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 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.
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.