5. the statue of liberty and ellis island
in all the years i’ve lived here, i’ve never actually taken the boat trip to the statue of liberty and ellis island. since that was the one specific thing my mom wanted to do, we headed down to battery park bright and early at 9am on saturday morning and took a little trip through the harbor.
liberty island is actually quite lovely. there’s a path that runs around the edge that has a spectacular view of the city. being at the base of the statue was a bit surreal, actually.
i was more surprised at ellis island. when i think about ellis island, i think about this huge place where hundreds of thousands of immigrants came through to start their lives - “oh, what a brave new world, that has such people in it!” but the reality is much different.
the building itself is…much smaller than it looks in the movies. and while there is a deep sense of history there, the whole place seemed to hold an air of sadness. there are several small exhibits, including one on the port in galveston, texas, which was considered the ellis island of the west and another on the immigrant experience from journey to building a new life in america. my dad was particularly interested in coming here because his grandfather traveled from italy and came through ellis island with his oldest daughter, who was my great aunt and great grandmother who was pregnant at the time with my grandmother. she was the first on my father’s side of the family who was born in the us.