After a rather uneventful trip from France to Manhattan and a rather short night (earplugs ‘ are great in NYC), we were up before dawn and ready to tackle our visits for the day: the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island!
Let’s start our day with the buying of our Metrocards.
Using the Subway
I mostly used the free Citymapper app while in NYC instead of the official MTA app. As a matter of fact, Citymapper tells you which car you should go to to be the closest to your exit, which is also stated by the app.
We had quite an experience trying to buy our 7-Day Unlimited MetroCard since we had to use one Revolut card for 2 MetroCards then another Revolut card for 1 MetroCard and my own Visa for the last MetroCard! We don’t know what happened with the machines, but, at last, we got our MetroCards.
We took an ‘Express’ train instead of a ‘Local’ so we ended up running through the Financial District since we missed our stop!!!
I’ve prepared an intermediary article with a little How-To…use NYC Subway!
The Statue of Liberty
You should head to Castle Clinton while in Battery Park. Do not head to the ferry.
Castle Clinton is a rather nice old stone fort where you will get your tickets for both the Statue and Ellis ISland.
If your plan is to visit the pedestal and/or the crown, you MUST have purchased special tickets on statuecruises.com. I bought mine 5 months before our visit. Tickets you’ll get with Explorer passes or City passes do not allow you to go up the pedestal/crown. You will just have the right to land on the statue of liberty island and Ellis Island..
Before boarding the Miss Ellis Island, we got through some airport-style security.
I strongly suggest you take the first boat in the morning, around 8.30AM. The trip is rather short and the lovely lady is rapidly in sight, shining in all her beauty.
Audio-guides are available free of charge at a booth outside the Statue, but we were advised to go up to the crown first, to beat the crowd.
Before getting into the pedestal, we had to let our belongings into teeny-tiny lockers ($2 for 2 hours). Another security check and up to the crown!!!
2 staircases totalling 362 stairs. The first part leads to the pedestal (an elevator is available there) and the second part, with no elevator, leads to the crown.
What a nice staircase 😯 ! Not very wide and with a low clearance…Joshua, who’s 6″, climbed doubled in half for fear of hitting the stairs above him and Gabrielle was afraid of falling and climbed on all fours!!! I found it to be a rather fun experience and a really good cardio exercise.
The crown area is rather narrow, you don’t really see a thing, but we knew that beforehands and were not disappointed. We just wanted to say “We’ve been up to the crown!!!”
Hi folks below! There is one staircase for going up and another one for going down.
We took the audio-guides at a booth inside the pedestal and visited the museum dedicated to the building of the Statue. It’s a quick tour with detailed explanations.
Afterwards, we stopped at the food-court for some fruit cups, cookies, and coffee. The outdoor sitting zone is nice and the food was good and not very expensive.
We walked around the island, took hundreds of pictures, and walked back to the loading dock for our next stop: Ellis Island.
Ellis Island, administrative point of entry for thousands of immigrants. Audio-guides are available here too (free) and they offer 3 self-guided audio-tours. We took the “Ellis Experience”: a narration about the journey of immigrants through Ellis Island, from the moment they left their suitcases in the hall to their leaving Ellis Island to live their American dream. Very instructive.
The building is really superb…and noisy!!! What a cacophony in there it must have been back then. We’re going from one room to the other, audio-guide in hand.
It took us about 1h10 and the tour ends up in a room where you can register your visit and you get a certificate of passage sent to your email. What a nice (and free!) souvenir. Gabrielle, our Miss IT, took charge of it. Computers are also available if you want to check if some relatives passed through Ellis Island.
Quick stop for some gifts (I love enamel pins!) and we were back to Battery Park.
Our day had started with a grey sky and a chilly wind, but at 1.00PM it was really hot. Let stop here for now…to be continued!
- Preparing our visit
- Travelling day
- From JFK to Manhattan Leaflet
- Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island
- Financial District and Empire State Building
- Brooklyn Bridge and the Intrepid Museum
- MoMA and Top of the Rock
- Cold day in the Big Apple
- American Museum of Natural History, Tusseaud’s and a strike
This article may contain affiliate links.