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Lady Liberty was the first thing immigrants saw on the way to Ellis Island

By January 23, 2020 No Comments

[Mom – October 1, 2019 – Today was another bucket list check off for us as we visited the Statute of Liberty and Ellis Island.]

Except when I visited NYC with the Boy Scouts back when I was 16 years old, every time I have been in Manhattan I have always taken the Staten Island Ferry which sails within a quarter mile of the Statue of Liberty. This had given me a great view of her and still allowed me to use the majority of the day exploring other parts of New York.

Model showing the inside support structure of Miss Liberty

Well this time my mother wanted to actually visit Liberty Island and I was more than willing to devote the entire day to this adventure. I highly recommend you get your tickets in advance from Statue Cruises (they are the only vendor allowed to sail to the island). We got the basic package that allowed us on the island, the two museums, and access to the top of the pedestal (inside her feet). If you want to go up to her crown you have to buy the tickets months in advance as we found out. We bought them two months earlier and the crown was already sold out.

The main building on Ellis Island

While most people know that the statue was a gift from the French people to celebrate the 100 year anniversary of the USA independence, many of them do not know that the American people were required to come up for the cost of the pedestal she stands on and raising the money was tough. It was really only because Joseph Pulitzer, of the New York World, started a drive in his newspaper for donations to finish the project and attracted more than 120,000 contributors, most of whom gave less than a dollar. In the end the pedestal was placed in the middle of an older fort that was filled in to provide a base for the pedestal and statue.

Ship manifest with passangers bound for Ellis Island

The tour to the Statue of Liberty included a stop at Ellis Island, which I was really excited to see. This was the main port of immigration for the USA from 1892-1954 and to see the architecture and history was inspiring. I must admit that I actually thought Ellis Island was earlier and more during the second half of 1800’s instead of the first half of the 1900’s. Inside you can see how the entire immigration process worked back then and the National Parks Service also corrects many fictions on the process that Hollywood has depicted through movies.

The main reception hall

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