This morning our tour bus picked us up from the KOA campground at 7:30 for a trip into the Big Apple. We had a wonderful tour guide. She was very personable and knowledgeable. Early in the tour we had sunny skies but it wasn't long before heavy clouds moved in -- not the best conditions for photography!
On our way through the city, we passed by Ground Zero but did not stop. I took several photos from inside the bus. None of them are good, of course, but I decided to include some of them anyway. Later in the day we saw the sculpture from the plaza of the World Trade Center, which was recovered from the rubble. It is entitled "The Sphere" and was done by Fritz Koenig, who conceived it as a symbol of world peace. It was damaged on September 11, 2001 and was placed in its current location on March 11, 2002 as a temporary memorial to all who died in the terrorist attacks. The eternal flame was ignited on September 11, 2002 in honor of all those who were lost.
First on our itinerary was a ferry ride to Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty up close. We didn't have time for a tour inside the statue but we could walk around the park to get a good look. Statue of Liberty Symbols: The broken shackles at her feet signify escape from tyranny. The tablet of law in her left hand is inscribed with the date of the Declaration of Independence in Roman numerals. Her crown's seven rays suggest the seven seas and seven continents. Her torch and flame symbolize truth and justice enlightening the world. The statue was built entirely of copper by Frederic August Bartholdi in 1886. At a height of 150.9 feet, she was taller than any other building in New York and she weighs over 265 tons.
From Liberty Island, the ferry took us to Ellis Island but we did not get off. Our guide told us some of the history. It opened in 1892 as the first site strictly for immigration. Between then and 1954, twelve million immigrants passed through here. Forty percent of Americans can trace their ancestry to here. The year 1907 saw the greatest number of immigrants.
Back in Manhattan, we continued to South Street Seaport where we had lunch. Barb, Linda and I had deep-dish pizza, which was good. Due to time constraints, we had to hurry.
Our next stop was at the Empire State Building where we went to the observation deck on the 86th floor. It was built on the original site of the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel and was completed in 1931. At 102 stories, it was the tallest building in the world for 42 years. I was pleased to discover that it was more pleasant out on the observation deck than it was the first time I had visited it. The wind wasn't so strong today.
After this we had a quick visit at Rockefeller Center. We had just a few minutes to walk through. St. Patrick's Cathedral is across the street.
Our last stop was at Times Square where we visited a cheesecake bakery. I don't often eat cheesecake because it's just too rich for my taste buds, so I bought a pastry and coffee instead. That was my "dinner" on the way back to the campground. We arrived about 6:15.
This was a very good day. Barb and I got the train schedules for our return trip on our own tomorrow. Then I called my friend, Binky, to make arrangements for a visit with her on Wednesday. I'm looking forward to seeing her again.