Alex has an obsession with the Statue of Liberty. He watches youtube videos of its construction and exclaims whenever he sees it on TV. Because of this Rita and I decided to make a run to New York for the weekend and surprise Alex.
Limited time meant we had only a day to see the statue. We decided to try the Jersey side of the river for easier access. This was the best decision we made. We arrived in late afternoon in Jersey City, New Jersey and made our way to Liberty State Park. We had still not told Alex what our destination was when we started our drive down the road paralleling the river edge. Both Rita and I had spotted the statue out our left side but Alex still had not noticed it. All of a sudden he let out a whoop shouting “The Statue of Liberty! The Statue of Liberty!!”
We got a couple of New York style hot dogs from a street vender and enjoyed the view from the park at the end of the road.
Before heading to the hotel we took in the Empty Sky 9-11 Memorial. The memorial is very moving with its twin walls inscribed with the names of the New Jersey victims of the attack.
It is reminiscent of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington DC in this regard. This end of the park also has spectacular views of the Manhattan skyline from across the river. Our hotel for the night was the Rodeway Inn in Jersey City. The hotel was clean and inexpensive albeit a bit small and somewhat noisy with sounds of the city, The convenience and access to New York makes Jersey City a very sensible alternative when visiting New York. There are convenient ferrys to both Liberty Island and Manhattan.
It was still early so we took the ferry over to Manhattan to take in the One World Trade Center Tower. As we made our way to the elevator we had no expectations. I will not spoil it for anyone who has not taken the elevator to the top except to say it is worth a trip to New York just for that. The top of the tower has the prerequisite views of the city skyline.
The next day we boarded the ferry that took us to Ellis Island and then the Statue of Liberty. Ellis Island was our first stop.
A beautiful preserved set of buildings could not hide the empathy we felt for the millions of people who walked through the halls and corridors.
The stories of immigrants who spent every penny they had to come to the US only to be turned away for health or other reasons was heartbreaking. My own grandfather was an immigrant from Italy in the late 19th or early 20th century. I am not sure if he came through Ellis or some other port but the personal history hit home with me. It makes you appreciate all the more the plights of present day immigrants as they try to fulfill their American dream during these difficult times.
Next up Liberty Island and the reason for the trip.
We purchased tickets to the top of the statue and after an arduous climb made our way to the observation deck. The viewing deck is extremely narrow and totally packed with people. To be honest the view is really no better than what you will see from the base of the statue and I would definitely say you could skip it and not miss out. You can get some low angle shots from the base of the statue but the best photographs can be taken from the boat to or from the island.
A nice weekend trip but the big finding is the convenience and cost savings that can be had by staying in Jersey City and visiting New York by water cab.