New York, New York: Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty

Ticket booth courtyard

Trip Taken: 2010

In any itinerary one makes of a trip to New York City, the Statue of Liberty is almost obligatory. It is THE iconic American symbol (Though it is a little ironic that it was a gift from France). On a sunny autumn day in New York City, I took the underground subway from Queens to get to southern point of Manhattan. Past Times Square. Past Midtown. Past the Financial District. Past the pulse of the city to the edge of the water.

One of my guidebooks suggested that I get to the ticketing office early since they sell out tickets for the ferry pretty early in the day. I got there around 8am and pretty much so no line. There was a line for security, but I just walked right up to the ticket booth and bought my tickets. No fuss. Security is basically like at an airport without the molestation. Liquids are allowed on the island but not inside the statue. The ferry I took stopped at Ellis Island first.

Ellis Island

Entrance Sign

The gateway for millions of new Americans during the late 1800s / early 1900s. You walk right up into the main hallway and see a pile of luggage. It’s not suppose to symbolize anything like luggage the island saw in a day, but it was pretty cool. There is an interactive demographic map that people could play with. Basically, you type in where your family was from and then it will show you where the same ethnicity resides in the US today. For example, if you chose ‘Poland’. It will show you where the concentration of Polish people are.

Upstairs, there are rooms with cool little displays that show things like health, communication, and inspection. What happened on a daily basis on the island. If you can sort of tell that I wasn’t interested in the displays from my writing, then you would be correct. By this time, travel fatigue had set in. I’ll talk about travel fatigue a bit more in a later post. One thing that did catch my interest was the display of what families had in their luggage. All of these could be at home in any anthropological display in a museum.

I took what energy I had and headed for the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.

Statue of Liberty

Lady Liberty with the city in the background

Give me your hungry, your poor, and injured. Or it goes something like that. I bet you most Americans can’t recite Lady Liberty’s saying. I can’t. Something about the statue reminds me of the movie ‘An American Tail’. In fact, the whole day reminds me of it. There is something so American about this experience, yet I can’t really relate since I moved to America in a Boeing airliner. It screams American, but there was no enlightening moment that screamed I was in New York City. It won’t arrive until much later. I took my half-asleep body and dragged up the flights of stairs to the highest platform before a security guard stopped us. You need a reservation to get to the crown. I’ve climbed a lot of stairs in my travel and I doubt this will be the last.

At the end of my little boat trip to the islands, I watched Manhattan from the ferry. The sliver of a view only let me glance a bit of the massive concrete jungle that hid behind the skyscrapers in view.

Parting Words

I really wish I had made the research beforehand about the Statue of Liberty. It would have been awesome to see the New York skyline from the crown of Lady Liberty. So here’s a tip for you travelers going to NYC. Make a reservation to go to the crown about a month ahead of your trip. It’s quite a climb, but I bet it’s worth it.

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About the Author

John is always trying to find his way back to the road. He has an affinity for Germany due to his three years studying German at Cal, and a year working as an intern in the Stuttgart area. He also likes chocolate cake and good cheese.