Statue of Liberty (Nathan)
Trip Start Sep 03, 2010
59Trip End Oct 27, 2010
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Yesterday we caught another train to Manhattan and took the subway to Franklin St., where we visited the firehouse from Ghostbusters. Unlike the accidental visit to Dana's apartment earlier in the week, I'd been planning to come here since I learned we'd be going to New York, and it was fantastic seeing the building in person. I was surprised how small it was... I already knew that they filmed the interiors in a separate firehouse, but now I realized it must have been a necessity- there was no way all the stuff from the movie would have fit in such a narrow building. It also seemed a lot smaller in comparison to all the buildings around it... when I get back home, I'll have to watch the movie again and see if there's been new construction since then
After that we started walking towards the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, and stopped at the Balloon Saloon, a balloon and toy shop. They had some awesome old-school Beistle Halloween decorations in the windows, but sadly they weren't selling those kind. I briefly considered buying a "Goonies" key chain that played quotes from the movie when you pressed buttons, but it didn't even have "HEYYYY YOOOOUU GUUUUYYYSSS", so I decided against it.
We walked by the Ground Zero area and stopped by St. Paul's Chapel across the street, which had an awesome graveyard full of tombstones so old and eroded that most were illegible. Some were just worn away like a hard candy that had been sucked on, while others were made of layered stone and had part of the outer layers flaked off, so you could see a few letters perfectly clearly but the rest was missing
We continued on to Battery Park, where there was a sphere sculpture from the WTC on display. We'd heard about it in the earlier tour- it had been located in the plaza between the towers and had survived the attacks mostly intact. It still looked pretty badly damaged to me, and seemed like a tragic reminder of the immense damage caused on that day. I was amazed how many insensitive clods were making goofy poses for pictures in front of it, as though it were the World's Largest Ball of Twine instead of a memorial. I can only imagine how these people would act at Auschwitz.
We had a bit of time before the ferry was due to leave, so we got lunch nearby and went to a chocolate shop Glennica had found on Google maps. She bought me a green tea chocolate, which was delicious as well as beautiful- it had a kind of green marble pattern on top. We got on the ferry a half hour early and went out to Liberty Island.
We'd been unable to get a ticket up to the crown, so the highest I was able to go was the top of the pedestal, which had a great view of Manhattan as well as the coast of New Jersey, The view of the statue itself from below wasn't so impressive... in fact, it looked its best from the ferry before we landed on the island, after which it was either too close or facing away. It was still very inspiring, though... as a symbol of what's best about the United States, it does its job. The museum inside the pedestal was my favorite part, detailing the development and initial designs of that statue as well as how it was constructed and the myriad challenges associated with maintaining it. I was surprised to learn that there was opposition to its construction because the United States had to pay to cost of the pedestal, and a lot of delays before it finally went up. A few images that stuck in my mind were the initial image of Lady Liberty as a fierce revolutionary- a design that was abandoned in favor of her being a symbol of nonviolent enlightenment- and the examples of ads exploiting the statue and casually robbing its dignity by making it hawk soap and jeans
We stopped by Ellis Island on the way back and saw the Immigration Museum there, but had to cut the visit short because we had to get back to Long Island by evening- Linda was making everyone dinner in celebration of Rosh Hashanah. We headed straight back by subway and train, and Mike picked us up and drove us to Linda's place. She made an entire feast of Jewish food that was enough to feed 4 times as many people, and I got to try a lot of new things I'd never had before, since none of my family or friends are Jewish. Linda is really sweet and I'm glad I met her, and that dinner is something I'll remember fondly for a while. It actually reminded me a lot of the Thanksgiving dinners my Mom used to make.
Apologies to any British readers who were confused by my use of the phrase "flashlight torches".