Our view of NYC
Yesterday we went all around the Wall Street area of New York. To get there, we took the train into Grand Central Station with our Uncle Mark. He guided us to Trinity Church which is where one of our historical heroes, Alexander Hamilton, is buried. After paying our respects and writing a prayer for our cousin JJ – we were off to find our boat to Lady Liberty. On our way to boarding the boat, we went through securit – like on a plane. We wanted to make sure we got a good seat, so we brought our breakfast onboard. We made friends with a hungry bay bird by giving him some pancake. Our family sat on the top deck of the boat – it was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and we had a perfect view of the Lady Liberty, Ellis Island and Manhattan.
Once we departed the boat at Liberty Island. We had many choices on which way we were going to experience the island. We all grabbed audio packs and jumped into a guided tour by one of the park rangers. His name was Dennis Mulligan, possibly a descendent of Hercules Mulligan? We’ll never know. During his tour, he mentioned facts that we never knew like: The inside frame of The Lady Liberty is built much like the steel and iron braces of the Eiffel tower. This is because it was designed by the same engineer. The Lady Liberty’s outside layer is only as thick as two pennies put together and while it was once copper, after 60 days turned patina green. In addition, there were holes cut into the torch as to make light glow for all to see – but it never worked as expected and so ruined the inside of the structure – causing reconstruction of the upper arm and torch to take place in 1984. This redo was per the original designers specs – 24 carrot gold flame. This flame can be seen for 16 miles away.
Once our live tour was complete we explored the inside, via her pedestal. It took the original structure team a while to decide where to place her. They wanted to make sure she was not blocked or covered up in NY. They wanted her to stand out and not be distracted by the NYC skyline. The perfect spot was atop Fort Wood (used during the war in 1812), which is fitting because the fort was used to protect and defend NY harbor. By being placed there she symbolized hope, freedom and new beginnings for all entering our country.
After the tour of The Lady, we jumped on the boat headed toward Ellis Island. There we got to experience what our ancestors went through upon arriving in the US. When we entered the main hall where immigrant’s fate was decided, we all felt a chill and became a bit emotional and quiet. For this was where all of our great-great grandparents entered and our future as Americans, was written. We learned that some immigrants were sent back, after a long-long trip to America, and had to leave their family members. We can’t imagine what that must have felt like – to catch a moment of hope and then great despair. We said a prayer for those who experienced loss in this manner.
After we left Ellis Island, we visited Clinton Castle and Federal Hall – squeezing a bit more history into our day. Phew, we definitely earned our ‘gym’ credit today – can’t tell you how many miles we covered, but enough to cause back and leg pain. Some interesting facts about our Battery Park and Wall Street adventures: 1. Clinton Castle was built to keep people out, now welcomes visitors. Built in 1808-1811 – it served as a defense for NY Harbor, an entertainment center and an immigration depot – some 8 million people entered from 1855-1890. It was established in 1946 as a Welcoming monument. 2. Federal Hall is where George Washington took office as the first President of the United States, serving as America’s first capital building. It was originally built in 1700 and served as New York’s city hall.
Our last stop – ‘The Charging Bull’ – you can watch a video about it online at: http://www.smithsonianmag.com/videos/category/arts-culture/the-story-of-the-wall-street-bull/ Basically, in 1989, the artist Arturo Di Modica created the Bull as a way to celebrate the ‘can-do’ spirit of America and New York. A place where people from all over the world can come no matter their origin or circumstance. And with hard work they could over come obstacles and be successful. Arturo dropped it off as a surprise in the middle of the night in front of the NYSE. When they saw it, they were mad and had relocated it at Bowling Green, close by. The Bull stands there today, visited by millions of tourists.
We hope you enjoyed our view of NYC!