Up and out early at 8.30 am to see the Statue of Liberty since we had pre-bought tickets a few weeks before. Caught the Metro to South Ferry station which was the nicest metro station I saw in New York – probably because lots of tourists use it. Walked to the ferry terminal through Battery Park where Mum bought an aerial shot of New York for Dad. Not sure it was the best idea buying a framed photo first thing in the day but she negotiated hard for it and since the guy had the “have to sell to the first person of the day” superstition she got a good price for it.
An eagle statue in Battery Park:
The line was pretty short to go through security so we actually ended up on an earlier ferry than the one we had booked. No one cared though as there wasn’t that many people on the boat and in the end it turned out to be good timing. Just as we were nearing the Statue a huge plane accompanied by a fighter jet came low down near the statue and started circling us a few times. The sound was loud and it was rather confusing for a short time until we actually started to comprehend that this was not normal and actually quite scary. All of us are going great guns with our cameras trying to get a good photo and then telling each other we were scared. I suddenly understood in a small way how the people of New York felt about 9/11 and the more recent Hudson River plane landing. The plane was blue and white and we wondered at varying points whether it was an American Airlines plane or even Air Force One! After a few rounds of the statue it disappeared and we were left to wonder what exactly the hell happened.
I was tweeting the whole thing and thanks to djackmanson we discovered that it wasn’t a scary thing and was just some sort of training exercise. Of course, now we know it was an official photo session of the backup Air Force One over the Statue of Liberty. New Yorkers got angry for not being notified, people evacuated their buildings and the Washington staff member who organised it was fired because of it. Is it Libertygate, AF1gate, or scare the fuck out of New York gate? Either way, I still got a little thrill out of knowing that it is our ferry in the official photograph and a little piece of American History we experienced at the Statue of Liberty. At first I didn’t believe it was our ferry in the picture, but subsequent viewings of my photos leads me to believe it was ours since it was the only one in the vicinity. You decide:
The official photograph:
My photograph (reckon it’s my ferry?):
As it went past the ferry:
The poor Statue of Liberty was mostly ignored by us as we rounded the island to dock, but once the plane had gone we were able to notice her majesty. The aged copper gives her the greenish tint which I think is much nicer than if she was the copper colour. Off the ferry we picked up our audio tour that was included in the ticket and lined up to go in to Statue. By lining up, I mean we waited two fucking hours and were bored shitless. First you line up for ages outside, then they play the Empire State building line up game. You think you are in once inside the tent, but no the line up is even bigger inside. All this so they make sure you aren’t bringing food or bombs in to the statue. I agree with Auntie Sue and think that Bin Laden won the war on terror since the impact on american liberties is huge. Every museum, monument, airport and tourist site involves long queues just so you can walk through a machine that blows air on you to ensure you aren’t carrying a gun or something under you clothes. I was lucky enough to even have it blow my shirt up so my belly showed. Nice.
The only thing to do while waiting was take more pictures:
Enough venting about security and long lines. Inside the base of Statue is the original torch that has been replaced by a more modern version. The original hadn’t been designed to have windows but they had cut some there to allow light through, but of course water got in as well and corroded it. It’s great to be so close to it as it was the nearest we were going to get to the torch since the real one is closed. I believe now they are opening it again for the first time since 9/11, shame we arrived a little too early.
There is a museum inside also that explains how the Statue was made, since it really is just a shell to the copper. Eiffel (the guy who designed the Eiffel tower) designed the skeleton of the statue and if you compare it to the Eiffel tower you can see the similarities. We went up a few floors to the top of the base – Fiona and I decided to walk while the others caught the slow elevator. Stupidly I didn’t think about the amount of steps and almost died by the time I got to the top. My heart was pumping right out of my chest and I needed a few moments to collect myself at the top just so I could take some pictures. We lost Fiona somehow at the top so headed back downstairs and found her at the bottom. We were grumpy and tired from lining up for so long so we didn’t bother walking around the statue. Bought some expensive shitty food from an outdoor cafe near the Statue of Liberty store which made us even more unhappy. Then on the walk back to the ferry we noticed a different indoor cafe that we probably should have gone to instead. Damn it.
