Our second day in NYC was the only full day we had, in terms of not being on a plane at any point that day - short trip, I know. We knew we had to make the most of it, and one of the most important things we wanted to do whilst in New York was see the 9/11 memorial. When I was there last, it was still being built, so it was a first for all of us. But of course, we also needed to hit up as many food spots as possible, so that's what we started with.
I had only just read about a place called The Smile on a favorite blog of mine - The Londoner. She has just been to NYC and so had a few posts on NYC stuff, and this place just popped right off the digital page for me. So we dressed in our many layers and hopped into a cab down to Soho.
Red Coat : borrowed from my mother because two leather jackets weren't enough
Faux-Leather Jacket : New Look
Leather Jacket : Nordstrom
Sweater : Nordstrom
Trousers : Mango
Shoes : Vince Camuto
Smile definitely has earned a spot as a favorite NYC eatery for me. I got breakfast (pictured above) while my mom and sister opted for more lunch-appropriate items. I love breakfast. It is definitely my favorite meal of the day, and for me, any plate that successfully has eggs, bacon, AND some form of greenery incorporated in it is a winner. But this one was especially good - the bacon was to die for!
After we ate, we opted to walk around Soho and make our way down to the 9/11 memorial. There was a whole big ridiculous debacle in getting there, because once you're in the area, it isn't super clear on how to go about getting inside what looks like a big construction site. We ended up getting directed into a ticket office of some kind that also served as a museum-y room to look around, and paying a $10 "donation" for tickets to get in to the memorial. What we did not realize until after buying these tickets, is that you don't actually have to pay anything to get in, but that anything you do pay is a "suggested donation". Of course, it's a major memorial so you kind of are guilted into paying something. Not to be insensitive, but that's capitalism at its finest, folks.
Anyway, I will admit that for a measly $10, it was definitely an impressive memorial to see. The two fountains are built into the exact footprint of the Twin Towers, and dig deep into the earth, creating a beautiful and peaceful waterfall ambiance. The names of those who lost their lives are engraved into the sides of the squares, and people have left flags as a token of remembrance. Finally, just outside the memorial stands the new Freedom Tower (also known as One World Trade Center). It has taken the place of the original Twin Towers, and now nearly at its completion, it stands as the tallest building in America - truly an incredible structure.
Once we'd finished at the memorial, we decided to hop in a cab uptown to Carmine's, which is a well-known Italian restaurant near Times Square. We got into a cab, and honestly had the best cab driver I've ever had. He was very savvy at navigating the New York streets and traffic (as he was a native New Yorker himself), gave recommendations on what places to see and which to skip, and told us his experience during 9/11 as he worked next to the World Trade Center at the time. Turns out, he took the subway to the Trade Center every morning for work, and was one stop away when the first plane hit and the trains were all stopped. He was right in the thick of it the whole thing, and not only saw the second plane hit the tower, but witnessed both towers collapse from the Brooklyn Bridge.
Anyway, we arrived at Carmine's and, not having a reservation, waited 45 minutes for a table. One thing I didn't realize is that Carmine's is a family style restaurant in that all the dishes are served to share. And boy is that true because we ordered a pasta and a salad for the three of us and only ate about half of it all! I definitely would only recommend Carmine's for groups of at least 4 people. The food itself was good - we opted for a caesar and spaghetti with meatballs. However, it wasn't the best italian food I've ever had, and having been there once now, I can't say it would be somewhere I'd rush back to. Go to Little Italy instead. ;)
And that concludes day two in New York City! Stay tuned for the third and final installment of this NYC series - I promise it won't be another five days until I post it! (I suck at regularity, I know..)