Extra security limited our sight-seeing slightly
15.02.2008 - 15.02.2008 5 °C
Time to get up and have our 1st New York “Continental“. Remember what I said about the small lobby? Well that was where breakfast was…… We could have taken it back to our room but we were dressed ready to go out so we got our bagels and fruit juice and Danish and coffee and tried to find somewhere to sit. The 4 chairs were occupied the windowsill was occupied and the bench was occupied but fairly quickly we managed to get a seat on the bench as I think people were self conscious about eating here. We balanced our brekkie on our knees and managed to eat it without loosing it and it wasn’t that bad really.
Then we were off out again. We had pre-booked tickets for the Statue of Liberty before we left the UK but for some reason only had the confirmation paperwork and not any tickets. We didn’t think this should be a problem but wanted to get there early rather than the last minute before the ferry left.
We walked back to the subway station we came from the previous evening and caught the train to Battery Park. This was a lot easier this time as we had no cases and Battery Park was the last station on the line anyway. But a couple of stations prior to the last the driver made some sort of announcement about the first 5 carriages. We kept listening and eventually realised that at the platform at the last station was only long enough for the 1st 5 and anyone who were in the other carriages would not be able to get off!! Which were we on? Would we be stuck? How much time had we got? Where there any more stations to be able to get out of our carriage and change to one of the 1st 5 if need be?
Oh well, if we have to, we’ll stay on and get off at the 1st station on the way back.
When the train arrived at the last station we were ok. We got off and made our way up to the sunlight. Found our bearings and made our way to where the ferry should be leaving. It was a good job we did too. Due to the extra security after 9/11 the queue was really long and as we needed to query our tickets we thought we better start queuing too. After about 15 mins there were people coming back down the queue and we heard an announcement that the tickets should be bought at the fort 1st. Hmmmmmmm should we stay where we were or go to the ticket office. As we had only waited for 15 mins it wasn’t a lot of time to waste so decided to go to the fort and check there?
We made the right decision! We went to the prepaid ticket window showed our confirmation and right away the guy there printed off our tickets and gave them to us. So now we felt we didn’t have to queue so long. Both Sue and I needed the bathroom by this time which was also in the fort. Whilst I waited for Sue to return (women’s bathrooms always have queues) I took a couple of photos one I took by zooming my camera and catching “living” Statue of Liberty and some piece of modern art behind him outside of the fort through a door way. I thought it would look good framed that way. When Sue returned we had a quick look around the fort and at some of the information boards. After checking all them out we decided to go back to the queue as we cold see the ferry previous to ours docking and wondered if we would be able to get on that one instead.
But we didn’t with all the security checks and baggage checks that ferry left before we got to the front of the queue. But we were not that far from the front. So we waited. About 30 minutes later the ferry returned and disembarked its passengers and then it was our turn to board. To be honest I wanted to sit outside even though it was a February morning but I’m not sure if Sue did but most of the seats inside had gone anyway. But the views from outside are a lot better.
It didn’t take us long to get there and soon we were getting our audio guides. It was quite interesting as it did explain the history and construction. We took a short break from the tour to give our friend Valentino Pup some fresh air. We decided that we would video Valentino singing his song at various places we visit in New York and maybe other places in the world too. We did get a few strange looks but it was fun and I know a few people did smile at this crazy couple in their 50s. After this short break we finished off the tour and went in side looked around the exhibits like the original flame and life size replicas of parts of the statue. We then made our way up inside the plinth but found we could not go any higher.
It was a bit of a disappointment as back in 2000 I went right up into the crown but it was part of the aftermath of 9/11 again. We did enjoy the visit though, but it would have been a lot better to get a closer view of how it was made. We made our way back to the ferry grabbing a coffee on the way to warm ourselves up. And finished it just as the ferry arrived. This time we managed to get a seat inside.
After visiting Ellis Island we were dropped off at Battery Point and from there we made our way to ground zero. Which we had planned to do today. On the way we passed the “living” statue I had taken the photo of and then stopped to look at the “modern” art. But it wasn’t modern art it was a monument in remembrance of the people who died and suffered in the 9/11 attack. Here’s a description of what it is:
''The Sphere is a large metallic sculpture by German sculptor Fritz Koenig, currently displayed in Battery Park, that once stood in the middle of Austin Tobin Plaza, the area between the World Trade Centre towers in Manhattan. After being recovered from the rubble of the Twin Towers after the September 11, 2001 attacks, its fate was initially uncertain and it was dismantled into its components. Although it remained structurally intact, it had been visibly damaged by debris from the airliners that were crashed into the buildings and the collapsing skyscrapers themselves.
Six months after the attacks, following a documentary film about the sculpture, it was relocated to Battery Park on a temporary basis—without any repairs—and formally rededicated with an eternal flame as a memorial to the victims of 9/11. It has become a major tourist attraction, due partly to the fact that it survived the attacks with only dents and holes. It will be returned to its original home once the Freedom Tower project is completed.''
Looking at it I was thinking about the people I saw and maybe talked to in the twin towers last time I was there and wondering if they had become victims. I kept looking back at it as we made our way out of Battery Park. But eventually I had to stop looking as I became quite emotional. We made our way towards ground zero stopping off at some other sculptures pushing the sphere to the back of my mind and eventually we arrived. We were hoping to go to a church that Sue had heard about to pay our respects but the nearest church which we think was the one was closed. We walked around the building site but could not look in maybe I didn’t really want to look in I didn’t want to take photos either but there were some tourists around that did. It was quite sobering walking around as almost all the people we saw were not tourist but people going about their normal day to day business not even glancing towards the building site. This to me shows that life goes on no matter what tragedy happens. At this point Sue and I left the area.
We decided to find Wall Street which was another of the places we hear about and see back here in the UK. The 1st thing we came to was the Bull. I’d not seen it before apart from pictures even though last time I had visited Wall Street and did the tour of the New York stock exchange. Walking on further we found it, and some guy preaching in the middle of the street. He did have an audience but mainly because he was just loud hahaha. There was also NYPD there, dog handlers and what I could only imaging, SWAT. Even though they looked as if they meant business curiosity got the better of me so I asked one what was so special about the building they were in front of. They said nothing they just wanted to hang out there hahaha.
Next it was on to China Town we had planned this walk earlier and thought it would be a good place to have dinner. Sue having a bad back by this time was grateful for the rest and also the food which was scrummy yummy. You can tell a good Chinese Restaurant I feel by the number of Chinese customers and this place had some.
After eating loads which surprised us both we were ready to move on we walked up Broadway towards Time Square and our hotel and the slow lift which this time didn’t make a worrying noise when it reached the top. We settled down for an evenings TV and later slept soundly after our 1st full day in the city.