Travel There – A Morning with Battery Park Monuments and the Statue of Liberty
Yes, the Statue of Liberty is pretty mind blowing, but I’m what I’m talking about is that we were by the Statue of Liberty and were nearly blown elsewhere! The weather man had warned it might rain the whole time we were in NYC, but he didn’t tell us that we’d need grappling hooks to stay on the sidewalk.
On our second day in NYC, the threat of rain was melting away, but it was still very chilly. We bundled ourselves in all the cold weather gear we’d brought along and headed to the subway. With visions of huge crowds in our minds, we’d imagined both New Yorkers headed to work and tourists like us headed to the Statue Cruises, we were up and out early – but, in fact, it was too early.
I am still blown away by the efficiency of the New York Transit system. I wish we had something similar here in Dallas. We went all over Manhattan with the greatest of ease and even popped over to New Jersey for a christening. Clueless as to how good it actually was, we allowed entirely too much time for our trip to Battery Park, especially since it wasn’t exactly walking around weather.
Still Deb is the easiest person in the world to travel with, so we just made the best of it. Chilled to the bone, we walked around and looked at all the statuary one is supposed to view when one visits Battery Park. As I did my travel homework I had imagined Battery Park and an immense expanse of green, much like Central Park, but it’s actually quite manageable. If you have half an hour, you’ve got more than enough time for it. Here are some of the pictures we took as we tried very hard to enjoy the chilly morning.
Eventually, we saw some folks forming a line at the Statue City Cruises dock, so we joined them. A word of warning the Staten Island Ferry does not go to Liberty Island, neither do all the rest of the tours that say you’ll see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Some of theses tours and ferries also leave from this area, but if you take them, you may see the islands, but it will be from the deck of the boat. Only the Statue City Cruises will take you to Liberty and Ellis Islands.
Thankfully, the line was in the sun or we might have gotten frostbite, but the wind was deadly. It’s a darned good thing we are such fashionistas. The colorful scarves we wore to dress up our outfits ended up tied around our heads in desperation. Here is the line, the boat and some of the scenery on the way to the islands.
All the wind made the ride pretty choppy, but neither of us is prone to seasickness and it was a very short ride. We were also so excited about our destination there really wasn’t much room in us for anything else.
You get off the boat and stand in line to show someone in a box your ticket. They give you a brochure with a map and then you are on your own. We had timed access to the crown, which means you actually get to go up in the statue. so we headed off immediately to the Lady herself.
I can confess here, that going up in the crown was not the highlight of our day. I am glad we did it, because they have some amazing exhibits inside the pedestal. Deb and I wandered around for a very long time looking at it all. So, my travel tip to you is that even if you don’t want to climb up the stairs and go into the crown, get the crown access anyway, because the museum there is very good.
With our newly discovered knowledge about the Statue of Liberty, we made our way back to the entry area and almost by serendipity went into the Information Center. It felt backwards, because we felt we’d already attended the main event, so what were we going to get information about?
Hello Park Service! It is not an Information Center! You need to find a more compelling name for it. An Information Center has brochures, a nice person to answer questions and perhaps a diorama of the area.
The Information Center on Liberty Island is more a celebration of all things Lady Liberty. It was in no way a repeat of what we’d seen in the exhibits inside the statue. We spent at least another hour enjoying the exhibits in the “Information Center”.
Inside the Lady, the exhibits shared the struggle to make the monument a reality. Though a gift from our friends in France, she wasn’t exactly free. It took a concerted effort by many, many people to get her standing in New York Harbor. It’s a story of a man with a vision and cooperation between nations, but also a tribute to the can-do determination of Americans.
The Information Center focuses more on the fabrication of the statue and what it has become since she climbed a top her pedestal. You get a sort of virtual peek at what it took to build her and then the role she has played standing watch in New York Harbor.
One of the challenges of being a tourist is deciding how to spend your time. If I were a New Yorker, a more frequent visitor to the Big Apple or someone with more than a week to see everything, I would have extended our tour of Liberty Island. There was certainly more to see.
Had it been a less windy and chilly day, we certainly would have spent more time on the pedestal of the statue, admiring the vistas of Manhattan and filling up our phones with photos. This really wasn’t an option in the powerful winds we experienced.
As it was, we’d passed mid-day and we wanted plenty of time on Ellis Island, so we headed to the Ferry Dock. From there it is a short hop to the second feature of the day. come back next week and experience Ellis Island with us. Please come back next week for the immigrant experience.