An immigrant’s first look

She has stood steady in the wind, she has faced wars on several continents, she has held the lamp of freedom high in sunlight and snowstorm. The light has never wavered or flickered. She’s out there today, and I’m going to see her and I’m going to walk where countless others have walked when they arrived in this country.

I take the subway from midtown down to Battery Park. During Colonial times, what is now Manhattan Island was a Dutch settlement, New Amsterdam. The southern end of the island was fortified for protection against seaborne assault. The defensive canons are long gone, but the name remains: “Battery Park.” This area has had many uses following the various wars associated with independence.

I exit the subway into brilliant sunlight; New York harbor is straight ahead. Over there, to my right is the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island; to my left is the East River and Governor’s Island. In the distance, the tall cable towers of the Verrazano Narrows bridge can be dimly seen.

I purchase my tickets at the booth and wait for the ferry with other visitors. This is a twofer day. Both the Statue and Ellis Island are together on one National Park Service tour. The ferry runs a routine schedule from here to the statue, Ellis Island, and back on about every half hour. People can spend as much time as they like at both or either parks, and catch the next ferry back to Battery Park.

It’s a bright blue, somewhat light hazy summer day; the New York skyline is prominent across our wake. I like the open top deck of this boat. There are several benches fixed to the deck and people are free to move about as they wish. The sight of the Statue of Liberty getting closer is a moving experience.

By James D. Howell for The Tidewater News
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