Got in to LaGuardia at 8 a.m. and quickly made arrangements for my day. New York is one of those places where you can always find something to do. My main concern was my suitcase which was light, however, I had forgotten LaGuardia Airport has no luggage storage, however JFK does and here is the JFK info:
API Terminal 1 & 4 JFK International Airport 718-751-4001. Call for rates and I get no kick-backs.
Let’s get movin’ as the City awaits. Started with a cruise on the Hudson River at the World Financial Terminal, Battery Park City, Vessey Street.
This was pricey and if you are short on cash and only want to see the Statute of Liberty, take the Staten Island Ferry. The Ferry is free, (yes, there are free things to do in New York City, google it), and this offers great views.
However, since I wanted to see more and thought I could get to Ellis Island,
I took this venue. The guide was amazing but didn’t make it to Ellis Island. However, here are some interesting tidbits from the guide:
- More than 100 million people came through Ellis Island
- 40% of all Americans can trace immigration from Ellis Island
- 10,000 people came through Ellis Island per day
- Ellis Island was built on landfill from digging out the subway system.
- Only 1% of the people were sent back and this was for criminal records, health, or psych problems
- Ellis Island had the most advanced hospital of its day
On to the Statute of Liberty
- French sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi created this lady from 1875-1885
- While she was a gift from France she came over in pieces
- There was no pedestal and the U.S. had to pay for her assembly
- It took 6 years to raise funds to pay for these items
- The idea for fundraising to pay for assembly and pedestal came from Joseph Pulitzer. He accepted any donation and gave advertising in his newspaper in return
- 80% of the donations were less than $1 and from immigrants.
One final fun fact: In NYC over 800 languages are spoken…
Next the Smithsonian Indian Museum
This is another of New York City’s best kept secrets. It is free and an enriching experience for all ages. I even saw Governor Cuomo and his 3 lovely daughters here as well as sailors from France, and all nationalities speaking one of those 800 foreign languages.
The beauty of the building continues to the gift shop where the restoration gleems with brass gates, intricate flooring and ceilings. They also have reasonable prices on gifts, turquoise jewelry, and no sales tax as it is a federal operation.
The official name of the building is the Alexander Hamilton U.S. Customs House and rightfully named as Hamilton did much to establish the U.S. financially. It was built to be the residence of the President but never occupied. New York City was the first U.S. capitol and Washington took his oath of office on the balcony of the old New York City Hall.
A special exhibit in the Rotunda describes the American Indian role as servicemen and women. The Indian language was used in code transmission during World War I and II and never broken by the enemy.
Past this exhibit are galleries of paintings done by Indians of varied tribes.
There are also traditional Indian exhibits at the Museum. Take in those as well.
Make sure to stop on the first and third floor to enjoy more of the buildings architecture as well as exhibits described earlier. Volunteer staffers are eager to help all explore and discover their genealogy. They offer workshops and free access to web sites.
Their web site: http://www.archives.gov/nyc
And The Imagination Center is not just for kids. Information on Inca bridge building, herbal remedies, musical instruments, and a myriad of other topics are available to explore.
One last lap around the financial district…
Locating the subway I began the journey to JFK. On route an email relayed a delayed plane so I stopped at the Resorts World Casino, (which is on the subway line on the way to Howard Beach). Spent an hour, enjoyed the Christmas decorations, got some grub, won $2., and continued on to JFK.
Whew! Ready to sleep for the overnight flight to Lisbon…