A model of the skeleton inside the grand lady:
The real skeleton of the statue of liberty:
Fiona gives her a kiss:
Handed back our audio tour and took the next ferry over to Ellis Island with the thousands of other people that were waiting. Ellis Island is the place where all immigrants to New York were processed off the boats from Europe and elsewhere. At this point we weren’t really in the mindset to do yet another audio tour but eventually the history won me over and I got in to it. The huge hall and rooms for health checks were interesting considering all that was going on with the Swine Flu. We lost Auntie Sue and Fiona at this point but decided to line up in the extremely long queue to catch the ferry back to Battery Park. Mum went looking for them, then eventually I went looking for mum as the two ferries came by to make the line smaller. At this point we were on the next boat and still hadn’t found them, but luckily they all eventually found us. Only time on maybe the whole trip where I thought we had well and truly lost each other – mainly cause I was getting on that ferry no matter what. 🙂 Onboard the ferry we were just so buggered we sat on the upper deck floor not caring what anyone else thought. Lots of people ended up joining us anyway.
The Grand Hall at Ellis Island:
The irony of thinking everyone was lost was that once we arrived at Battery Park we split up anyway. Fiona, Sue and Pauline had had enough and went back to the hotel. Mum was tired too but wanted to visit Century 21 one more time. I had to go to the Flight Club sneaker store as I had listed it as the one sneaker store I could not miss. The store is locked and you have to be buzzed in to get inside. Once you have entered you are privvy to a bunch of dead stock all wrapped in plastic Hong Kong style. Saw my chinese “back off evil” nikes for $250 bucks (I got them for $70 AUD). Mine are used now so wouldn’t be worth anything like that. Had a good chat with the guys there about the shops that have closed down nearby and discussed the local scene in Brisbane where I gave a shout out to Laced and Apartment.
Back to the hotel for some R and R, after I bought a Nathans famous hot dog with cheese. I will never order with cheese again as it was just so greasy and gross. The actual sausage was nice though. I actually ended up beating Pauline back to the room somehow – she claims she had fun in a Chemist. I rested for an hour and a bit then headed off to meet Matthew Hall in SOHO.
I had first met Matthew on twitter after a soccer discussion and I realised he had written one of the soccer books I own “The Away Game“. I follow him on twitter and when he discovered we were coming to the US we agreed to meet up for cocktails. The apple store in SOHO was the place we decided to catch up – we were meant to maybe meet earlier in the day but the damn lineups at the Statue took way longer than I expected. I arrived a little early at the store and noticed a bunch of people hanging around the side of the Apple store and a black Escalade SUV and it was pretty obvious that there was some celebrity stalking going on. I waited across the road trying to figure out who it was and a quick search on twitter for SOHO apple store alerted me to the fact that it was Gael García Bernal whom I had loved in the motorcyle diaries. I didn’t want to join the fray outside the door so I just hung out across the road and took really bad photos when he came out – so bad you can’t even tell it was him. I did see him though and he was as pretty as in the movies and was wearing something like a green chinese army hat. Matthew rang me while that was all going on and somehow managed to find me in the fray. He’d actually been in the apple store working covering Bernal’s movie launch!
Matthew took me to a nearby bar and bought me a beer (I haven’t forgotten that I owe you one when you come over here Matthew!) and we had a great chat. Matthew is a good listener (I guess being an interviewer an all) and it was good to talk to someone about our experiences who I wasn’t travelling with. I enjoyed listening to Matthew’s thoughts on the socceroos and football in Australia and will happily have another conversation with him anytime again. 🙂 We both had appointments and had to leave about an hour or so later – me heading for Broadway and the Rock of Ages Musical.
