When talking about the iconic landmarks of New York, the statue of Liberty comes to mind. You can’t not leave New York without taking a photo with the lady herself! There are 2 ways to get a closer view of the statue.
1 – Take the Staten Island Ferry, a free boat ride that gives you a decent view of statue of liberty as well as Brooklyn Bridge and Manhattan cityscape.
2 – Buy tickets to board the Statue Cruises which takes you to the island where Statue of Liberty is on followed by Ellis island where you can learn about the arrival of early immigrants to New York.
We went with option 2, for US$18/pp that got us access to two islands. There are other options as well which you pay a little bit more for to either go up onto the pedestal or the crown of the statue. These you have to book well in advance – we didn’t want to lock our selves in so far ahead as we hoped to do the cruise on good weather (but failed!)… besides wouldn’t you rather see the statue from the outside!? We bought tickets departing from Battery Park (other option is from New Jersey) which would’ve also been a good spot for skyline views if the weather wasn’t so miserable!
We booked to go on one of the earlier ferries so it wasn’t as packed. Going to New York we expected that security would be pretty strict going to some attractions but we never thought it would be airport style security checks!
Was refreshing to see New York from a different perspective… would love to see this view with sunny, blue skies another time 😉
Imagine how immigrants would have felt when they’ve been out at sea for months and they finally see Lady Liberty with her torch of freedom..
The tickets included audio walking tours on both islands. It wasn’t as entertaining as the audio tour we did at Alcatraz but we still got to learn a few interesting facts about America and how the statue came about.
Statue of Liberty is bigger than I expected! Just look at the people on the pedestal for comparison!
Never get a thought about why the statue is a aqua colour until we were there! Turns out that the statue is actually made out of copper so had a brown-bronzey finish but slowly turned green over the next few decades due to oxidation (how air + water reacts to copper). Since then… I’ve been spotting the same aqua colour on metal parts of buildings and know exactly why they are that colour! <few seconds of being a genius>
I had no idea what Ellis island was about until we were there – I remembered it was the place where immigrants would’ve set foot in America for the first time. This place could easily take 2 hours if you are interested in the history of it all as it houses a lot of artefacts from back in the days. I’ll be honest, the audio tour bored us here and we just couldn’t keep up with it. It was interesting at first but after about 30mins we got bored and tired but still managed to walk through most of the exhibits. Clearly we had a case of “museum feet” at this point.
This is the space where thousands of immigrants waited to be inspected and find out whether they get to start a new life in America or not.
Squirrels aren’t a rare sight at Battery Park for sure!
We spent the majority of our morning on both islands, it could have been more if we were more interested in the history behind Ellis island. I would allocate at least 3 hours any how if you plan to make the most of your ticket and visit both islands. Otherwise Staten island would only take about 1-1.5hr.