Okay. I mean, if that picture doesn’t make you want to pick up and move to the city as soon as possible, I don’t know what will. The Upper East Side isn’t really a popular part of the city to live in for twenty-somethings, but I truly can’t imagine living anywhere else in the city. (Without losing my mind that is.) I’m just about right in between the East River and Central Park, both being great escapes from the concrete jungle.
Early mornings in Central Park are the best and Saturday was no exception. Garrett and I met up with my friend Kathryn from high school who is an insanely talented photographer and was in town with her husband this weekend. (Seriously, you need to check out her work.) I was really excited to catch up with her and she offered to take photos for my blog. Can’t wait to share them with you, but here are some sneak peeks in the meantime.
We thought it was going to be fall weather when we took the photos, but it was actually pretty warm. We ended up changing before we went off on the rest of our day! We first headed way downtown to the financial district to pick up our packets for the 5k we ran on Sunday. It’s a hike and a half to get down there, but it’s gorgeous to sit by the water…. so that’s what we did for a little bit! In true adventurer fashion, we set off to find our favorite doughnuts (cinnamon sugar all the way) from Doughnuttery in Chelsea Market. I will do a lot for doughnuts, including brave the Chelsea Market weekend crowds.
Since we were in the nearby, we walked to A Salt and Battery for Garrett’s favorite fish and chips. So. Good. It was too nice out to not sit outside and eat. I just wanted to bottle up the day in a jar to remember forever!
This morning, I ran my first ever 5k. Garrett asked if I wanted to run it with him and I said yes, not even knowing what kind of race it was or what is was for. It was absolutely one of my favorite NYC experiences to date. The race is called Tunnel to Towers and I recommend to everyone who has the chance to do it. The race is a memorial for Stephen Siller, a NYC firefighter who ran through the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel to Manhattan to help on 9/11. The minute he heard about what was happening, he threw on his gear (60 pounds!) and started to drive. The tunnel had been shut down, so he got out of his car and ran to Manhattan where he ultimately gave up his life helping.
The 5k race starts in Brooklyn and all the runners (and walkers) go through the tunnel and finish by the Freedom Tower. It. Was. Incredible. I don’t even know if I can put into words how amazing and powerful it was. 25,000 people ran through the tunnel Stephen Siller ran through. It was crowded, not in a suffocating way, but in a “we’re doing this together” way. Running through the tunnel was long and hot and many firefighters were running with their gear on… just like Stephen Siller did. (Not easy.) Every now and then people would start chanting “USA!” and it would echo and echo throughout the tunnel. It was insanely powerful; I kept getting goosebumps.
Then you get out of the tunnel and can breathe a little easier with the fresh air. Now, I’m not a runner and I was really feeling heavy-footed and slow. But you round the corner out of the tunnel and firefighters are lined up alongside the race course high-fiving and encouraging the runners. Each firefighter had a banner with the name and photo of a firefighter who had given his life on 9/11. I choked up and picked up the pace. It was surreal to see both the men who continue to put their lives on the line and the volume of men who gave their lives helping in 2001.
I’ve honestly never felt so proud to be an American then.