It all started as a simple trip to the Statue of Liberty. My wife Chris and friend Michelle have never visited and it has been a long, long time since I had.
Being in Baltimore, we assumed a simple day trip would get us to Liberty State Park in New Jersey to catch the ferry to Ellis and Liberty islands. Grab a bite to eat and make it home in time for dinner. And boy were we wrong.
On Monday September 18th the plan was made. Leave 3am, arrive 6:30am and have a sunrise lined up with the Statue of Liberty by around 7:15. Working on 45 minutes of sleep that night, and a mere few hours of sleep from our previous weekend at Antietam/Sharpsburg battlefield (Re-enactors are quite keen on firing cannon and playing drum and fife on time, even if it’s at 4am) I was thankful that I was the navigator, not the driver. But the few winks I managed to catch in the car never really help.
Note: Nearly all photographs in this section are clickable to see a larger version.
No such luck, but it was still a nice morning to grab a few photos of the city line for a few upcoming projects. Once we wrapped up here we traveled to the nearby Liberty Diner, had a terrific breakfast and traveled to Liberty State Park to catch our ride to the islands, but left my phone at the diner, had to rush back and they had it waiting for me. Crisis averted.
At Liberty State Park we quickly grabbed our tickets at Will Call and ventured around the grounds to make some photos. We didn’t get to spend much time around the station, but it’s certainly a Macro Photography paradise. I was drawn to the Empty Sky Memorial and hope to make it back one day with some experimental film cameras and maybe even some nighttime long exposures. The simple lines of this solemn memorial didn’t obstruct the real reason this piece was here. To memorialize those who had lost their lives on September 11th, 2001.
Fog was rolling into the city minutes before our departure. Not a good thing for making photos. By the way, I’d like to think this hatch somehow led to an underground tunnel to the city. It didn’t, it was filled with dirt. Womp Womp.
We had about two hours before our scheduled Crown access tour in the Statue and decided to visit Ellis Island first. Tried to look up ancestors who might have walked the same floors as I was, it was a dead end. I think we came in through the port of Philadelphia. It was a silly attempt as we have a family member who has completely mapped our ancestry as far as is possible. Maybe I should read that sometime, I just know the basics. Either way though, it was interesting looking up others with my name and seeing photos of the boats, manifests, etc..
There are lots of great historical photos in the Ellis Island museum. Drawings, art and other media of a country struggling to allow immigrants while battling the problems inherent with so many. This isn’t a political piece and because of that I highly recommend you check it out yourselves.
We arrived at the base of the Statue of Liberty in time for our tour. There weren’t many people there, security was tight (as was security before getting on the ferry from Liberty State Park) but they didn’t seem to know what was allowed and not and I’ll just leave it at that. Oh well.. A rented locker and we were on our way. We zipped past the line waiting for the elevator and walked up the pedestal stairs. If you can’t make the pedestal stairs, don’t try to climb to the crown!
Once at the top of the pedestal it was a quick ticket check and we were on our way up the steep, small and tight corkscrew to the crown. Plenty of sights to see but most people try to just focus on not freaking out on these seemingly impossible stairs. They mark out the ‘floors’, I think around 9 was the top. You’re reminded that some people need to be evacuated, at every floor but the last few there’s an emergency elevator. The ranger there said it needs to be used a few times a year.
I remembered this climb, but with crown access being on a scheduled basis (and you need to schedule this months in advance) it was a rather easy ascent without a line of people behind you being impatient. It also means it’s a long, painful ride down if you fall. I noticed air conditioning, something we certainly didn’t get treated with the last time I was here.
You do get the occasional few feet platform to stand on if you need a rest. Don’t get used to them, they get smaller the further you go up!
The sight is still a thing of beauty. Two rangers were at the crown to make sure you saw what was important, to take a photo of you with your camera and remind you to look at the inside of the statue’s face ‘twelve steps down’. I had asked a few questions and they were friendly and very knowledgeable.
We walked through the museum and took some snapshots around before boarding the next ferry to get back to our car.
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We still wanted to catch one more monument before leaving and that was the Teardrop Monument that was given to the United Stated by the Russian People and Vladimir Putin after the September 11th attacks.
After finishing up for the day, we put our cameras away and decided to take in a local treat and found a Nathan’s Hot Dogs in a nearby mall. It was a good late lunch and something that we don’t get down in Baltimore.
After leaving the mall, we had a busted radiator hose. Luckily was towed to a 24 hour garage and was home by 3am. A full 12 hours before we started.