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Looking back at Queen Elizabeth II's 3 New York City visits

New Yorkers recall Queen Elizabeth II's visits to the city
New Yorkers recall Queen Elizabeth II's visits to the city 03:00

NEW YORK - During her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II visited New York City three times.

As CBS2's Maurice DuBois reports, her trips were official, but also included sightseeing and shopping. 

In 1957, Elizabeth II made her first visit to New York as Queen. She was 31 with less than five years on the throne. She took the Staten Island Ferry to get a better view of the city's skyline, and the Queen got a closer look at the Empire State Building and dined at the Waldorf Astoria. 

She later addressed the United Nations General Assembly, saying, "The United Nations will achieve the goal of a world of peace."

Looking back at Queen Elizabeth II's visits to New York City 01:09

She would visit again in 1976 and was given a key to the city by Mayor Abe Beame. The Queen's itinerary included a tour of Bloomingdale's and a visit to Morris-Jumel Mansion in Washington Heights. 

Afua Preston was about 6 years old and on the invite list with her grandmother to attend the event at the mansion, and they rehearsed.

"Over and over again, how to hand the Queen a beautiful rose and to curtsy. We did it for hours, for weeks," Preston told CBS2's Dick Brennan.

But when the day came, little Afua was nervous and security was too tight.

"I couldn't get to her, and I think my grandmother was a lot more disappointed than I was," Preston said, laughing.

Looking back now, Preston admires how Queen Elizabeth lived her life and wishes the Royal Family well.

"They are just like us, and they have been through so much, especially now, the more and more you see. And I hope Charles does a good job. I think he will," she said.

In 2010, Queen Elizabeth spoke to the United Nations and placed a wreath at the 9/11 Memorial. 

During the Queen's 2010 visit, she officially opened a garden near Ground Zero in memory of the 67 British citizens killed in the 9/11 attacks.

Laura van Holt was visiting the garden Thursday after hearing news of the Queen's death.

"I think she reminds a lot of us of our own grandmothers. And, you know, I lost mine, and so I think a lot of people join me in that emotion," she said.

Van Holt says Queen Elizabeth was a constant in everyone's lives.

"There's always been a sun. There's always been a moon. There's death, taxes and Queen Elizabeth. And now that's, that's gone," she said.

For Jonathan Egan, the garden is a special place he can go to on Sept. 11.

"I lost my father and my aunt in the towers, and this garden was put together by a small group of people with support of Queen Elizabeth," he said. "This garden means so much to my family and a lot of other family members that were affected by 9/11."

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