I’m not aware how well you know New York. However one thing, which everyone knows about New York is, that the city has many places worth to visit. If you would just one day to visit New York, I’m not sure if I could give you the best advice about visiting the places, which you must see. Luckily this was not my case.
As you might remember, we left Boston on the 3rd of September, took the bus and arrived to New York on the same day. The first night was really nice, we walked a bit around in the neighborhood, met some new people and had a few beers and cigarettes (still not proud of the cigarettes).
On the next day we woke up really early, around 6:00am. Mostly I’m an early bird. I don’t like waking up late (late means 10:00am or after) as I have a feeling that the 1/2 of the day is already lost. Luckily Adam and Eva were really similar to me. Adam had no issue to wake up early, for Eva it was not so easy, however she always managed to arrive (almost) on time. We agreed to meet at 7:00am. It might be a bit crazy for someone, however I wanted to see the most of New York during those 4 days, I could spend there. Adam and Eva did plan to spend much more time in the city. As far as I know, they were flying back to Budapest only around the 15th of September. However that’s a different story.
Anyway, we all were ready to leave the place and start our adventure in New York. Before I continue to tell you more about our next stop, I need to admit something. I’m a planning person. This means that before every trip I made/organized, I was always making several preparations for it. Already end of June I picked the place in Boston and New York, agreed with Adam and Eva to join me and I also prepared a 2 days plan for New York. As I’m a bit flexible too, I decided to keep the remaining 2 days open and more flexible.
I believe to see the most of New York, you have to start in the bottom of Manhattan, in the Battery park. This park is the place where the cruises are leaving to Staten Island (those are FREE, so never believe someone who would offer you a trip there by cruise for money) and Liberty Island. Liberty island is the place where you should start your NY trip and we did as well.
After leaving the hostel we went straight to the metro station. I’m not sure if I mentioned it already, but New York is amazing from the subway perspective. It has so many routes and almost everything is accessable via the metro or train. You don’t need a car in New York. Actually having a car is more an issue due to traffic jams and missing parking place than an advantage. We took the metro and went to the Battery park.
The Battery park is the place where you can access the cruises. Before I would continue, let me give you 2 hints/tips.
First hint is, when you come to Battery park and you look like a Tourist, ticket sellers will come to you and try to sell you different types of tickets for cruises visiting some of the islands, or just doing a round trip around Liberty Island and not even going there. Those cost around $35-$50. If you want to go to Liberty Island and see the statue, don’t buy those tickets. Those are just tricks how to get more money out of your pocket. Buy official tickets online here, or you can buy them also in the Battery park. Those tickets cost around $20, therefore those are cheaper than the unofficial and show you much more. Don’t let the sellers trick you!
Second hint is about the tickets. If you want to buy online tickets to Liberty (and Ellis Island), you have to buy them in advance at least 3-4 months depending where exactly you want to go. You have more options. You can buy tickets just visiting the 2 islands and coming back, however there are some tickets, which allow you to enter the Pedestal or even the Crown of the statue. Those you need to buy even further in advance. However there is a trick how to get there. If you don’t buy tickets online, just come to Battery park really early in the morning, before the first cruise would leave the park. They always sell some tickets in the morning to the crown or pedestal, you just need to be really early there to get them. I did that 2x and in both cases I could buy tickets to the Pedestal. To the crown I did not manage as I was a bit later than the others.
We arrived to Battery park, went straight to the place selling the tickets and bought 3 of them. As it was the first cruise leaving in the morning, we could go aboard already earlier and waiting for the departure. As we did not have anything to eat and haven’t had coffee yet, we bought it on the ship and were enjoying the fantastic view. Soon they announced that we are leaving. Therefore we prepared our cameras and made some pictures.
It took only a few minutes to get to Liberty Island. Those of you who haven’t been there yet it might be a bit disappointing, but the Statue of Liberty is not as big as expected. When you see those movies showing New York and the statue, you think it’s huge and tremendous, however the opposite it’s true. It’s not small, but it’s not as big as expected. On the other hand you need to know that this statue was not created in the United States. It was built in France and was a gift to Americans for their 100th anniversary of their independence. As you know from History, United States of America declared independence from the British Empire on July 4th 1776. France was supporting their independence already in the 18th century. It was not just because they were such a big friends. It was more to the fact that France wanted to avoid that the British Empire will get even stronger than they were. Therefore they did support all British colonies, which wanted independence from the Empire. What you might not know is, that the engineering work on the statue was built by Gustave Eiffel, who also created the Eiffel Tower in Paris for the World’s Fair (Exposition Universelle) in 1889. Another interesting fact is that there is another, but definitely smaller Statue of Liberty. It’s located in the Luxemburg Garden in Paris and it’s the original. The one located in New York was prepared based on that in France. Of course the original idea was a gift to the United States, therefore first they had to prepare a small statue to see if it would look great, and when they’ve seen it, they started to build the big one for the United States. They finished it July 1884 and it arrived to New York on June 17th 1885. It was actually the birth date of my great-grandfather. However those 2 things have nothing else common. 🙂
After leaving the boat and stepping on the island finally we could see the statue. Even if it was smaller than expected, the view was magnificent. There was a big piece of history in front of us. I would even call the statue as the first step into the New World. The hope of a better life for millions of immigrants who came to United States since the 16th century. After 1885, it was the first sign of those people who came to America that they have a chance for a better life. It was like a light in the dark after weeks to traveling. Now I understood what did that mean for millions of people. Of course we took several picture, went around the island and enjoyed the place and view as much as possible. I told myself to come once back as it was a really amazing feeling to be there.
The next ship was already waiting for us. We went up and continued our trip to Ellis Island. Those of you who were not yet in New York or not familiar with the circumstances, you should know that Ellis Island is famous too. When the immigrants arrived to the New World, first they had to enter Ellis Island. It was like a border control. They checked their papers and only if everything was all right, they could continue the trip to the mainland. Of course today it’s totally different. You have the border controls on the airports and in the harbours. Ellis Island is now a museum, which includes tremendous amounts of history, pictures, recorded voice messages, passports and all types of belonging from people who came to the United States. Actually it’s a big museum full of treasures. Definitively worth to visit it. It’s a different story, but I was in New York in 2019 with my current girlfriend and 2 friends of my. I took them here and one of my friends told me, that he wants to definitively come back here and spend at least 1 full day just on Ellis island. It had such a strong impression on him, that he wants to go there again.
Actually we also spent in 2009 several hours on both islands. After visiting all rooms, we made some pictures and went back to the ship. In a few minutes we were back in Battery park. It was already around noon, time for something to eat. More to come in the next chapter. 🙂