We got up at a decent time this morning and headed out on the subway to lower Manhatten where we bought ferry tickets to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Fortunately the weather probably couldn't have been nicer. Once on Liberty Island we didn't do the inside tour of the Statue but instead enjoyed finishing our breakfast and taking in the on- and off-island scenery. We event saw a floating island art project I'd heard about by Robert Smithson where a barge is stuffed with trees and bushes and putted around the waters for all in the city to see. It was a beautiful sight and one I'll never forget. After Gavin, Holly the other tourists and I photographed Lady Liberty from every possible angle we took a ferry over to Ellis Island. There we saw a short play about the immigrant experience at the island and again took in the scenery of the inside exhibits and outside on the grounds. We even looked for any relatives that may have passed through Ellis on the wall of honor that made a large arc outside with small names engraved on either side. I found some Freitas' but don't know if any of them were my dad's parents. I think I asked him once and was told they didn't pass through there. It was worth a look anyway.
After Ellis Island we ferried back to lower Manhatten and headed straight for the subway and back to the hotel for a quick pit stop to unload our photos before we walked to the Empire State. The line was somewhat grueling to wait to head to the 86th floor but didn't take all that long. Once we took the first elevator up to the 80th floor we were bombarded by sales of Empire-related items, audio tours, and photos. I was pretty annoyed that the line actually had to go through where a photographer took your group picture in front of a Empire State Building backdrop in the hopes that you'd buy it later. I definitely didn't like being herded through this so I made a funny face and didn't take the receipt they gave for later purchase. I was there for the view. Today it was a stunning one. Barely any smog in the sky we could see well outside the city on to the rolling green hills surrounding it. The early evening sunlight cast an orange light on everything and just made for a spectacular time.
After the Empire State we all got gussied up and headed into the West Village to have a romantic dinner at One if by Land, Two if by Sea. We arrived a bit late for our reservation but it didn't matter because the place was running plenty late itself. After a half hour or so we were seated and had a three course meal that was spectacular. When I travel I'll pretty much try any kind of food and tonight was no exception. My entree tonight? Roasted Monkfish. Everything was wonderful but the night had to eventually end and we headed for sleep back at the hotel around midnight. So much for getting more sleep tonight. The amazing thing about New York is that even though you have a dinner that ends at 11:30pm the city is still wide awake and the night is considered young. Incredible.
Robert Smithson's floating island in front of the Statue of Liberty
Robert Smithson's floating island in front of the Lower Manhatten and the spire of the Empire State Building
Gavin photos some names on the Ellis Island Wall of Honor
Sarah and Kevin before dining at One if by Land, Two if by Sea