Sunday, June 19, 2011
Our last day in New York City did not disappoint! We checked out of our hotel and headed straight over to board the ferry for Ellis Island. We boarded from the New Jersey side, so the lines were pretty minimal. In fact, one of the more challenging things with a group this size (44) and a trip that is less than a week in duration - which means it is packed full of adventure - is trying to keep everyone moving at a pace that is - let's say - intentional. Sometimes, if you can't all get in line at the same time, you can end up easily adding 40 min. on to a trip if you miss a boat.
When we arrived at the ferry terminal we went through security and then realized the next boat was leaving in 4 minutes. We raced through the terminal, including one very put together lady in our group running barefoot down the pier with her shoes in her hands so she wouldn't miss the boat. We were quite a sight. I'm still laughing about that.
Here I will depart momentarily from today's trip to tell a funny story involving my friend, Tonya.I was in the ladies restroom when all of a sudden I heard Tonya yelling at some jr. high girls, who were not part of our group. She was accusing them of stealing stuff because she saw them rifling through a backpack. She came barging out of a stall, her pants mostly up, yelling at some very frightened girls to step away from the ipod they retrieved from one of those blue and yellow backpacks the company we were traveling with sends to everyone who enrolls.
I was listening to the events unfold from my stall and realized immediately what had happened. Now, I know some people might think the thing that happened next would be a bad friend thing, but I've been friends with Tonya for the past seven years. I weighed my friendship responsibilities and then decided the best thing to do would be to remain silent - it seemed the right thing to do at the time. Intervening would be too much like ruining the punchline to a great joke. A joke that God himself arranged. That would have been rude, maybe even irreverent.
I couldn't take the chance of that.
I would like to state for the record, that if Tonya began breaking out some sort of Kung-fu moves on the unsuspecting 12 year olds, I would have jumped in.
It took a little while but eventually Tonya realized those girls were with the same travel company as our group and they have identical backpacks - their own backpacks.
I was glad I was already in a stall because I was laughing so hard I would have wet my pants.
She apologetically pulled her pants up and quit yelling.
Traveling with people can be so entertaining.
(This is Tonya - she can totally take it)
We made the ferry!
Ellis Island was the primary entry point for immigrants to the United States between the years 1892-1924. Over 12 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island, or roughly 3/4 of those seeking to make America their new home.
The photographs in Ellis Island terminal are not to be missed. The huge black and white photos combined with quotes of those passing through offer a moving perspective from so many of our own ancestors. We owe them much for their sacrifice and hope that things could be better.
That is what I saw on the faces in the photos - hope.
After our time on Ellis Island, we caught the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. We snapped pictures from the boat - those are the best photos - and then quickly jumped in line to catch the next ferry to Battery Park.
The Statue of Liberty was striking! We had perfect weather and enjoyed our boat ride through the harbor so much.
When we disembarked at Battery Park, we noticed some movie filming. We were able to see Will Smith filming Men In Black 3. Yep - the tour is complete for the kids now!
Our last few hours were spent over a delicious lunch in Little Italy and walking around shops and of course, eating a little gelatto.
Jim fit right in.
New York's highline.
We said "good-bye" to New York City, our fabulous tour guide, George, and our amazing adventure! I am so glad we took this trip - it was such an unforgettable experience.