Day 19 - 14th August 2001
Liberty Island & The Statue of Liberty

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The Empire State Building
I got up today and was determined to have a more successful day than yesterday. I slept in to around 11, and then went round to the tour office to ask why the bus didn't turn up yesterday. They gave me an extension on the ticket, so I can take the tour again! I walked around to the bus stop, and got on. The driver then announced that there was a problem with the PA system, and we had to change busses, so we all got off and got on the bus behind.

Eventually, we got underway, and I got to see the first half of the tour for the third time! I did manage to get even more photos of the Empire State building and the World Trade Center twin towers though. I got off the tour bus at the Statue of Liberty. I walked through Battery Park, and joined the line to board the ferry. There were a few street entertainers ready to entertain the crowd during the 20 minute wait, who performed some really poor magic tricks. The ferry arrived, and all the tourists were herded on board, camera in hand. The ferries they use were huge, and had their own snack bar, even though you hardly get time to eat anything on the 15 minute journey.
The New York skyline from the ferry.
The ride gave me ample opportunity take photos of the Statue of Liberty, the most recognised landmark in America, and lots of other tourists were doing the same.

The ferry arrived at it's first stop, Liberty Island. I decided not to get off here, as I didn't fancy the hour wait to go inside the statue. I wouldn't be able to go all the way to the top anyway, as that privilige is reserved for the first ferry of the day. The ferry continued on to Ellis Island, where I got off. I was following in many peoples footsteps, as Ellis island was the first step for immigrants coming into America. At the beginning of the 20th century it was the main immigration center in the US. Stepping into the restored main hall, a large, cavernous empty space, and hearing your footsteps echoing round the room, you can almost still hear the voices of the many thousands of people who saw this as a first step in a new life as an American citizen.

The original main building is now a museum describing the history of the island and what went on there. The island was originally constructed from landfill produced during the construction of the New York subway. The original main building was detroyed by fire, and rebuilt. The island was also extended twice, and two hospitals were added to treat immigrants who entered the country unwell.
The Statue of Liberty - one of the most famous
landmarks in the world
People were often datained overnight, and slept in cramped dormitories with canvas matresses in a bunkbed-like arrangement three beds high.

There were also galleries exhibiting artefacts brought into America by the immegrants, and audio interviews with the people themselves about their memories of coming into America. It was all completely fascinating.

After the museum I caught the ferry back to Manhatten island, and then caught the tour bus for the rest of the tour. I couldn't ge upstairs because it was very busy, but eventually the bus emptied out enough so I could get a seat and enjoy the view. Unfortunately, it started to pour with rain almost immediately, and everyone had to go downstairs. We were shown the eastern side of Manhatten Island, including Brooklyn Bridge, and what remains of Little Italy since it was taken over by chinatown.

It was still raining when the bus dropped everyone off near where the tour started in Times Square. I popped into Easy Everything to check my email, and then went back to the hostel. I popped out later for a meal, and had a pretty dodgy lasagne from a fast food style Italian resturaunt.

The main hall on Ellis Island
Sleep was a little easier tonight, as it was a few degrees cooler in the room.

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