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I live in Brooklyn, NY and I love it here.  I came here for my career in 2009 and haven't once looked back. 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Statue of Liberty...

Checklist: Statue of Liberty = Done!  So, around, 10:30 today I moseyed up to Battery Park to meet my friend Allison for lunch at a little burger joint outside the Winter Garden in the World Financial Center before heading to the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.  We've been planning this trip since May, neither one of us having been, and she being a lifelong New Yorker.  Back then we talked about doing this over sushi in Chinatown one night, thinking we'd be able to do it a few weeks later.  Apparently, though, the crown was booked solid until September.  So we were going to have to make reservations and wait.  By the time we settled on a day to do it, it ended up having to be today, all the way into October...and what a day to do it!  The weather was fantastic, mid 60s, sunny with a light breeze...okay, a big enough wind that the boat was rocking something violent when we first boarded.  But I got my sea legs pretty quick.   Having bought our tickets in advance we got to bypass the line for the ferry and were on the island well before our reservation time of 2 pm.

It was a bit odd, at first, because, at the entrance to the pedestal, they sent us back to the information center by the ferry dock to get crown access wrist bands (we had no idea that we had to go there first), but once we had the wrist bands, we felt like VIPs.  The rangers were giving us very detailed instructions on how to bypass the lines and which way to go up the stairs so we'd go straight up to the crown first and work our way down to the pedestal.  They were extremely helpful and offered to answer any questions we had...it felt like we had our own personal guide at each level, as we chatted with each ranger before going up further (They apparently have a nick name for people with crown reservations: "Crownies").  There was no line to go up for crown access and it felt in some ways like we had the whole statue reserved to ourselves for a little bit.  There were only two other people and a ranger up in the crown when we finally got up there, the ranger perched rather precariously on the support beams above the staircase.  I'm not even sure that many more people could have fit up there, the actual space being slightly bigger than a broom closet with not a whole lot of overhead clearance.  I bumped my head on the beams on the roof several times (not too hard though) and right after the ranger told me to watch my head.

The climb to the crown itself was not all that bad.  The spiral staircase inside the statue did get pretty narrow but it was all very exciting and we were up at the top before we knew it.  Statue's kind of shorter than I had realized.  Something like 354 steps total though, including the climb from the pedestal.  There was a plaque at the bottom with facts about the different measurements, like how long is the nose, the arm, how wide is the face, how much does the pedestal weigh (54 million tons actually), that I should have photographed but didn't.  I shot a ton of pics up there and as I was kneeling down to take a few shots out of the windows, I could feel the Statue swaying in the wind.  Allison noticed this first, like, the second we got to the top step.  But I didn't feel it until my knee was against the side of the crown as I knelt to take my photos.  Our friends that were sharing the crown space with us offered to photograph us and we did the same before heading back down.    

The pics in the crown did not come out all that well but here is the album of everything I took today, encompassing a few pics at the World Financial Center, the ferry ride, Liberty Island and a few of Ellis Island.


Best of Statue of Liberty


We made sure, after our descent, to check out the Pedestal Museum.  The goofy picture of me picking the face's nose was Allison's idea.  A bit of a history nut, I enjoyed this part (the museum, that is, not pretending to pick a statue's nose).  This and the Ellis Island Museum, which we managed to breeze through in under an hour, checking out some of the special exhibits, us both having been there once before. Ellis is always inspirational to me, even when you read the crazy stories of what the conditions were like for immigrants over the years.  Inside the Pedestal Museum though, I learned about the origin of the poem "The New Colossus." Ya know, the whole "Give me your huddled masses yearning to be free" that is engraved at the base of the statue inside the monument.  Apparently, Emma Lazarus wrote it for an auction to raise money for the statue but it was years before the poem was actually associated more permanently with the statue and the plaque installed.  People often credit the poem now with realigning the statue's purpose.  Instead of being a sign of liberty and republicanism, it became a symbol of hope and welcome for incoming immigrants.

Just a tiny bit of history before I call it a night.  The trip was a good time all around and I think I would definitely go back, in the future, for the climb to the crown, when it reopens in 2012.  They are apparently closing down again to further improve safety inside the statue. They are not shutting it down, though, until after it's 125th anniversary, this month, according to this article.  They want to reopen it before the 126th anniversary next October.  Either way, it'd be fun to do again. And for only $16 it's cheaper than the Empire State Building and in many ways a more unique experience.  Sort of an adventure, too. 

Anyway, good night!  Enjoy the pictures!

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