I had never heard of Rock of Ages before until I went looking for Broadway shows on the internet before I left. I was still undecided about going but after getting told by Danielle that I can’t leave NY without seeing a Broadway show and then to see them flog it on the Today show that morning I took it as a sign and ordered my ticket. I paid full price and everything. Inside the theatre I was given a torch shaped like a lighter and got a relatively close seat on the side. I was a little disappointed to discover that the main performer Constantine Maroulis wasn’t performing but it turned out that Jeremy Jordan wasn’t too bad a replacement – he is a kick ass singer. But it isn’t the “right kind of love” Jeremy Jordan, it’s the buffer less gay but more gay broadway Jeremy Jordan. He probably needed to be a little bit more sexier than he was, but I guess his character is meant to be a bit clean. I adored the Stacee Jaxx and Lonny characters and the music was just brilliant – 80s hair metal and soft rock – Poison, Journey, Jefferson Starship, Bon Jovi. I never thought I enjoyed that style of music, but turns out I’m a huge fan. Damn Rage in the late 80s and early 90s sneaking it up on me. The story of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl won’t break any new genres but they poke fun at themselves about it and the songs totally map to the story without stretching it too much. A great fun show and I’d see it again if it came to Brisbane. As a special bonus a guy from REO Speedwagon and a guy from Styx played an encore which was unexpected but really cool!
Since it was our last night I couldn’t leave without visiting the 5th Avenue Apple Store (the glass cube one). I caught the metro over to central park and after a few minutes of looking like I didn’t know where I was going (I didn’t) and being watched by some cabbies I found the magical store. It’s open 24 hours and even at that time of the night there were people looking at the macs, surfing the net, shopping and getting helped by the apple genius’. I took the opportunity to use the free wifi for a little while then took the see-through elevator back upstairs. I stood in front of FAO Schwarz for a while, knowing there was a huge keyboard that Tom Hanks jumped on in the movie Big and desperately wishing I could do it myself. Alas it was closed so I took a downtown midnight train back to the hotel where I was groggily greeted by both Pauline and Mum who had stayed up to kindly worry about me. New York is mostly a big safe city these days and even a girl can get about town unhassled at midnight. 🙂
This was my last night in New York and I really feel it was the day where it turned on all it’s charm and acted like an exciting big city with lots to offer. A political scandal, a celebrity, a beer in soho, a Broadway show and a downtown train at midnight. Truly the highs and lows of New York.
For more photos check out the Flickr Set.
Tweets of the day:
@j3thr0 does this mean the trip is nearly over?
Guess where I am going from the picture. http://twitpic.com/43m3r
Looking out for the pirates that @matthew_hall warned about.
No pirates but did see a passenger plane escorted by a fighter jet do a loop around the statue. Scary but cool.
@djackmanson eventually but not today.
@djackmanson thanks for that. Knowing it was a drill makes it more palatable.
Another hint as to where I am. http://twitpic.com/43nqb
Turns out it was obamas backup plane scaring the shit out of us while we were on the ferry to the statue. Have some photos of it.
Waiting in line to get in to the monument. Every time we think we’ve reached the entry door we go through and find another huge line.
Finally got to the top. Those steps were a killer. http://twitpic.com/43v4d
Totally think @Kelsbells would love these. http://twitpic.com/441ry
Waiting at ellis island ferry terminal to catch the ferry back. Didn’t expect this to take all day!
My first brush with celebrity in NY and it’s supposedly going to be a Mexican actor I’ve never heard of. http://twitpic.com/44h88
@j3thr0 last day today cape cod tomorrow.
Actually I do know him. Sexy Gael from motorcycle diaries.
I saw Gael but all my photos were shit. Had a great beer with@matthew_hall though. Cheers!
Off to see broadway show rock of ages. I couldn’t leave NY without doing it.
For @Kelsbells from times square. http://twitpic.com/44ny2
Lining up to go in to rock of ages. Not wearing leather pants. http://twitpic.com/44o12
I know this is going to be good. They give away rock of ages lighters when u walk in. I know what that will be for. 🙂
Intermission. Was 99% sure Robert Downey junior was making a guest appearance as hertz till I read the playbill. Ah well.
The show is bloody brilliant. Absolutely enjoying the rocking 80s tunes.
Rock of ages was fucking fantastic. And as an encore.. Guys from Reo speedwagon and Styx played! http://twitpic.com/4500h
I would not be a good fangirl if I left without going here. http://twitpic.com/451ah
@j3thr0 absolutely. Me included
Enough wandering NY at midnight. I must get back to the hotel where the tired feet people are.