2013 Gratitude Project – Travel: To the Crown of LibertyThis month will be a celebration of travel. I am so grateful for the many opportunities I’ve had over my nearly thirty years to explore the world. Click here to read about my 2013 November Gratitude Project – Travel
As mentioned in yesterday’s post, I had marvelous time while interning in New York City in 2009. Of the many adventures I had over those couple of months, a few stand out in my memory including my Independence Day in the city when I climbed to the top of the Statue of Liberty.
Before getting to NYC I started researching things to see and do including one thing that almost every visitor to NYC wants to see – the Statue of Liberty. I learned that visits into the statue itself had been closed since September 11, 2001. I also learned that the reopening would be July 4, 2009 when I would be in New York. I naturally made plans to make it happen. I watched my computer until the moment the tickets were available. I got four knowing I could find three others to go with me.
That Independence Day was one of the most memorable for me. Early in the morning we met at Battery Park where you catch the ferry to Liberty Island. There were all sorts of festivities going on like a flag raising ceremony in the old fort where you get your ferry tickets, members of the armed forces taking their oaths at a nearby war memorial and a plethora of green-painted, toga-wearing people posing for pictures with tourists.
We got our tickets and waited in the security line to board the ferry. Our tickets for the statue were for a certain time and we wanted to make sure we were there on time. Once across the harbor, we got our special passes at the ranger’s station and went through another security checkpoint where we had to leave all personal belongings except a camera.
At that point we entered the plinth, which is about the same height as Lady Liberty herself and was built by the Americans on a star-shaped fort foundation. The base houses a museum with the original stained-glass torch and other artifacts telling the story of the statue. We were mostly concerned with getting to the crown and bypassed the museum. I think when I go back, I will take the time to explore the museum too.
Up the center of the statue are two very narrow spiral staircases that intertwine like a strand of DNA, one side going up and the other for coming down. Climbing up you realize just how thin the copper is, just two pennies thick, and how much craftsmanship went into creating this iconic landmark, the copper was shaped over handmade forms.
Eventually, we made it past the gated ladder leading up the arm to the torch and arrived in the head of Lady Liberty. At this point there is a small landing to look out the windows just below the points of the crown. A ranger was stationed there to answer questions, protect the landmark and take our group picture.
We gazed out over the Hudson at Manhattan. We watched the boats, big and small, pass by. We imagined what it must have been like to immigrants arriving for the first time to pass by this symbol of liberty. What an amazing experience to have on Independence Day!
After descending and exiting the statue, we all immediately got on our phones, which we had to leave outside, to call and text family and friends. It was one of those things you want to share as soon as you can. We meandered around Liberty Island for a little bit and then hopped on the ferry over to Ellis Island for a completely different inspiring adventure. The day ended with fireworks on five barges up and down the Hudson River.
I am so grateful for this wonderful experience. I am thankful for what this landmark symbolizes.