Statue of Liberty

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On our trip to New York City, we rode the Staten Island Ferry, which goes right past the Statue of Liberty. We decided not to visit the statue itself due to long lines and limited space viable to actually climb it. Plus, you have a much better view of it when you ride the Staten Island Ferry!

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This happened to be the coldest day of our December trip. The temperature never rose above freezing, and out on the windy water it was extremely frigid. It had snowed for a short time earlier in the day, and he lingering snow clouds made for a dramatic backdrop to the Statue of Liberty.

Houston Downtown

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A few more photos from our drive around Downtown Houston.

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I found the sight of palm trees among all the skyscrapers quite amusing. All the big cities I have visited so far have been in the north. I found myself having a strange desire to go to California..

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Houston seemed different than other cities I have been to. It was clean and shiny, and on this particular day, quite quiet. It was definitely a contrast to the grimy bustling feel that New York or Pittsburgh had.

Skyscrapers of Glass

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I traveled to Houston for the first time to visit my Aunt and my Grandma, who both moved there some time ago. I love traveling to new places, and I especially love big cities so I was definitely looking forward to exploring downtown Houston during my visit. I didn’t really know anything at all about this city, so I had no idea what to expect when I traveled there.

(Except I recognized the brown pointy Bank of America building from the Sim City game I played years ago!)

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I soon came to discover that Houston is a sprawling metropolis made up of gigantic interstates and new buildings being built all the time. Although Houston had a rather large downtown, the city was very spread out and not just centered around the downtown area.  Just about anywhere you drove, you were not far from places to eat or from large shopping centers. There is just so much “stuff” in Houston. It is also the fourth biggest city in the US, which I had no idea of until I traveled there.

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We drove around downtown on a Saturday afternoon and I took pictures through the windshield of my Aunt’s car as we ventured past all the glass skyscrapers, towering over the street. The city felt very new and shiny. It also felt very quiet. Surprisingly there were not many people walking around, and there were very few cars on the street, which I can only guess was because there are so many interesting things to do throughout the entire city, and not just downtown.

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The glass on the buildings reflected the blue sky, and the palm trees scattered around made for a very bright and tropical feeling city. It was definitely different than other cities I had been to. (Also the stoplights are turned the wrong way??!!!)

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Visiting Houston and seeing palm trees and big blue skies, made me want to travel father west. I wonder what the next new city I visit will be….

Long Branch Trail

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A new Greenway is coming to the city!  And this one runs right through downtown.

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The old industrial side of town that has been crumbling for years is finally getting a new life, and this trail will help to connect everything together. The old tobacco factories are being converted into loft apartments, businesses, research labs and classrooms for the local medical school. It’s getting hard to believe this whole area was nearly abandoned just a decade or so ago.

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It was a chilly, foggy Sunday afternoon that we ventured out and walked along what would soon be the busy new trail. The Greenway will run along some old railroad tracks that are no longer in use, and include many bridges.

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Click here to see what this area looked like back in the summer, right as construction started. I kind of liked the overgrown look of what it used to be, but I am also excited to see what it changes into.

Skyscraper Search

I’ve always been a city child. The landscape of the countryside is pretty, but the wide open spaces, the lack of humans, and the absence of buildings, all makes me feel unsettled after a while. I had never given New York City much thought until recently, and when I visited, it seemed obvious that I would like it there.The city I live in only has a few skyscrapers, but I have always loved being downtown, nestled in between the tall buildings. So I felt quite at home, wandering the New York City streets, looking up, and admiring all the skyscrapers that put the ones in my city to shame.

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NYC: On the Street

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A collection of random shots I took while wandering the streets of New York City. Most of the pictures I didn’t frame of even stop to think about. I just snapped away as I walked.

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One of the many glorious city pigeons I saw!

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My favorite thing about our visit was just roaming the streets and taking in all the sights. I love the crazy atmosphere of the city, where there’s always something new and exciting to see every street corner you turn down. Although I am not a very social person, I feel safe and secure in large crowds. I like how busy everybody is in NYC; nobody tries to talk to you and everyone seems to mind their own business. Because of that, it seemed a lot less stressful and scary than my own city. I miss New York.

New York City

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I’d never spent much time thinking about New York City. But a few years ago I got the idea that I wanted to visit during Christmas time. And as the years went by, my desire to visit this city grew and grew until the next thing I knew, I was buying plane tickets this past November, to visit the city just a few weeks later.

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The last time I had flown on a plane, I was four years old. All I remember is eating fig newtons and being in a cloud the whole time. For years I had convinced myself that I was afraid of flying, and vowed to never set foot on a plane. But eventually I realized that was silly because I love traveling and there are so many places I want to go. It’s been years since got over my fear, but still hadn’t actually flown anywhere, so it was time.

When the plane finally took off, after driving around on the runway for what felt like an inordinate amount of time, I was so freaked that I couldn’t bring myself to look out the window for at least half an hour! It was such a tiny plane, smaller than a train car, and when it turned all you could see was the ground. But I was so excited to go to NYC it helped to cancel out how freaked I was. We were only in the air a little over an hour before we landed, I couldn’t believe how fast we got there!

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The next adventure was getting our subway pass at the airport, figuring out what bus to take to get to the subway, and then figuring how to navigate the subway to get to our hotel.

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After the long subway ride from Laguardia to Canal street in lower Manhattan, we climbed up the steps and found ourselves directly across from our hotel. Success! I hadn’t gotten us lost.  I was pretty proud of myself for successfully navigating the way there, by car, plane, bus, train and foot!

We didn’t have any major plans when we got there; just to wander around and explore.

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Our hotel was on the edge of Chinatown, which was a blast to explore.

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We walked on the High Line, which had some great city views.

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I got to see all the Christmas sights I had dreamed about, including the giant Christmas tree!

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I finally got to try an authentic NY bagel that I’m still dreaming about. Also, our hotel was conveniently located close to a pizza place that sold $1 cheese slices, which I forgot to take a picture of. We tried out a few pizza places during our stay, but the $1 place called Joey Pepperoni was the best.  I looked it up a few nights ago when I was craving a slice, and it’s only an 8.5 hour drive from the house 🙂 WORTH IT.

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We visited the World Trade Center and saw the memorial, plus this insane structure.

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We saw all kinds of crazy skyscrapers, including this giant cube which is the tallest residential building in the world, and full of billionaires.

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And we went to the top of 30 Rockefeller Center for a 360 degree view of the city.

I never expected NYC to be so much fun, and I am already dreaming of going back! My favorite part about the city is that you never know what your are going to see. Almost every time you turn a street corner you see something new, crazy or unexpected.

It’s a crazy city and I definitely recommend visiting it at least once in your life. I want to visit as many times as I can.