Sunday, December 2, 2012

New York City - Day 3

Our next day was planned to visit two islands (Elis and Liberty) - and to do a little more if we had the time.  We drove to the New Jersey port thinking it would be easiest.  We had purchased our tickets online in advance - all very easy to do!

 Uh oh.  The girl is ready to run!
 This is the ferry we took.
 It was neat seeing New York City from this viewpoint.

 The morning started out cool and overcast.  The ride on the ferry was brief.

 I was struck by the beauty of the building before we even arrived.  And continued to be awed by the design throughout our visit.

 Originally the island was much smaller but increased in size with land reclamation.  It was fascinating to see the maps of how the island changed size over the years.  It was a military base for most of the 1800s.
 Ellis Island was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States.  It was the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954.  The first immigration station was made of wood and burned down after 5 years.  The new station was made to be fire proof and has been station for over 100 years.
 Isn't it a lovely building?  (Though not as lovely as the beautiful young lady in front of it.)
 There as a fabulous audio tour of the building.  Each person received their own headset and controls!  Each room had a different number to enter to learn about what occurred in that room.  There are numbers for a children's and adult version.  Very well done!
 We started here in the luggage area just as you enter the building.
This is the Great Hall.  The room is massive.  It is where the inspection process started.  

Throughout the building I am struck by the many unique and beautiful architectural details.  That is a Tiffany chandelier and the ceiling is Guastavino tile.  
Look at the detailing on the floor!  I loved all of this.  It just struck me that this period in history reflected a detail and formality and glamour that is not a part of our "normal life".  A building like this built today would be much more functional and utilitarian I would think.

Some of the kids wait on the benches while listening.  Waiting.  Remembering those who sat there long ago waiting to find out their fate and their future.

We walked through many rooms and learned about the various inspections that took place - physical and mental - to determine if people were safe to let into the country.  There were old photographs like this one below showing some of the foods available to purchase.  Note the different languages listed.
This was a display of the some of the money that was brought into the country.  We learned some stories about people.  Learned about some the past and futures of individuals.  Learned about jobs that they might get and the wages they would be paid.  So much to take in!!!  You could easily spend an entire day here learning.
 These were the "Stairs of Separation".  Once your fate was determined, you followed the stairs to different destinations - entering the US and going to NY (right) or NJ (left) or being detained on the  island (for those that were sick and might yet be allowed to enter the US).

This is a view of the 3rd floor where there were dormitory rooms.  The opening looked down onto the Great Hall.

 The boys worked very hard to earn their Junior Ranger badges!  Here is the National Park site if you would like to read more on the site.
We ate lunch here before heading out.  It was really quite good!

Next stop ... Liberty Island!  We were all so excited to get an up close look!

 We again picked up headsets to start on our tour of the grounds.  The statue was not yet opened.  It had  been closed for repairs and was due to open later in the month.  We started off heading to the flagpole.
 A fleeting moment of this one still.
 We started the tour at the back of the statue.
 Saw this part of the torch.
 Visiting this site just made me proud to be an American.  I loved learning about the history and all the people that worked to make this happen.  The statue became an icon of patriotism during WWI as it was the last site many soldiers saw when leaving the US and the first they saw upon returning.
 Part of our tour was a series of statues of each of the main players that made the Statue a reality - from the dream to the architect and more.

 A view of the city from Liberty Island.

 Daniel getting a close up view of various things from the island.
 When it was built, the Statue of Liberty was the tallest manmade structure in the United States.

 So very many people posing with pictures of the statue.  I have to say that I'm partial to these.  :-)

 Once again the boys worked to earn their ranger badges!  We found that it helped to print out the form in advance so that we could read and do some of the activities before we got there.
 Great job guys!
If you would like to read more on this site, you can go to the National Park website here:

Still some time in our day.  We head back to our vans on the ferry.  

 This is the station to get on the ferry.  Its an old train station.  Again, a beautiful building.
 A memorial to the twin towers.
 We took a train, then a subway to make it into the city.

 We arrive at the World Trade Center site.

A new building still under construction.  The rest of the site/memorial is being built and we weren't able to get a good peek at this late hour.
We go briefly into a memorial site.  We arrive shortly before it closes though and aren't able to stay there too long.

 What a sobering place.

 We decide to walk from here to Chinatown.  We walk around for a bit trying to find a place to eat.  This one was chosen based on its sanitation rating.  :-)
 Dinner was delicious!   We remembered in the Cricket in Times Square book when Mario visits his friend Sai Fong in Chinatown and shares a meal with him.
 Eliana had a meal of snacks as I just wasn't sure what might be safe for her (and neither were any of the staff there).  My boys all ate a a nearby McDonalds.
 Fun map in Chinatown.

We stopped in a store for some souvenirs.  Sunglasses.

And t-shirts.  I wish I had thought to buy one for Eliana and me!  Guess she'll get the hand-me-downs one day.

We walked to Little Italy and made it just to the edge of town.  By this time it was pretty late and we were pretty tired so we decided to head back.
 A tired group that has done a lot of walking!  Just 3 families touring together today.

 Buying tickets to ride the subway.
The city at night.

 Christopher - we missed having you here with us.  It was a great trip.  I love that we had this time to make memories together - and with friends too!
This is one of those trips that we will have sweet memories of for a long time.  I am thankful that we were able to do this.  I think that experiencing things like this first hand make learning come alive.  

Our next day was mostly just the drive home, so this is it for our New York City trip.

Hope you enjoyed hearing about our fun!