Day 34th‘s Awesome took months of careful planning and serious persuasion (manipulation?). Finally, my brother and I convinced my dad to put our (12-year-old) sister on a plane headed to NYC by herself.
Before any Awesome could begin, we had to deliver her to the airport and collect her at the other end. All sounds easy – but in today’s world, picking up a minor at the airport is akin to picking up the Spice Girls for a reunion tour.
Once the maze of security badges, screening, hours of waiting and celebrity-style escort services (yes, obviously it takes 4 people to escort a child off a plane) were complete and we were safely in NYC, we marveled at the city (buildings! Telephone booth!! Tall ladders!! Taxi cabs!!) and proceeded to map out the conquest of the next few days.
First major stop: Lady Liberty and Ellis Island
The excitement I feel regarding the statue never waivers. I was about 11 when I first saw the sheer magnitude of her size and was struck with awe from the water. Now it was sissy’s turn to experience it for herself.
Despite trying to convince me that the Statue of Liberty looked like a man, I think sis loved it and the trip was a success: we partook in the audio tour; we ate turkey sandwiches by the water; we had a photo-shoot; we bought souvenir bracelets.
After spending a couple hours with the Statue, we embarked on a short ferry ride to Ellis Island.
For those who have passed on the opportunity to see this iconic island, I would get back aboard ship. This historical site is mesmerizing.
Our favorite part:
The photo exhibit depicting the deterioration of the immigration center before its restoration.
The photographer was the great grandson of a woman who came from Russia and told a tale of bringing empty suitcases on the voyage so Ellis Island security wouldn’t know her family had no possessions to speak of. He became immersed in the decrepit buildings and spent a month on the small island photographing the site.
His passion seeped through and we became equally immersed in dusty medical equipment, over-grown courtyards and fading plaster on walls that told the story of 12 million immigrants who sailed past Lady Liberty for a chance at freedom.