Anyway, it was another great day, starting out at Battery Park where we catch the ferry to go to see both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We purchased our tickets at Castle Clinton, a fort built in 1811 and used from 1855 to 1890 to process immigrants before Ellis Island opened up. Prior to Ellis Island and the feds taking over, states processed their own immigrants, so 8 million passed thru this fort in that time period.
On the path to the boat is this statue...I couldn't catch it on the camera, but when the waves go down far enough there is a face of the drowning person under the water...creepy! haha
The poem that we all recognize by some of it's words, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free", was written in 1883 in support of a fundraiser to build the pedestal that the statue stands on. France shipped the statue to us in 1885 and it was dedicated in 1886, but the poem wasn't affixed to the statue till 1903.
The sculptor of the statue said: "Colossal statuary does not consist simply in making an enormous statue. It ought to produce an emotion in the breast of the spectator, not because of its volume, but because its size is in keeping with the idea that it interprets, and with the place which it ought to occupy." I think he hit the mark with this one, so touche to him!!!
We got off the ferry at Ellis Island to go inside and see what was there. Of the over 12 million people who came through here, about 30% of them stayed right here in NY. I wonder how many of our immigrants do that today? Walking the streets here and listening to the different languages and accents, I would think a sizable number continue to gravitate here.
So now for a few fun facts we read: NYC has the largest Jewish population of any city in the world outside Israel, the largest Chinese population of any city outside Asia, the largest Puerto Rican population of ANY city in the world, and how about this...about 1 in every 38 people living in America resides in NY City!!! Crazy, huh?
This Registry Room is on the 2nd floor, and what the immigrants didn't know was that their "inspection" started as they climbed the stairs to it. Doctors watched them to see if they limped, had trouble breathing, or other obvious signs of things wrong with them.
I love looking at old pictures like these. These 2 little kids crack me up. Another fun fact: I read that in the decade following the American Revolution, about 5000 people a year immigrated to this country. By the early 1900s though, that many arrived every day, with the record set in 1907 when in one day 11,747 people arrived!!!
One of the tests they had to do was this puzzle...they had to solve it in a certain amount of time. Because of all the languages spoken, this was one easy way to see if they could think straight.
And then they had the more thorough inspections. Notice the guy using the button hook to check the eyes. Yikes!!! About 20% of immigrants were set-aside for further inspection, but only 2% were ultimately not allowed in. Because some of them were sent back, immigrants called Ellis Island the "Isle of Hope, Isle of Tears".
So this Russian girl went off to North Dakota...I guess they figured she was used to the cold (haha). The Irish lady stayed in NYC. I'm thinking from the look of him the guy never got past the puzzle game before he was deported (haha), and the 2 little girls are sick and waiting to see if they recover well enough to stay.
I'm thinking 75% of NYC residents are still immigrants from what we have seen. And here are interesting breakdowns of the Irish and Italians and the work they did by occupation in 1920. I was surprised that a higher percentage of Italians were laborers than were the Irish.
Even back then, even in this country that had the Statue of Liberty, we weren't too cool with the immigrants. Amazing, huh? For those of you who don't know, we grew up hearing about Mayor Curley of Boston from our parents, so I included this posting announcing him as a congressman leading a protest in 1913 against "Literacy tests" that were passed to keep a lot of immigrants out of the country.
I never knew that the KKK played such a role in this arena also.
Looking back to Manhattan from Ellis Island and the ferry...a couple are repetitive, but I loved them so I posted them anyway. haha Cathy commented on the last one with the rising smoke..."No Pope!" haha I guess she has been paying attention after all. haha
It was a gorgeous day out so we figured we would give the "Top of the Rock" another shot, and we were not to be denied this time.
Of course it got a little cloudy by the time we got there, but it was still great. In this 1st pic the tallest building you see is the Empire State Building, and then the tallest one behind that, far in the background, is 1 World Trade Center...I mentioned in a previous post that it seems you can see it no matter where you are here.
In the 2nd and 3rd pics, I am zeroing in on the Hudson River, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island out there, and specifically where Cathy and I were staying in relationship to it all in the 3rd pic. In the far right hand corner, on the Jersey side of the river, where that tall building is standing is where our RV Park was.
That is Central Park in upper Manhattan and if you blow these up you can see the East River to the left. And then looking down into midtown Manhattan again in the last 2 pics.
At the end of the day, I was really gimpy...really hobbled by my shin splints (haha), so I iced my shin down all night and the next morning, and decided we would take a day off from pounding the NY pavement and instead drove out to Trenton, NJ...the capitol city.
In all honesty, we could just as well have stayed home...it was totally boring! haha I guess I liked the State Seal shown in the 5th pic here, but the best thing in the whole place was the "tree" they displayed with stuff on it representing things like the state flower, the state bird, etc. All I could initially see on the tree was some birds, but then our tour guide pointed out that the sculptor placed a lone "lady bug"...to represent Christie Todd Whitman, the one and only woman to serve as Governor of the state. I don't know how she feels about being represented as a bug, but I thought it was pretty funny!
So NY has been great. We have one more foray into the city planned...to go bike riding in Central Park in upper Manhattan, so stay tuned for the next blog. More to follow!!!