354. Take the ferry to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty
Completed October 2008
After a Friday spent traveling to New York City and an evening spent doing some window shopping and enjoying outrageous desserts at Serendipity, my sister and my mom and I work up early Saturday morning to get ready to visit Ms. Liberty.
We grabbed a quick breakfast in the hotel lobby, and armed with my mom’s GPS, drove to a park where we could get the ferry. We were confused about where exactly we were supposed to go and ended up parking about a mile away from the ferry landing. It was a beautiful walk on a crisp, bright morning along the water front with the Statue in view the entire time.
Then, we had to get through security – tougher than any airport I’ve been to – and onto the Ferry. The Ferry stopped first at Ellis Island, but we wanted to see the statue, so we stayed aboard. Before we knew it, we were at Liberty’s feet. We had to check our bags into a locker and get in a long line to head into the pedestal.
The first thing we saw once inside was the old torch, replaced in 1986 with her current shiny golden one.
Then we walked through a museum giving the history of the statue. There were stories of the designing, creating, shipping, and assembling the statue. Stories of the celebration in New York when the statue was unveiled, and videos of people describing what the statue meant to them.
Finally, we were ready to head up the stairs into the statue. My sister and I raced to the top. I won, but I admit to bad sportsmanship and putting out my arms to block her from passing me right near the end. Disappointingly, the stairs inside the actual statue never re-opened after September 11th, so you can only glimpse the steps through a glass ceiling, and can’t go inside the statue itself. But what you can see and explore is still impressive.
Finally we headed outside to go back downstairs and see what kind of photos we could get of the statue herself when we were standing near her feet.
We stopped for lunch, then hopped back on the ferry to head to Ellis Island. The museum there is huge and impressive. It’s really amazing when you realize how many immigrants passed through the processing center at Ellis Island. We headed to the records center to look up my great great grandmother’s passenger manifest. We were able to find it – that was really exciting. She arrived here in this country a trained midwife with just $20 to her name.