Day 122 New York City 2nd day
Trip Start May 07, 2008
205Trip End Nov 22, 2008
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Where I stayed
The breakfast bar in this hotel is self serve, it certainly is adequate for our requirements, with cereal, toast, boiled eggs and waffles available. A great start for the day planned of being serious big Apple tourists.
Walked out the front and a shuttle bus was already picking up passengers, so we piled on board feeling real good about ourselves in having sorted this system so well, all in less than a day!
We are dropped off outside the bus terminal as opposed to inside, no idea as to why, but gee we are only half a block from Times square.
We walk around the corner and are immediately near crash tackled by ticket touters, attempting to sell us bus about tickets. We chose the red Greyline bus about, our previous experience with this firm had proved good, so why would it be different here
We waited a good 45 mins for the first bus, to be told it was full and the next one would not be long, ok patience, the next bus came ten minutes later, same storey, by the time the third bus came our patience had worn a little thin, but upon a further questions, we found out that there was room downstairs but the air conditioning was not working. We were not too fussed about that because we wanted to only travel about three stops to hop off at battery park to head to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
The funny thing was, as soon as the bus moved the air con came on in the downstairs area. We chose to hop off at Ground Zero, to check out the information centre and the tribute to the victims of 9/11. We walked along the pathway beside the construction site where the excavation is happening for the foundations for the new building. Walked back around to find the information centre and spent about an hour or so inside viewing some of the articles recovered including a cell phone, a small section of fused glass, a brief case with a melted laptop, and a twisted piece of girder, to name only a few. Photos of those missing and tributes and lists of names. Certainly a wonderful tribute, they will not be forgotten.
This event definitely shook the world's humanity and changed the world as we knew it will not be forgotten
We came out from there looking for a cuppa break and to reflect about the tribute quietly, that achieved, time to catch the red bus again. BOY was that a bad choice, we could have walked three times to battery park by the time a red bus turned up to take us the next couple of stops, through Wall Street and past the NY stock exchange to the park. Our impressions of the Red bus service in NY are plummeting quickly! It doesn't help to see the Blue bus go around with about 4 to 1 and all with room up top!
Never mind, we line up for tickets for the ferry trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Obtaining the tickets was no problem, again the effects of 9/11 are felt, as we have to go through tight airport security screening (belts, watches etc included to go in the screened container).
The wait time for the ferry was about 25 mins, (we are starting to feel today should be called "wait in Line Day" ) then the large crowd embarking from the ferry and loading onto the ferry all enter a narrow 2 person gangplank, it is quite a shuffle to position ourselves to obtain a spot.
We leave the terminal and head out across the water to be flanked by two armed Coast Guard patrol vessels, (how the world has changed!) is it paranoia or are we happy to have the knowledge that we are protected from another attack. It certainly is better to err on the side of safety, and if it saves lives there should be no complaints.
We hop off at another icon, the symbol to the world of freedom. The statue of Liberty was first conceived in 1875 by a Frenchman wanting to give something of significance to the American people, It was unveiled in 1896, and certainly was something special
Certainly she stands proud and underwent a massive facelift funded by the American people in time for the 100 year anniversary and was ready for the 4th of July celebrations in 1996.
Lunch on this island under the Shadow of Liberty was relaxed and nice with the breeze off the water keeping the temperature comfortable. The weather has been quite warm since we have been here, we certainly have been fortunate with the weather.
After lunch we loaded up onto the ferry to take us to Ellis Island, the gateway to America for 60 million immigrants. This is also a national park, it was the first stop for the huge rush of immigrants from 1906 to 1926. The buildings have been preserved and the recordings of actual immigrant memories of the place are really interesting. The place was built to handle up to 5000 immigrants a day, but during the peak of immigration handled 12,000 in a day.
The doctors had 6 secs to check for the many diseases they had listed, and the process was firstly health, followed by means of ability to look after themselves, and possibly mental illness. Single woman were not allowed to leave Ellis Island unless accompanied by a parent or spouse, some families were broken up because a child may have had an eye disease, and the frightened immigrants were never sure if they would be accepted or not, and to receive a chalk mark (from the doctor was very scary) yet the Americans were treating the disease for the immigrants not actually turning them away, as most thought
Only around 2% were turned away, yet that was still a number of about 1000 per month were sent back to the country they came from.
The Ships that transported them to the country had to pay for the food provided to the immigrants if they were detained on Ellis island, for any reason, some were there for a while awaiting hearings or recovering from treatment in the hospitals or simply waiting for family to pick them up.
A challenging time but it built this country and opened the lives of many to a better world for themselves or their children.
We load up and head back to catch a bus about again. We decided to walk to the next stop near pier 17 to catch the section to take us into Brooklyn Borough. Gee another challenge. The line for this was reasonable, and the one for the downtown loop was large. We waited at least an hour and 5 of the blue buses came and went. NOT HAPPY CAMPERS!, the guides and controllers were doing their best but it was tough going. Simply not enough buses for the crowds. Eventually they turned up with an empty bus and told us they were adding another bus at a later time to accommodate the people that had been waiting for over an hour.
We did the tour of the Brooklyn area with a great driver and guide, they gave us a little extra sidetracks and great commentary added to alleviate some of our ill feelings built up during this "wait in Line day"
We came back across back to Pier 17 and chose to hop off here to maybe catch a feed, The bus we were on was taking a non stop run back to Times square, we walked into pier 17 and checked the food out and decided we would head back into times square. We caught a red bus immediately and had a good seat upstairs. Finished the downtown route in comfort and noted a couple of places to return to tomorrow, EG: Central park and Rockefeller centre. Hopped off in times square to again be mesmerised by the vibrancy and action in this city.
We found a place suitable for food with a quiet downstairs section with easy to listen to music.
This achieved, we went looking for the show ticket booth, it has temporary premises in the Marriot hotel, but was closed by the time we arrived, so after only 12 hours of tourist stuff we decided we would wimp out and head home.
Yes it is late and yes we have posted, we are good to you guys. Tomorrow another day in NYC, hopefully a show. No promises for a posting tomorrow night!