Wednesday in NYC

Today, we went to several NYC landmarks: Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Ground Zero, Wall Street, Trinity Church on Wall Street, Park Avenue on the Upper East Side, and the lobby of the Guggenheim. I am in awe at all of these places I have heard about and seen on movies and TV all my life. I am most in awe of the silent reverie of Ground Zero, where new buildings are going up and the memorial center’s construction is nearing completion with its opening set for 9/11/01, the 10th anniversary of the destruction of the twin towers.

First, we boarded the Statue Cruises ferry and went to the statue. This was after our 9am subway ride from Times Square to Battery Park. A nice NY’er gave us a subway map, which certainly helped with the rest of journey.

We saw the Staten Island Ferry and rode the cruises ferry over to the statue. When you get on the ferry, go to the very top and stand by the rail on the starboard (right) side near the back of the boat. This is the best spot for photos of Ms Liberty and the NYC skyline.

The statue looks so small from Battery Park, but when you get closer, it’s most apparent that she’s quite large! We had pedestal tickets, since crown tickets sold out months ago. From the ferry you can see great views of lower Manhattan, Staten Island, and other points of interest. There is a Vietnam War Memorial across the bay, too.

Once at Lady Liberty’s feet, we walked around to get good photos and views. She is quite beautiful and magnificent. I was amazed at the engineering and construction.
In the entryway, you can read and see exhibits about the construction, including some life-size pieces and such. Again, I was amazed at the enormity of her.

We entered the pedestal and started our climb of 156 steps. They have elevators, but I didn’t want to wait and could use the excercise for my food diary anyway. There is a space where you can look up into the skeleton of the statue, to see how she is put together. I never knew how the interior worked, so it was really cool to see the spiral inner-workings of the structural components.

We went outside, at the top. There is very little room to walk, but it wasn’t as crowded as the Empire State Building was yesterday. We walked all the way around, taking in the views of the city and bay area. There is just really nothing like seeing the Brooklyn Bridge from the ocean bay.

I wondered what the name of one of the many bridges was, and what was on the other side, so I asked a park ranger. He told me. He was a really nice older man, and he was staring out into the bay, a bit lost in thought it seemed. I asked him what it was like to work there every day, and he said it was “a job” with a little shrug. Then, he told me he was the maintenance man, so he was in charge of upkeep on Ms Liberty. His next sentence cracked me up, and I’ve thought about it several times today. He said that Ms Liberty was high maintenance, like most women, but the biggest more than likely because she’s such a big lady. He said he’d been married for 30 years, so he knew the drill.

I thanked him and told him to have a nice day. He was fun and made our trip even better. Sometime’s it’s the small simple gestures, like him sharing his thoughts, or the lady who gave us the map on the train, that make life fun.

We walked around toward the base again, and finally exited after taking some more photos. Blackhawk helicopters circled the area the entire time we were there. The only thing bad about that is that we need them to do that at all.

My advice for a Ms. Liberty tour: go early or afternoon, wear comfy shoes and a sunhat, and take your camera with plenty of batteries. Also, buy your tickets in advance so you don’t have to stand in line. If you see a ranger, ask questions, as they have great insight. Take the red-line subway, going downtown, to the very last stop. It’s $2.50 for a one trip ticket, so unless you’re going all over, it saves money to get that instead of a $10 version. The metro ticket machines are finicky, so if you find a manned stand that sells them inside the station, use it. When boarding the ferry to Ellis Island, stay on the bottom floor near the entrance. You’ll avoid the crowds getting off the boat, and you’ve already seen and taken photos of the cool stuff.

Next blog: leaving Lady Liberty and on to Ellis Island, the only place that gave me more chills than Vicksburg, MS.

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