Day 19 | New York, Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty overlooks the lower Manhattan area and can be seen from all over the place. It stands on an island and you can get up in it (if you organise tickets months in advance) although you can get over to get to the stone pedestal any time. The tickets are personalised to stop scalping and it is a high security attraction so we've repacked. We tried to save a bit of time by having some frozen breakfast didn’t quite work out. Our ferry goes from Liberty State Park in Jersey City. 

We have a light rail that goes from the here to the Park so we were all set. We even left with a contingency, and that was good because now we would need breakfast. The rail was quick and quiet being Sunday morning. At the State Park platform, there was no signs and no one there had any idea of what we were talking about. Actually, one of the guys we asked proceeded to take us the wrong way and talk about the Pope’s snub of Jersey and how it was personal to him. 

Checking out the Google Maps again and a false start going the wrong way (the route tried to take us down a road without a footpath/sidewalk option). In the end our estimated few hundred metres became 3 km of uncertain wandering up a road in park without a single clue until almost the end. Anyway contingency saved us again and we made the first boat. After standing in a queue for a while we went through serious security (belts, watches, fitbits, jewellery, etc off!) we got aboard and skipped the first stop at Ellis Island and waited until Liberty Island subsequently when we got there our boat (probably only half got off at Ellis) we were the first arrival. We made our way straight to the entrance to the Statue and through crown/pedestal security to start the climb (only cameras and water for the crown). Internal stairs start the climb to the top of the pedestal. 

The Park officers space out the groups to the crown. Only a small number of all the visitors to the Statue are granted tickets to climb so it isn’t too hectic. Narrow steel twin helix spiral staircase climbs internally to the crown. There are a few landings to catch your breath. It isn’t an understatement that it was gruelling. Each step is not hard but as you grow a little tired the unfamiliar climbing action gets a bit wonky and you sense you might slip. 

Inside you can see the curvy steel frame fixed inside the copper skin, no thicker than two pennies they kept saying. This construction protects the steelwork from the sea spray and the steel provides the strength. Up in the crown there are tiny windows arrayed through which you can see Lower Manhattan. The two officers in the crown were delightful and helpful in getting those couple pictures (how many cameras a day would they handle) and answering questions. After few minutes the next party was ascending (the crown is cramped with more than a couple of people) and we started our way down. This was comparable to the difficulty in going up probably exacerbated by facing down the steep spiral steps. 

We took the Battery Park (southern tip of Manhattan) boat off the island and wandered up to the World Trade Centre for another photo safari with Zim after the fun we had yesterday. We were reunited with Alfredo, our Argentinian friend from yesterday, a new friend Vanessa and the irrepressible Zim. The area we looked around included One World Trade Center, the 911 North and South Tower Pools and the PATH terminal which includes a mall and is in the dramatic shape of a huge sun bleached skeleton. Lots of new architecture to wow over. 

After the session we got directions to get up to Chinatown for dinner and again farewelled Zim (and Alfredo and Vanessa). Rosie had the restaurant details and Angus had the subway instructions. Initially neither could even find the right platform. So frustrating! Lots of subway users (or tourists) only know their own routes so are of little help, especially if you are in the wrong place. But we got it. Finally the signs are beginning to make sense, sometimes. 

Up in Chinatown, which was busy still, we found our restaurant and were impressed. Yummy, fresh and inexpensive. On our return, we had similar indecision with the subway and were returning to our PATH when a guy asked us for advice (crazy hey). After only one false start we could guide him (and us) there. Yay us! 

Rosie – climbing the top of the Statue
Angus – seeing the inside of the Statue