The distinct culture and historical—and equally breathtaking—landmarks native to New York City, such as the Empire State Building, the One World Trade Center, and the 9/11 Memorial make a trip to the state bucket list-worthy.
Theologian and philosopher Augustus of Hippo once said “the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
This is the mentality I have adopted and with the opportunity to spend my birthday in NYC, it didn’t take much convincing.
Some have asked me, why New York?
That question has always been easy for me to answer; I find it rich in diversity, cuisine, and more importantly, history.
Nathan Blansett of the Huffington Post calls it “a place of endless opportunity and acceptance.”
On my first day in New York, I found myself gazing out at the bustling, cluttered city from the 86th floor of the Empire State Building, which is just 16 floors from the top.
A combination of tiny, yellow taxis, skyscrapers as far as the eye can see, and of course the elevation, made for a breathtaking view like no other.
The construction of the Empire State Building began on March 17, 1930, and was officially opened about a year later on May 1, 1931, according to esbnyc.com.
The building stands at an incredible 1,250 feet tall and according to CNN.com, “took more than 7 million man hours” to build.
There was not a chance I’d miss the opportunity to see the Statue of Liberty, so you can guess which landmark was next on the itinerary.
Although much smaller in person than I had anticipated, the statue is mighty when it comes to symbolism; nps.gov calls it “a universal symbol of freedom and democracy.”
As an American, the statue is arguably one of the most iconic signifiers of our country, which is reason enough to visit.
I also made a point to visit what USA Today author, Nancy Trejos, calls “the tallest building in New York, and one of the tallest in the world,” Manhattan’s one and only One World Trade Center.
The center, sometimes referred to as the Freedom Tower, stands at a whopping 1,776 feet, acting not only as a symbol of resilience after the tragedy of 9/11, but also a symbol of architectural advancement.
Just beside the center sit two strikingly large, tranquil, and beautiful memorial pools, which are part of the 9/11 Memorial.
According to 911memorial.org, “the names of every person who died in the terrorists attacks of February 26, 1993, and September 11, 2001 are inscribed in bronze around the twin memorial pools.”
It is both humbling and saddening to walk along these memorial pools, running your fingers over each name, and truly understanding the magnitude of how many lives were taken.
If there’s one thing I’ve taken from travel, and more specifically travel to some of New York’s historical landmarks, it’s that journeying to new places plays a large role in instilling a sense of humility, compassion, and perhaps most importantly, humanity.