George Washington Bridge
Don't buy your tickets from street vendors because only one company serves the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island - Statue Cruises. You can chose either of their start points - Battery Park at the tip of Manhattan or Liberty State Park in New Jersey. We drove to NJ for our departure. Skip this if you aren't into maps (but shame on you for not being into maps!). I love maps. Hardly a day goes by that I don't stare at one for some reason. My parents instilled this in me. Back to NY or NJ - whichever side of the center line (and the center red circle) that you are on. Manhattan is an island with the Harlem River to the north, the bay to the south, the Hudson River to the west, the East River to the... well yeah, east - this is where all the disposed bodies from Law and Order rest. Brooklyn and Queens are the 2 boroughs of NYC on Long Island but the eastern portion of Long Island (not pictured) is not part of NYC. Staten Island is at the bottom of this map and is one of the boroughs of NYC. The Bronx (another borough but not pictured) is north of Manhattan. It is the only portion of NYC that is connected to the main land. It gets even more fun because each of the 5 boroughs is a different county. This has to make for some really interesting local government interaction. You'll also notice that Ellis Island and Liberty Island are on the NJ side, but Liberty Island is in NY jurisdiction. So, you might go to NYC to see the Statue of Liberty but if you go to the Statue, you're in Jersey but you really aren't.
For those who survived the map lesson, thank you. Below is the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal. Our journey of the bay from the Jersey side kind of put us on a reverse track from the immigrants of the late 1800's on in to the 1900's.This is where you would end up after being processed through Ellis Island.
1st landing, Ellis Island. I am fascinated and very moved by the plight of the immigrant. I can't blame someone for wanting to come to the United States of America. I'm biased, but it's the greatest country, not only in the world, but throughout history. Early in the 1890's, immigration went from being state regulated to federally regulated. Beginning in 1892, Ellis Island served as the entry point for immigration for 62 years. 12 million people were processed there. Over 100 million or the current 326 million U.S. citizens have had an ancestor go through Ellis Island.
The Great Hall is a spacious area
for its 21st century visitors but was
anything but at the turn of the 20th century.
Some of the currency that was
The sleeping quarters pictured below give you a very slight idea of how crowded this place was. 3 rows high and 3 rows deep. Families would often be separated while waiting for their background and medical reviews. One of the most heart-wrenching stories that I read was about how children might get sick and end up in the infirmary for weeks and could only receive a visit for 5 minutes a week from one family member.
One of Scott's favorite pictures is
from one of the windows at Ellis Island.
I guess it reminded him a kid who wanted
to go out and play on the great big
playground called Manhattan!
From Ellis Island, you hop on the boat
again and cruise on over to the Statue
of Liberty. I know I posted pictures
earlier but you're never really satisfied
that you got "THE Picture" so here are more:
We had to get this picture when it occurred to us that we had seen many images of this lady but never her back side! This is where you enter to go up to the pedestal or the crown. Scott tired of waiting for the elevator and did climb those 192 steps but neither of us went on up the remaining 162 steps to the crown. Perhaps those who go on up to the top find it worth while, but we really didn't see anything particularly great about the view from or the walk around the crown. It definitely wasn't worth the frustration of going through security. They tell you that it is similar to airport security but there is one thing worse than TSA and this is it! We should have read better before we went so here's a warning to anyone visiting: you can only take your camera and any medication you might need. There are lockers for purses, camera bags, etc., but they require 2 dollar bills. You must have those bills. Nothing else works and no one bothers to tell you why your 5 isn't working. Then, when you finally get change, it may or may not like your bills. It's an incredibly insufficient system and the park personnel aren't sympathetic. We were by no means the only people expressing frustration!
These guys were in the bonus package
of the Liberty Island
One last look...
That's it. We went back to Liberty State Park, got in the car and quite literally put NYC in the rear view mirror as we headed to Annapolis, Maryland, for the beginning of the 2nd half of our trip. I must confess, I was very sad when I saw the skyline in the mirror. I truly understand why so many "I love NY" souvenirs are sold.
I plan to do one more post on the city. It'll be some of the things that aren't necessarily touristy, but will feature some of what I really like about the whole new experience called New York City. Thank you for staying with me this far. Annapolis, New Jersey shore, and Westpoint are yet to come.