north america · travel

Thoughts on Liberty

This is one lady that does not need an introduction. Imposing, alluring, heart-stirring, the Statue of Liberty is one of those landmarks that make you say, ‘Yes, Dorothy, you’ve arrived.’

Manhattan getting smaller and smaller while onboard the ferry.

It was a sunny day when we trooped off to Battery Island to queue for Ellis & Liberty island tickets. For an attraction that draws in hordes, we were fortunate to bear a relatively short wait since it was the off-peak season. Less than an hour later, we were on the ferry to Liberty Island, trying to raise our cameras as high as we can, as to not get any of the other tourists’ heads in the shot (it was a hard feat, I tell you).

This one managed to be unscathed by photobombers.

Access to climb up the crown was closed off for renovations, so we just lingered enough to take photos and momentos of the visit. Fun fact: the Statue of Liberty was originally copper-colored, and that its famous green shade now was a result of the copper’s weathering (yes New Yorkers, don’t be smug, it was my first time to hear of this. =P). Visions of today’s iconic pictures and commercials featuring a tanned, ochre lady instead of the pale green one we know flashed before my eyes.

Yes, we're determined to get it from every angle.
It was after the trip that I noticed Lady Liberty's emblem on the Coke bottles, to mark her 125th birhday this 2011. It would have made for a nice souvenir!

We then hopped to the ferry off to Ellis Island. In the Main Building, we took around an hour exploring the 3 floors of tributes to the island’s rich history as New York’s main immigration station, which very much laid the ground for the state’s multi-cultural identity. It was a bit weird, getting to relive someone else’s intimate stories and keepsakes. In their recollections, you sense passion and perseverance, sacrifice and relentless faith in getting to start over. I think, more than for the tourists, the Immigration Building is a site for the locals, a place for them to reminisce and ponder on the long, hard journey their forefathers took for the lives they lead now.

Spot the random guy eager to be in my picture.

The staggering monument can stand for different things for different people. For some, it might say, ‘Hey, it’s New York, we like big stuff and we’re great!’. For others, it may mean a life-changing journey, a history filled with tears both of grief and joy. For me, at this point in my life, it’s a wake-up call saying, ‘You’re not the first to have big dreams. You may have the artillery to make your dreams come true, but it’s up to you if you want to take up arms. The road does not promise to be easy, but the good news is that some managed to make it.’

My sister pointed out this neat old German passport with my name on it. It's a sign -- travel is my destiny!

And with that, I leave you with a quote from Mark Twain:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

A day well spent with my sisters.

More photos: 2011-11 Statue of Liberty Picasa Album

One thought on “Thoughts on Liberty

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