The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is at last to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Waiting for Lady Liberty

The trip to Liberty Island to see the statue is actually a pretty simple affair of hopping on the ferry, riding 15 minutes from downtown Manhattan, and disembarking at Liberty Island for a look-see around. Sounds relatively painless right? Well, let's see, we arrived at Battery Park to catch the ferry at 12pm, but we didn't actually step inside the statue's pedestal until 3pm.

When I researched online about visiting Liberty Island, I found that we aren't actually allowed inside the statue (post-9/11), and that there are only a limited amount of people allowed to inside the monument for each 3-hour intervals per day, and that we needed a special 'timed pass' which goes very quickly on weekends. This pass can only be obtained when buying the ferry tickets at Battery Park jetty, or booked in advance when you buy the ferry tickets online (for a $1.75 additional fee). Last weekend was a long weekend (Labour Day) so these 'monument passes' ran out a week beforehand - I felt sorry for the many who couldn't step inside the monument because there weren't any passes left. I bought our tickets and booked the passes more than 1 week prior to our trip, but did that help? Well, we didn't have to wait as long as many others to grab our ferry tickets, but we waited a good 1.5 hours in line to get on the ferry. The queue was very long, which would have been amazing if it wasn't so annoying.

A shot taken while waiting in line. Battery Park serves as a temporary memorial of the 9/11 event featuring an eternal flame in front of The Sphere, which was the mangled centerpiece that once stood at the center of the WTC plaza prior to the 9/11 event:

Then we had to go through a security check before getting on the ferry - a post-9/11 security measure. Finally, we were on the way! We arrived on the island at 2pm, and headed straight for the monument. It was a good thing there were only a limited number of people who could enter because there was yet another excruciatingly long wait to enter due to yet another annoyingly tedious security check. So that's why it took us 3 hours before we finally stepped inside the statue.

It was nice to learn about the history of Lady Liberty, and the views of Manhattan and New Jersey were breathtaking, but I wonder if a 3-hour wait was worth something that took a mere 1 hour to look at. I'm sure if we could have seen Lady Liberty on a weekday, we would have done so. Anyway, here are some photos for your viewing pleasure - you don't have to go through what we did to see what we saw.

Kids at the Lady's copper foot inside the museum. We had to climb almost 200 steps to reach the top of the statue's pedestal - the climb upwards was significantly more difficult than the climb back down. There are elevators for those who wish not to climb the stairs.

The original torch inside the monument; the Statue of Liberty in all her green glory. Did you know that the statue is made of copper? The green colour is oxidisation at work:

Last but not least, a panoramic view from the most popular side of the pedestal (hey, I did my best stitching three shots together). Click for larger image:

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