are having another met up in NYC be sure to post on the blog. I am usually in that neck of the woods a few times per year 🙂 and would love to meet.

  8. Joe says:

    Awesome pictures. I’d love to visit NYC sometime.
    Yeah, 9/11 was hard. That’s our Pearl Harbor.
    I was biking to work when it happened. The town was strangely quite and there were no planes in the sky. It was a huge shock when I found out what happened and I went home pretty much right away and was glued to the TV. Felt terrible when the towers came down. I’m not sure if I could go see the memorial.

  9. MrWow says:

    I can’t wait to get back to NYC. Haven’t been in a long time. There’s just an energy about it that doesn’t exist elsewhere.

    But for 9/11 I was in college in PA and had a lot of friends who knew folks there. Pretty crazy times. Watching it live on the news while my roommate sat there and cried, being from there and his parent worked in that area.

    I need to go see it. I remember riding he train in through the hole that was left. It was eery.

  10. While I am in no way a city person, I have enjoyed each minute of my NYC trips (both work and pleasure). It is such a vibrant, interesting and diverse city. I also found (like you) that many New Yorkers were very friendly and helpful. I’m glad you had a great time!

    Visiting the 9/11 Memorials a few years back was hard for me. I was 11 when the attacks took place… old enough to be completely and utterly shaken, vulnerable, scared and to feel like my world had turned upside down, but young enough to not really get some of the larger implications. Regardless, that day is seared into my memory and visiting the memorial stirred up emotions and thoughts that I had not felt in a long time.
    Mrs. Adventure Rich recently posted…Are We Addicted to Savings Accounts?My Profile

  11. Mr. Tako says:

    Wonderful pictures Carl! I’ve only had a chance to visit NYC for work, and I’ve never seen this side of it.

    I especially like your take on the Wall Street “bull”. That perspective is perhaps a more accurate depiction of what Wall Street produces. 😉

    Great pictures Mr. 1500!
    Mr. Tako recently posted…Is Book Value Investing Still Relevant?My Profile

  12. Mrs. BITA says:

    I was last in New York in 2002, and I saw the ruins of the towers. I watched the attack on a teensy television in the corner of my Mumbai office – I worked for a startup at the time, and it was another late night at office, we had ordered dinner in. Halfway across the world watching what was going on felt like a gut punch. I can’t begin to imagine what it felt like to folks here.

    Central Park was awesome pants and I would love to visit again someday. I’m glad you had such a lovely trip.
    Mrs. BITA recently posted…Are Experiences the New Avocado Toast?My Profile

  13. Team CF says:

    Central park really is a gem in NYC, we also spent some time there a couple years back. Loved it! The bull (his ass) was also the only pic we could take, such a lot of people around there.
    As to 9/11, I was in France having fun with some field work. Crappy TV in the local hostel, but we got the message loud and clear. Actually visited the old twin towers back in 1999, went all the way to the top. Still have the pictures too. Was weird visiting again in 2002 when there was a big hole in the ground.
    Glad you enjoyed the trip and made some new friends.
    Team CF recently posted…July 2017 Savings RateMy Profile

  14. I was a teacher in an elementary school on 9/11. It was such a difficult day. Teachers wanted information but they had to set aside how they were feeling and do their job – with a smile. We’ve been to the memorial and I agree, it was upsetting to see it. But it was really important for me to see it too. NYC is great – but I bet your girls would have a great time running around parks and swimming in lakes in upstate NY too 😉 We’re looking forward to our trip to Longmont to see where the money guys play too!
    Vicki@MakeSmarterDecisions recently posted…Travel Hacking Our Way to Colorado – Planning Our First Retirement TripMy Profile

  15. Glad you had fun!

    Natives gruff? 😉 Glad you got to got to meet some locals too. Just feel bad for the natives trying to reach FI early. At Fairway this week (grocery store), the sale price for red cherries is $2.99/lb! Don’t worry, they’ll be sold out by the time many get out of work at 7pm!

    You do have to be creative living in the city though!
    Smart Money MD recently posted…Five Reasons to quit a career in medicineMy Profile

  16. Glad you guys have been having a fun trip! We visited New York this past February and it was a great trip. The 9/11 is really something, very ominous, but it definitely encourages reflection and the whole scene is beautiful. It’s a scene I definitely won’t forget. We loved Central Park as well, peaceful with beautiful views. Those pictures from the top of the hotel are beautiful. Enjoy the rest of your travels!

  17. Mrs.Wow says:

    With all the traveling I have done, NYC is not one that I have been to. Your post definitely made me more excited to go check it out, hopefully one of these days. Looks like you are having a blast!

  18. SMM says:

    NYC is an amazing and super-diverse place. Your pics show that you had a great time. When I see Central Park, I always think of the show Freinds 🙂
    Did you try an food trucks there by the way?

  19. BeSmartRich says:

    Come to Toronto. More fun here! 🙂

  20. I really enjoyed NYC too!

    One of the things I most remember was the day of arrival. We arrived somewhere in the late evening and visited the 9/11 Memorial. The aura was undescribable. The sound of the waterfalls, the lights, the trees… and no people screaming or shouting. It made me feel uncomfortable in a city like NY. As you say indeed, the pit has something hopelessness about it.

    I was 6 years old when the attack happened and now I finally could imagine how it should have felt that day.

  21. I was in a very strange situation with 9/11. I was an airport manager at the time at a small airport and general aviation was banned for something like 3 weeks, if I remember correctly. A friend called me that morning (about 7am PCT) and said terrorists are attacking the US. I totally thought he was joking until we turned on the TV. I went to the airport and a bunch of pilots were sitting around watching the news in awe and well, terror. I sent my employees home that morning and it was so strange to be at the airport when it felt like a ghost town. It is usually such a hub of activity and even many famous people fly in and out of there. It was eerie for sure.

    I also saw the 9/11 memorial site years ago, but it was still a hole in the ground with just renderings to look at.
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