We flew up from San Francisco to arrive in New York in the middle of a freak heat wave.  The average temperature in New York in May is around 61oF (16oC), although the locals told us it had been much colder than that the week before.  It was 95oF during our stay.  We arrived at JFK at about 20.00, too late to realise how hot it was during the day.  We collected our bags, and got a cab straight to our hotel.  The system at JFK is, in my opinion, better than at Heathrow.  Slicker and quicker.  You check in with the agent, get the cab they assign you and off you trot.

We hadn’t been able to get into the hotel I’d wanted, in East 42nd, so we’d been booked into our hotel very close to Times Square, in West 40th.  The Distrikt Hotel is quite modern, the reception staff were huge fun and very helpful, and there was a birthday cupcake and birthday card in our room.  I’d recommend it.  Funny thing was that in our first trip in the lift, we met another English woman staying there on business.  We unpacked and generally sorted ourselves out, and went to the bar.

We had already booked a trip to Liberty Island for the next day, fortunately not too early in the morning.  We took the Subway to Battery Park, picked up our tickets and then joined the very long queue.  Security here was better than at the airport, the searches were very thorough, which is why there was such a long queue.

Liberty Island has a varied and interesting history.  It was renamed as such in 1956, by an act of Congress although it has had several names over the centuries.  As far back as the mid 17th century, the waters in Upper New York Bay were home to Oyster beds which became a major food source for immigrant Dutch Settlers who named it Great Oyster Island.

In 1664, the Dutch surrendered to the British, the island became British and was eventually sold to Isaac Bedloe in 1667, thus becoming Bedloe’s Island.  Having been a private island for rental and a smallpox quarantine, it later became a sanctuary for loyalist during the American Revolutionary War.

In the 19th century, it became home to Fort Wood, and was chosen to be the home for what it is now best known for, the Statue of Liberty, in the 1880s.  The Statue of Liberty was a gift to the people of America by the people of France, something to do with solidarity after the revolutions in both countries.  The sculptor, Frederic Bartholdi, modelled the statue on his mother.

I’m not sure why I should have been surprised, but I was, to learn (a) that the statue is hollow and (b) that the copper is only about the thickness of a one cent coin.  As well as the Statue of Liberty, there is a museum on the island, and a number of other smaller statues.


When we’d finished, we took the subway back to Times Square and went back to the hotel.  Dinner was a local Chinese, followed by an early night, ready for the next day.


© Susan Shirley 2018


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