Liberty Island and Ellis Island 

After a chilled day at the Brooklyn museum we woke up earlier to make our way to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. For anyone who doesn’t know, Liberty Island is where the Statue of Liberty sits and Ellis Island is where the Museum of Immigration is which depicts the experiences of the people who would have emigrated to America to start their new lives.

So we made our way to Battery park in Lower Manhattan, this time via the Metro as we would have lost part of the morning walking the whole way, and bought our tickets for $18 for the round trip to each Island and back to Lower Manhattan.

Sadly, the weather hadn’t cheered up much since the day before so we we’re greeted with a slightly foggy view. But once through the security checks and with a bag of pretzels in hand we were on the boat. 

For anyone who isn’t fussed about going on to Liberty Island itself but still wants a decent view of the Statue of Liberty can get a free boat to Staten Island which passes Liberty Island. We were told the view could be just as good. 

But we wanted to visit the Museum of Immigration so happily paid the little extra to go. But as you can imagine, with the weather being not so great, our outfits for the day which included jumpers would not keep us warm on the boat journeys. But we still journeyed on with a smile on our faces.

As we approached Liberty Island the Statue of Liberty began to grow bigger and bigger. The boat approached the Island on an angle to fully forward face the Statue before parking up on the side of the Island. The Island isn’t very big, it took roughly 10 minutes to walk the whole way around it. 

Top tip, for anyone who is a bit of a film watcher or has seen multiple films where the Statue of Liberty is featured, I am afraid to say that you will be disappointed. It is not as big as it seems in those films. Even though she is vast in size, the stretch of our imagination gave us an unrealistic expectation of her which could not be met. So it is safe to say our conversation went a bit like this:

“I thought she would be bigger”

“Yeah, me too…”

But we still had fun viewing the Statue and wondering around the Island with the guided tour ringing through our ears. Did you know that the length of her finger nail is roughly the length of your forearm! I say roughly as this may only be true for some people depending on the length of your forearm…

With the tour over and photos taken we queued up to board the boat onwards to Ellis Island. 

America experienced a major wave of immigration during its colonial era which saw hundreds of thousands of people passing Liberty Island on their way to Ellis Island to then pass through the immigration checks. Like our modern day passport control but on a larger scale and better manned.

It is safe to say that the museum is worth a visit! Not only is the building impressive to look upon but it holds the history of so many families who decided to leave their lives behind for a promised better one. And why not? 

But sadly not everyone could pass through and become an American citizen. If you were too old, infirm, mentally or physically ill you were sent home. And sent home alone. But there were cases which had a more human ending. One was of a woman who had been brought up to take over her fathers business but because she was a woman she struggled to find any employment. So she decided to travel to America dressed as a man and identifying as a man on her immigration papers. Clearly she was found out, but the workers on Ellis Island unanimously decided to accept her application to work and live in America as a man. 

So safe to say, a day well spent. But sadly as we spent so long on each Island we missed out on visiting the museum of Jewish heritage near Battery park as it would have closed half an hour after we would have made it there. So for anyone planning on doing both Island and the museum, you will need most of the day. 

Sadly this day doesn’t feature much food as we kept snacking on our bag of pretzels and only ate once we got back to our appartement in Brooklyn. By which time we gauged ourselves on a pizza with added cheese!

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