New York, 2008 travel blog

Castle Clinton

The back side of Castle Clinton

A Ferry Similar to The One We Rode

Statue of Liberty from Battery Park













The original torch

An actual size model of face

Liberty Island flag from top of the pedestal

The Manhattan Skyline

Thursday was our day to tour the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Our internet research of these National Park Units really paid off in terms of being able to plan our day. We were able to purchase tickets online saving us from having to stand in the very long line at the ticket office. The earliest ticket for both islands on that day was 10:30 AM. Earlier tours were already sold out. We were very glad to have that piece of information in advance and 10:30 worked out well. We didn’t have to get up with the chickens and we had plenty of time to have breakfast, visit with Scott, walk the 10 or so blocks to the subway, ride downtown, and find Battery Park. Since we had prepaid tickets, all we had to do was pick up a boarding pass. We did encounter a line through security (airport style), but it moved quickly. We had to go through security again to enter the pedestal.

Also located at Battery Park is Castle Clinton. Before we got on the ferry we wandered around a bit. Sitting on the southern tip of Manhattan, this round sandstone structure was originally built to ward of the British in 1812. Now, as a National Park unit it is the gateway to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Around the periphery, street vendors of all descriptions are out selling their wares. This is where we saw the snake handler. Now that I am safe in my Montana some 70 miles away, I wish I had touched those snakes.

The ferry was typical of tours like this—three decks packed full with everybody wanting to be on top. I found myself a nice spot by the rail on the second deck and, as luck would have it, was on the correct side of the boat to have a full view of the statue during the entire ride. More good luck—the sun was to my back.

The Statue resides on Liberty Island (originally Bedloe’s Island) and was a gift from the people of France in 1886 to commemorate the centennial of the Declaration of Independence. She was restored to her former glory for her 100th birthday in 1986. Over time this statue has come to symbolize freedom and democracy.

The Statue was not the work of just one man or even one nation. The sculptor Bartholdi was the designer, but several others helped to create a structure that would withstand the rigors of wind and time. Even Eiffel, of the famed Eiffel Tower, was asked to throw in his expertise. France was creating the Statue, but it needed a pedestal to rest upon. That became the responsibility of the American people. All types of fund-raising methods were employed to get the money needed for this ambitious project. Today Lady Liberty stands atop a 10-story high granite pedestal which sits atop the star-shaped Fort Wood (used in the War of 1812).

It was inspiring to see this landmark from a boat deck and imagine how so many people have felt as they came in search of a new homeland. It is impossible for me to relate those feelings—the sense of awe at the mere size of the Statue, the pride in my country, the blessings of living in “the land of the free”. Perhaps the pictures can speak to your heart as the Statue spoke to mine.

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