Tuesday, July 12, 2016

New York, New York 7/6//2016

We are still in Accord,NY which is about 2 hrs out of New York City.  While we had planned to tour two days in the city, with all we have going on it looks like we will just do this one day.  But that one day was informative and fun.

Our full day involved visiting Lady Liberty, Ellis Island, and the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial known as Empty Sky.  Lady Liberty has always been on my bucket list.  We did the Platform tour as climbing to the Crown takes more advanced planning than our 3 weeks prior. Both the Platform and Crown tours each day are limited.  That said, while Lady Liberty is 'air conditioned'  reports were that her Copper structure, still had her crown at over 100 degrees the day we climbed her platform.

As much as I have always longed to visit Lady liberty, the hit of the day for me was really Ellis Island. Like I have told others, Ellis Island we really 'felt'.  We arrived at Ellis Island (via Ferry) just as a National Park tour was starting.  The tour guide was not only wonderful, but he was also fast and hard to keep up with.  But what he gave us was a real feel for the Steerage only passengers that arrived at Ellis Island.  They endured transportation, equivalent to transporting animals. but they came with hopes and dreams and pushed on.  The whole immigration process was frighting to them, with uniformed people, and they had to endure, mental, physical and other tests to determine if they were 'fit' to remain.  If they failed any of the tests, they were returned at the ship's expense. Some were asked where they wanted to live and with English not being their first language were shipped to places they had no intention of, including the West Coast, merely because they were unable to pronounce the location names well. But hope and perseverance was the common thread and we found that to make for a very feel good tour. While Lady Liberty is great, the walls within Ellis Island tell such a message of hope.

Also, after speaking with my brother Craig about our visit, he has researched and found that my family was on one of those on these ships.  My Dad's middle name is Ellis and my middle name is Ellin (after my father).  I will always wonder, did my Grandmother pick my Dad's middle name in respect for this journey of hope and new beginnings?  While i will never know for sure,  I  like and appreciate this thought.

Lady Liberty is still impressive, however, especially when you examine how her grandness was constructed.  She is 111 feet, 6 inches high and on her pedestal her flame stands 305 feet 6 inches from the ground. While the sculptor was Bartholdi he sought the help and guidance from the engineer Gustave Eiffel in the design of the four large iron columns that support Lady Liberty's Copper Panels.  Note that Eiffel was just a bridge engineer at the time- the tower bearing his name would still be a decade away. Design of Lady Liberty began as a 4 foot model that was doubled then quadrupled to make the 38 foot model.  That model was broken down into 310 sections.  For each section, a form was constructed that the copper sheets (about the width of 2 pennies together) were hammered against to create her form.  These sections were shipped from France and put together on site, amazingly without any scaffolding. From vision to completion, she was 21 years in the making.  Her face is said to have been sculpted after Bartholdi's mother.  The seven rays on her crown, represent the 7 continents.  The tablet she is holding in her hands has inscribed JULY IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776) and at the base of her feet are broken chains to represent the break from the bondage of oppression and tyranny.  

The Ferry that took us to both Ellis island and Liberty Island, ended our long day's journey at Empty Sky.  Empty Sky is the New Jersey 9/11 Memorial, dedicated to the 746 New Jerseyans killed in the world Trade Center attack in 1993.  Each of these individuals names are inscribed on the inner walls of this memorial.  The passage way is oriented to face ground zero (the closest point to the detonation).

Lady Liberty, Liberty Island, NY
Ellis Island, NY
Ellis Island, NY
Ellis Island, NY
New Jersey 9/11 Memorial
New Jersey 9/11 Memorial
Manhattan Skyline

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