You'll note two things right off the bat. First is that we're still in New York (which is in the wrong direction from the Outer Banks) and the second is that this trip happened more than a year ago, so I'm really having to stretch my memory to make up things that we did on this trip.
We spent the night in New York at the New Yorker Hotel on 8th Avenue and 34th Street (and overnight parking was a steal at $80/night!). This is where Nikola Tesla spent his final days. On my way to Dunkin Donuts to grab some breakfast I made a detour to the 33rd floor to see his room and study.
We started the day by walking down 34th street, past Penn Station to the Empire State Building.
Lyla being silly while waiting for the elevators that would take us to the top.
There was an audio tour with information about the building. If I wasn't there with the kids I think I could have spent a couple of hours there. It was right up my alley. As it was, we stayed for as long as Lyla and her sisters were at least semi-interested.
Looking downtown. The Freedom Tower is visible in the background.
Looking west. You can see Madison Square Garden and our Hotel.
Another view looking west.
Looking north. Take a look at the new 432 Park Avenue Tower. It will be the tallest residential building in the western hemisphere.
Lyla wasn't in the mood for pictures (which would be a bit of the theme of this trip).
After the Empire State Building, we jumped on the subway and made our way downtown.
These girls are the best traveling companions.
We waited in a decent line in Battery Park before boarding the ferry to Liberty Island.
We couldn't come to New York and not make the trip out to see Miss Liberty. After french fries, it's probably the French's greatest gift to humanity on this continent.
We had tickets to make the climb up to the top of the pedestal. It was a bit windy up there.
There she is. It's a good thing her robes are long.
On Liberty Island looking towards Manhattan.
After we returned to Lower Manhattan we grabbed a taxi back up to Penn Station where we grabbed lunch. As we were sitting eating our late lunch I checked the timetables on my phone for the special trains directly from Penn Station to Belmont Park for the Belmont Stakes. When I checked my phone the last train left less than 10 minutes from that moment (I had thought there would be more trains as the main race wasn't for a couple of more hours). We didn't yet have tickets, nor did we know which track we were on, but everything somehow worked out and we boarded the train with probably 30 seconds to spare. It's a little thing, but sometimes you can be prompted on the little things.
We arrived at the Belmont Stakes and it was packed. The race was sold out with just under 100,000 attendees who were all there hoping to see American Pharoah win the triple crown as he had already won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.
There's no denying that the kids were in the minority here, but they were just as excited to see American Pharoah as we were. We hung out outside the stands for the early races (I waited to use one of the porta-potties and it was within an inch from being all filled up and overflowing. Luckily, none of the girls had to try and use one).
We made our way into the stands and waited for the big race to begin. I held Ada and had Lyla on my shoulders while Alison held Kate (we were in the standing room only area).
The race was incredible and (hopefully this isn't a spoiler), but American Pharoah won the triple crown for the first time in more than 30 years. The crowd and cheering was unbelievable. It was truly something that I think I'll never forget. Alison and I just couldn't believe that we, of all people, were there. What a strange place to find yourself.
Here's the video of the race if you need to relive it (or never saw it).
After the race, we made our way to the train platform and everything worked out so perfectly and we were on the first train out of there. The race was crowded with Yale-like pretty-boys (does that make sense?) and we had a few of them on our train back to the city. There was in incident with some spilled alcohol and one of them started getting undressed, but luckily he stopped at his boxers, although he feigned taking them off a few times (and everybody on the train except us was cheering for him to strip down), but luckily our young girls didn't get the full show.
We picked up our car from the hotel and then made our way south down the New Jersey turnpike. We stayed the night in Delaware (have you ever spent the night in Delaware?), with plans to make our way to the Outer Banks tomorrow.