To actually go on Ellis Island and up the statue of Liberty there is a three month waiting list, so yeah I didn't actually get to go on Ellis Island, however you can still go on a boat trip by the Island which is what I did. And was totally worth it. It was an exceptionally hot day and we were on the top deck of the boat catching a breeze finally. The tour guide tells you all about the Island and its history. And there is not only photo opportunity's of the Island but of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. We got our tickets through the Hop on Hop off bus. When I go back to New York with hopefully a bit more time to plan it I would like to actually go up the Statue of Liberty. Definitely a bucket list item.
On the one day where we had bad weather, where it was overcast and drizzly but not cold we went up the Empire State building. Yeah I know of all the days and places but it really was the only time we could go up. And I still got some wicked photos. However I would love to go back up on a good day. Not only is the view obviously amazing but the information on the tour as you go up is also really interesting. It tells you all about how they built the Empire State Building in the 1930's and the competition to have the tallest building. How the builders risked there lives everyday working on site. In a lot of ways although it was such an amazing feat to achieve in the 30's it is also very harrowing to read the stories and loss of life it involved to achieve. I think it demonstrates how badly people needed the work. I found the tour to be very captivating and the end view totally worth a visit.
Visiting the Memorial felt very surreal. I can remember watching the tv when it was happening, I was 7 and I haven't forgotten. And also being taught about it at school. We were lucky that we got to see the Memorial as while we were in New York they had the Memorial day.
There were a lot more police around and in the underground subway they had soldiers. Seeing the soldiers definitely drove home the fact that we were not just in any city. Its hard to explain, it wasn't that I suddenly felt unsafe, more like if something were to happen it was most likely then and I finally realized that. Seeing memorial day up-close and not from a safe distance in NZ gives you a very different perspective.
I didn't see the Memorial on Memorial Day as it was packed which was just a lucky coincidence as I know I hadn't realized it was happening while we were there and I don't think my parents had either. Even though we didn't go on Memorial Day it was still packed and the line for the museum was outrageous. So we didn't go in the museum but again I would like to do that next time.
I think the Memorial is breathtaking. Its very hard to put in to words how you feel standing before these giant water features with the names of the remembered bordering them. I think also because this event happened in 2001 it is more a part of my history then something that happened before I was alive if that makes sense, it has more meaning to me.