Thursday, November 4, 2010

Statue Of Liberty And Ellis Island.

I had not expected such a big crowd waiting to board the ferry and was surprised to see long lines in front of all the ticket counters. Somehow I had felt that you just bought a ticket, walked into a waiting ferry and went to the statue of liberty. While Vishwa stood in the queue and others rested on the bench, I just moved around taking in all the activity.

The bulk, some of the US citizens acquire, intrigue me a lot and I find that my eyes keep wandering in their direction again and again. Not that we do not have praiseworthy sizes back home. But they cannot match the size and numbers. And I really stare at them with awe when I find them in front of a huge tub of ice cream or a large pizza. Here was a good one. It was not decent to focus on this gentleman (and definitely not safe if he did not like it) and hence, I focused on our group, sitting on the bench and waited for him to walk into the frame.

We joined the end of the queue to board the ferry and I felt that we will be there for at least two hours. I don’t like long queues and personally feel that it is not worth standing in a line for hours for anything, unless it is something that you can’t do without. But the tickets had been bought and there was no choice. Fortunately the ferry was a large one and accommodated a lot of people and so we did not have to wait in the queue for long.

We boarded the ferry and just as it left the jetty, it provided a panoramic view of the southern tip of Manhattan.

In about ten minutes, we were near the statue of liberty.

We were satisfied with whatever we saw from the ferry and decided not to disembark for a closer look but to proceed to the next stop, the Ellis Island. Ellis Island on New York harbour was where millions of immigrants stepped out of their ships and sought entry into the US and a better future.

The immigration center on the island was in operation from 1892 to 1954. The buildings were abandoned after that and were restored and converted into a museum in 1990.

The immigration museum has various sections which house historic records, photographs and artifacts related to the immigrants as well as statistics and other information about them like their geographical distribution, ethnic distribution, present situation etc etc.

It takes a full day or two to see all the sections in detail and they are really interesting and worth spending the time there. But we had just an hour or two and we rushed through the exhibition and were out before five in the evening. We caught a ferry back and walked to the world trade center station licking the ice cream cones that we bought from the ice cream van,

pausing now and then to look at the evening life around broad way

We reached Plainsboro by half past six, had an early dinner, and were ready to leave. It took some time for Vishwa to coax his camera to auto click and take a picture of the full group but he managed it after a few unsuccessful attempts.

We were on the freeway by seven in the evening and after passing through Philadelphia and Baltimore, were in front of Hotel Capitol Hill Suites, Washington DC by midnight of 25th June 2010.

We checked into the room and I could keep my eyes open just long enough to see the makeshift arrangements being made for Bhanu’s birthday celebrations and witness her cutting a pear placed in front of a bowl of chocolates, instead of a cake.

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