When I first decided to move to New York, I put together a list of places that I wanted to visit and explore or eat at. We shall call this my New York Bucket List. Some of the things I have accomplished and blogged about and others remain outstanding. Of course, I’m starting to realize that not everything that I have written there (or in my head or iphone notes) is a “must do” or maybe isn’t something that I need or want to do. Like the clubbing or hot spot bars in the city? Yeah, it’s likely I won’t be hitting all of those up. Not my jam and you know what? That’s a-okay.
Something I have wanted to do is see the Statue of Liberty and climb my way to the crown viewing point. When my family visited about 10 years ago, we were able to visit the Statue + Ellis Island, but because this was post-9/11, the crown was closed to visitors. I had thrown around the idea of visiting again with a few friends but of course no one wanted to commit to a certain day. So, in the end I decided to take a solo jaunt and booked my ticket back in July. Yes, back in July because only so many people are allowed up to the crown each day and spots sell out rapidly! Not as quickly as Jimmy Fallon tickets, but that’s a story for another day.
I highly recommend planning your trip months in advance as tickets sell out super quickly. Of course, if you aren’t looking to climb all the stairs and would rather just visit the island and stop by Ellis Island, you could probably do this day-of.
Back in July I thought that a 9am trip would be a good idea. Sunday morning I did not think so. But, I got my butt out of bed and trekked down to Battery Park to see Miss Lady Liberty. As you can see in the ticket above, it really is only $21 to see this monument and soak in all that history! Audio tours are included on both the trip to the statue as well as Ellis Island. I’m not kidding when I say you could make an ENTIRE day of this.
The time on your reservation is not the time you should arrive, nor the time you actually depart. I ended up picking my tickets up around 8:40 for a “9am” ticket. We did board the boat around then, but didn’t depart until 9:30. Like most things in life, you should just go with the flow on this one.
If you JUST want a view of Miss Liberty, I recommend taking the local trick or tourist hack and jump on the Staten Island Ferry. For a total cost of $0 (yes…FREE) you can ride the 25ish minute ferry to Staten Island, gazing lovingly at the symbol of liberty and freedom (according to history) and then take the 25ish minute ferry back. This is also located in Battery Park but does not come with an audio tour nor a trip to educate yourself on Ellis Island.
Sure, let’s take a selfie, shall we?
^^ Yes, those would be part of the 377 steps going from the lobby to the crown viewing platform. The engineering is brilliant as the double spiral staircase allows for one ascending direction and one descending direction – allowing for ease and flow of traffic. One thing to point out (maybe captain obvious) but if you are at all claustrophobic, I don’t know if you want to put this on your bucket list. With 18 inch wide steps and clearance of just about 6 feet…just throwing that out there.
My view from the crown – the only really good view to give perspective of how high up the viewing platform is.
^^ Can’t really believe I was all the way up there! Waaaaaaaay back in the day, the torch actually was open to visitors but as you can imagine it was closed because of structural damage in the early 1900’s.
^^ Because this is New York and we like to commercialize everything. My sister and dad (both of whom are essentially my accountants) would be proud – I spent no money on souvenirs or over-priced/low-quality food – just $2 for a locker to hold my purse while I climbed the stairs to the crown (security logistics, can’t beat around that bush)
Next up was Ellis Island. The Statue Cruise NYC ticket actually includes a trip to the statue and Ellis Island + museum, so you might as well make a day trip out of it. Since I had already taken this trip before, I didn’t end up reading through each and every museum sign. It also happened to be the first day of freezing weather (like in the 30’s when I first arrived at Battery Park) and I was ready for my warm and cozy apartment. **Please don’t get me wrong, there is a LOT of history to absorb and understand on this island and should not be discounted. I was lucky enough to have had the great opportunity to experience this before.
^^ Take a look at the main hall and how immigrants waited in lines for hours at a time. Then take a look below to see how it looks today. Neat comparison, right? Many immigrants arrived at Ellis Island, looking to start a new life right away but often had to wait through long lines, health check-ups and more. This would last from weeks to even years!
The entire experience on Ellis Island is truly amazing, showcasing the ins and outs of how immigrants were or often were not welcomed into New York. If you have the time to visit and walk around the museum, I highly recommend doing so. You can even spend some time (and possibly $) tracking your lineage to see if you had any ancestors who traveled through Ellis Island.
“All journeys begin by leaving one place to venture to another” – Ellis Island