Visiting the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island was a ‘must-do’ on our first trip to New York, and we weren’t disappointed with our whole day out.
Of course, you have to go out to Liberty Island, then Ellis Island, by boat. The cruises leave from Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan, and are very well organised but also very busy. Top tip – book in advance, as the ‘turn up on the day’ queue was extremely long! Also, go early, as all the queues get longer during the day. If you could book a sunny day as well, it would make an ideal day. We were fortunate to have brilliant sunshine, as you can see from my photos.
The Statue itself is well known but nothing can quite compare to standing at its base, looking up, where its true size can be appreciated. There are wonderful views back to Manhattan Island of course, and the walk up to the pedestal of the statue is worth it for those alone. People with mobility issues may have trouble with this ascent – there is a lift but it doesn’t go all the way up. There is a small museum about the statue inside the base, all about its construction, its transport from France, and its installation on Liberty Island. Of course, as is the case everywhere you go, you finish the visit in the souvenir shop.
Our trip continued on to Ellis Island Immigration Center, which has absolutely fascinating stories about the people who arrived in America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, hoping to make their fortunes in the new world. Many made it through the immigration process, but some for various reasons (many of them medical) were disappointed and returned from whence they came. It would be so easy to spend the whole day there, especially if you want to do some research into your ancestors!
As the sun went down, we cruised back to Battery Park imagining what it must have been like for those immigrants who reached their promised land by sailing right past the Statue of Liberty to the center where their future lives would be decided. A wonderful end to a marvellous day!
“Statue of Liberty website”:https://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm