Today is one of those months where I have two blogs go live in one day. Earlier on I shared some time in Central Park, New York. This blog I am going to share our trip to Staten Island.
For every foreigner, New York is that illusive place you hear about, along with Miami, and LA. It’s in the movies, it in books, you hear about it on television and you feel like you have to visit. I have seen Miami. I have now seen New York. LA will have to be on the trip down under.
Along with New York comes the Statue of Liberty, the welcoming beacon to all of those immigrants so many years ago, and one that today’s immigrants also look to and are thankful for the opportunity to be in the USA. I am one of those immigrants.
While we are immigrants, all of my family still live in South Africa. This trip was about spending time with my brother and his wife while they were in the USA. Today’s adventure is just a small part of our day. We were going to Staten Island, Dumbo, Walk the Brooklyn Bridge, World Trade Center and the 911 Memorial Site.
So we were up early and off to the train station. The train arrived and there was standing room only. This was the early morning commute. We were squashed into the compartment like sardines in a tin. It was hot, sweaty and I felt profoundly grateful that I did not have to do this every day, and very sorry for those that did. And yes, the compartment was air-conditioned but honestly – way to many people.
In the pre-planning phase of the trip, we had looked at the cost of the trip to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, the number of people who visit it on a daily basis and the length of time it took. None of us wanted to go down that avenue. We also had a jam packed day of activities and this was just a small part of it.
So a tip to any traveler who wants to see the Statue of Liberty but does not want the cost, crowds and length of time it takes, take a ferry boat ride to Staten Island. It is free. It also goes past the Statue of Liberty. If you have a good camera and a great zoom lens you will get some fairly decent images. I guess here is the time to make my stupidity confession. While packing my camera lens, I somehow packed my heavy macro lens instead of my 300mm zoom lens. Bummer, but at least my lens I used for the trip was a 24-135mm so I had some level of zoom in it.
The trip takes about 40 minutes each way and one of the goals was to get the New York Skyline. I feel like that is what this blog is about mainly. I managed to get one I was happy with and you will see that I have edited it in a number of different ways. The image above is linked to my maiden name and so I could not resist taking the Hudson River. New Jersey on one side and New York on the other.
Above is my color edit of the New York skyline. The day was overcast and we had had a few drops of rain. No fun for a photographer but it did add to the mood of the black and white images.
Ellis Island, so history goes, was in use from 1892 to 1924 and was used as the immigration access point for over 12 million immigrants. Annie Moore was the first immigrant to step through the doors of Ellis Islands immigration center. Annie, age 15, was traveling to the USA with her 2 younger brothers in order to meet up with her parents. All immigrants needed to successfully pass a medical test proving that they had no illnesses. They also had to pass an interview proving that they could support themselves in this new country and prove that they had sufficient funds with them. After 1917 they also had to prove that they could read. The island had two nicknames, “Island of Hope” and in contrast “Island of Tears”. For if you did not pass any of the tests you were sent home. From all accounts families got separated at this process. According to the records April 17, 1907 was Ellis Islands busiest day. 11747 people were processed through the facility that day.
I always thought the Statue of Liberty was built as a beacon welcoming foreigners to it’s shore, but reading history today tells me otherwise. According to history the statue of liberty’s origins lay in France. Edouard de Laboulaye presented the idea to the sculptor Frederic Bartholdi. Bartholdi designed, raised funds and chose the location of where the statue would be situated. This statue was to be a gift from the people of France
The statue was built in a number of stages and shipped to the USA. Gustave Eiffel, famously known for the Eiffel Tower, was hired to build the internal construction of the the statue, an iron grid structure would give support to the statue. The outer form was constructed from copper which has oxidized and turned green over the years. The statue is meant to represent the freedom and liberty of the United States Government. She was designed and modeled after the goddess Liberatas. Enlightenment of the world is symbolically represented in the torch that she holds up high, and the tablet represents the law. The tablet has an inscription date in Roman numerals of July 1776. The chains at her feet are said to represent breaking free from tyranny.
Above is my silhouette version of New York City. Black and white city images add character for me and are definitely one of my favorite ways to see a city.
In the distance is the view of Jersey Island, New York City and Brooklyn to the right with a slight glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. Before we knew it we were looking forward and at the arrival point to Staten Island.
Staten Island is not a small island, and we did not have the time to explore much there but we did get to walk along the waterfront for a short bit of time.
As we were arriving so ferries were preparing to leave.
The waterfront area was colorful and interesting and we quickly found a Starbucks to get our early morning java.
Below was one of my favorite views on Staten Island, and so while my brother and sister in law were visiting the pharmacy, I took the opportunity to head back to this area and take some photo’s of this statue.
Of course, for me, I love to see this kind of artwork in black and white so I have detoured from color here to fill my need to see city scenes in monochrome.
This was the last hazy shot from Staten Island of New York City before we headed back to the ferry to do the 40 minute trip back to the mainland and on to Dumbo.
Clearly people love to have fun out on the water and it was great to see these jet ski’s out and about.
Some interesting facts about the Statue of Liberty:
The green exterior of the Statue of Liberty is copper that has changed color due to oxidation.
If you are up to climbing the statue right to the top of the crown, plan on being fit, you will need to navigated 354 steps. In fact I am not sure that you are allowed to do that anymore.
The statue’s face is supposed to represent the mother of the sculptor Bartholdi.
Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island were most likely to see the Statue of Liberty first.
The total weight of the statue is approximately 225 tons.
The spikes or rays sticking out from the crown are supposed to represent the seven continents and seven seas of the world.
My last interpretation of the New York City Skyline – gritty and grainy. New York City has it’s own unique character and a dense population. This is added to by the sheer volume of visitors to the city. Some areas I found a little dirty and other areas I loved.
As we approached the landing bays again, I was struck by the multi-levels of this city. Amidst the tall glass structures are these small buildings and at times I felt the view upwards looked a little like stepping stones.
The docking area has these protection areas built between each docking station made up by numerous posts of wood, preventing ships from bumping up against each other.
We are out of the harbor and our view right now is of Brooklyn Bridge. Yes, we are heading there and yes we are going to cross it. So it is off to the train station again to catch the “under the river” train to the town of Dumbo, where we will begin our walk to the bridge.
This was a once in a lifetime shot for me, as the train was coming in. I attempted it a couple of other times and did not get what I was looking for.
Thank you for joining me this month as we spend time sharing another day in our lives. This is a circle blog. Take some time to view what the other artists have for you this month. Mindy Sauvageau is up next and I can’t wait to read what she has to share.