This post is part of a series. Click here to start at the beginning.
[typography font=”Schoolbell” size=”36″ size_format=”px” color=”#8c0510″]Day 3[/typography]
We went to bed as early as we could the night before so we’d be ready to get up EARLY Friday morning. I learned my lesson a few years ago when Daddy and I went with another couple to NYC and had to take a picture from a mile away — because we completely underestimated the line for the most recognizable sight in the city. I told you that story, and had to remind you several times that morning when we DIDN’T have to stand in line — “Buddy, THIS is why we got up early.”
And it was early, I know. We left our hotel room before 7am. But it was worth it.
We’d bought tickets beforehand and the earlybird hour meant we would do minimal line-standing. Through security, onto the ferry, and before you knew it – we were headed toward Lady Liberty.
First things first, we had tickets for the pedestal so we went through another round of security and climbed the stairs to the pedestal. (One of these days we’ll go back and do the crown, Buddy. I wanna see it from there, too.)
You really have to be careful or you’ll just take pictures of her over and over. She’s mesmerizing, and every angle is new and beautiful.
Inside the pedestal is the museum and we crashed a live tour that appeared to have just started. Our tour guide was a short, stocky, theatrical, born-to-be-a-tour-guide goofball who called himself Uncle Jeffrey. Uncle Jeffrey practically put on a one-man show, complete with character voices, of the concepting, design, construction, delivery, unveiling, and commercialization of the statue. This is a man who loves his job.
You were soaking up the trivia left and right. “Mommy, did you hear that?! Her skin is only 2 pennies thick!” You even shot your little hand in the air during the tour when Uncle Jeffrey offered an obscure factoid about which future President of the United States was instrumental in early fundraising in New York — “Teddy Roosevelt!” Uncle Jeffrey declared you were the only tourist EVER to answer that question correctly and you beamed about it for an hour.
You noticed people with audio handsets, and convinced me we might be missing out on something — and after both the guided tour at the Museum of Natural History the day before and Uncle Jeffrey’s performance — you were sold on tours. So we backtracked to the park entrance to get our self-guided audio tour handsets.
Told ya. Photos and photos and more photos – isn’t she just wonderful?
You had BIG plans for that National Park passport that week — this was the first of several stamps in a single day!
Eventually, it was time to wave goodbye to Uncle Jeffrey and Liberty Island, and board the ferry bound for our next stop — Ellis Island.
I checked on both sides of our family and we didn’t have anyone come through Ellis Island, but we spent some surprisingly heavy time together that afternoon, walking in the footsteps of people having traveled so very far for so very long – just for the chance at the American dream. Again, we jumped on a tour — this time led by a Ranger — and you paid more attention than I ever could have anticipated.
It was during our picnic lunch on Ellis Island I first noticed you stalking birds with your camera. You did a pretty extensive bird study last year at school and have been identifying them ever since. 99% of what we saw in NYC were pigeons, but you didn’t seem to care.
Back to Manhattan for a stroll down Wall Street and a visit to an important landmark in the life of another of your favorites – George Washington.
You are a huge fan of George, and couldn’t be that close to Federal Hall without checking it out.
In the interest of maximizing our National Monument tour of downtown, we doubled back to Battery Park to visit Castle Clinton — at various times in its life America’s first immigration station (predating Ellis Island), a beer garden, exhibition hall, theater, aquarium, and now both a national monument and the home of the Statue of Liberty ticket office.
Are you keeping track? That’s FOUR National Monuments in ONE DAY! The Ranger at Federal Hall chatted with us a bit about other sites on the island of Manhattan and he was impressed to hear we’d already been to the General Grant National Memorial the day before. He side-barred advice to me that I should take you to Boston or Philly next to keep the flame of history alive.
After we’d had our fill of guided tours and historical landmarks for the day, we wandered to the water with plans to take a water taxi across the river to Brooklyn. The weather was looking gray and ominous, but we were determined.
The plan was to walk the Brooklyn Bridge from Brooklyn back to Manhattan, enjoying the view. Well… It’s a good thing we enjoy the walk itself – and each other’s company. The weather just didn’t cooperate, but the bridge wasn’t crowded and we even found another couple willing to snap our photo in the rain, in exchange for the same. Kindred souls.
It more or less quit raining when we were back in Manhattan and we wandered upon City Hall.
And by then it was time to wander to the nearest subway stop and wander on back to the hotel. You were such a trooper — again. We walked over 8 miles that day, after walking nearly as many each of the two days before that. And since we’d had such an early morning – we took our showers and had an early night.
Goodnight, little Buddy.
The story continues!