Riding the Staten Island Ferry was added to our potential itinerary early on, but the brainwave, as our hotel was in Linden NJ, was to drive to the Staten Island terminal and use the ferry to get to and from New York rather than just get on board and use it as a joy ride. Whilst the ferry is free, the car park isn’t, but it was still cheaper overall than the train and a very enjoyable way to get to the city. As there are no tickets to buy nor any security checkpoints to get through (kind of surprised me that) you just wait in the modern, clean, departure lounge until the doors open and people flood down the walkway onto the ferry. We chose a position on the port side of the ferry as we knew that was the side you could see the Statue of Liberty from and waited for the ferry to depart.
If you are just jumping in to our Weekend Getaway to New York City you can pop back here to start at the beginning.
After a short safety announcement, the ferry slipped its moorings and smoothly set off for the 25 minute ride to New York City. We enjoyed the sailing and watched as the Statue of Liberty got closer and closer, in fact we sailed much closer to it than we expected. We didn’t have this on the itinerary for this trip because it was booked at short notice and the tickets to go to the crown were sold out. We’ll do that when we come back instead and get our tickets booked well in advance!
As the ship approached nearer to New York, the famous skyline came into view and it was soon after that we were docking ready to start our day’s sightseeing.
If you are coming from anywhere near Staten Island we would recommend this as a great way to get to New York, especially on a beautiful sunny day. Beats arriving in Penn Station for sure!
Leaving the ferry we headed to Battery Park for a quick stroll through. I’d “been” here in the game Deus Ex, but I guess the game wasn’t a realistic representation, unlike me knowing my way around the mall in Washington DC because I’d played Fallout 3! We walked past the Clipper City Tall Ship, a replica of the original 1854 schooner, the East Coast Memorial which commemorates the 4,601 US servicemen who lost their lives in the Atlantic Ocean during WWII, and Castle Clinton National Monument, a circular fort from the early 19th century which became an immigration centre and is now a museum.
Continuing through the park, that we clearly hadn’t allocated enough time to explore properly (oh well, there is always next time), we saw the Immigrants Statue, dedicated to all the people that entered America through Castle Garden. Also in the park is the Sphere, which originally stood in Austin J. Tobin Plaza between the two World Trade Centre towers and remarkably survived the events of 9/11 with relatively minor damage. It was relocated to Battery Park in the condition it survived to stand as memorial but is proposed to be moved to Liberty Park, much nearer its original location. Also in the park is the Korean War Memorial, an obelisk with the shape of a soldier cut out of it and a list of the countries that fought in the war with the number of dead and wounded listed around the base.
Battery Park definitely warrants another visit and is on our list to go back during a future trip to New York City.
Canyon of Heroes
Leaving the park, we headed towards the Canyon of Heroes where ticker tape parades are held and also saw the famous Wall Street Bull. As is so often the case, the bull was surrounded by people having their picture taken with it, so it was hard to get a good picture. We then walked down the Canyon, which is also Broadway, checking each of the events that had been honoured with a ticker tape parade which are inscribed on the pavement such as Douglas “Wrong Way” Corrigan who “accidentally” flew from the New York to Ireland instead of Long Beach, California, claiming a navigational error!
Our next destination on Broadway was Trinity Church, The current building was consecrated in 1846 and is the third church to stand on this site which was granted a charter by King William III of England in 1697 when New York was still known as New Amsterdam, having been settled originally by the Dutch. The church is quite small but is an oasis of calm from the bustle of the city. Even the small courtyard to the side seemed to push the city noise away further than the distance from the road would suggest.
From Trinity Church we then headed to the 9/11 Memorial. That the entire block where the twin towers stood has been kept as a memorial was surprising, nearly as surprising as the size of the holocaust memorial in Berlin. The footprints of the two towers have become huge water features, which cascade in spouts down tens of feet into the base and from there empty into a smaller square at the centre; you can’t see the bottom of those centre squares from the edge. The “guard rail” around each of the two sites bears the names of all those who died cut into the metal and approaching from the south, the two memorials sit in the shadow of the new One World Trade Center towering 1776 feet above.
To read more about our New York City Weekend Getaway, please feel free to check out these posts: