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I just moved to New York.
I’m officially a New York writer and loving every second of my nerd-level Carrie Bradshaw vibes. I completely get it. New York City is the greatest city in the world. I love it. It is absolutely magical. Coming from LA, where the magic is all about Hollywood, New York has a different kind of energy. While yes, there are many artists here following their dreams, the history and symbolism of New York City is unlike no other. I couldn’t think of a better spot to visit first than the Statue of Liberty. However, it was easier said than done.
Los Angeles is full of tourists, but normally, they are confined to Hollywood Blvd, a few beach spots, and a theme park or two. Here in New York, they are everywhere. Don’t get me wrong, I love tourists and meeting people from other countries, but I'm not a fan of a big crowds. It's even worse when those crowds get pushy, and then I turn into George Costanza. I know what you might be thinking: Why did you move to one of the busiest cities in the world then? First of all, I'm complicated. Second of all, people walking about in the city is one thing, but being shoved by 6ft tall German women is not my idea of a weekend well-spent. As it turns out, the Statue of Liberty is one of the busiest tourist attractions in the world. It’s the Mount Everest of tourism. If you can make it through that crowd, you can do anything!
On the Saturday of this year’s combined Passover and Easter weekend, I made my way on the 1 train down to Battery Park where you can catch the ferry to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I made the mistake of not listening to my own advice and did not purchase a ticket ahead of time. I was naïve. It was a holiday weekend and a beautiful, sunny day. Crap.
I finally get there. The line just to purchase a ticket is around the building and then some. Mind you there is also a separate, super-long line once you have your ticket to get onto the ferry. I was almost to the ticket counter when I heard it; A man announced, impressively in 5 different languages, that they were no longer selling tickets for that day. I was not amused. Thankfully, I could still buy a ticket for the next day, but that would mean I would have to come back to Battery Park, and at $2.75 a train ride, it’s not exactly cheap. I bought my Statue of Liberty ticket for the following day, which would be Easter Sunday. Not wanting to waste a subway trip though, I decided to walk over to where the Staten Island Ferry is and take that over the harbor to see a bit of Staten Island. Fun fact, the State Island Ferry is free. Wahoo! Unfortunately, it seemed that everyone else who didn’t get a ticket to the Statue of Liberty had the same idea.
I was waiting near the entrance to get onto the ferry in a sea of people, pun intended. I thought I might lose my mind. First of all, it felt as though everyone near me had at least 6 inches of height over me (I’m very short). Then all of sudden the doors opened, and we started to move. But not a calm move. We were like a live reenactment of what was happening on the Titanic, only instead of looking for lifeboats, we were trying to get back on the ship. I remember saying out loud “People, calm down. It’s Staten Island, not Disneyland.” Though I don’t think anyone understood me, I figured now would be the perfect time to start becoming a tough New Yorker. Yeah, I still have a lot of work to do.
The great thing about New York is that when you take these ferries, especially on a nicer day, you get beautiful views of Manhattan and the harbor. It can get quite chilly on the top of the ferry though, so be mindful to dress extra warm.
After getting off the ferry at Staten Island, I wandered around a bit into a very low-key borough that didn’t seem to have much going on at all. In fact, it felt kind of creepy. That ferry was packed, and then all of sudden it was like "where did all the people go?". Stephen King, if you ever somehow read this blog, it might make a good book. I can totally see it: The Staten Island Disappearance. Seriously though, where did all those people go!?
Since my phone battery was low, I didn’t venture too far onto the island. Last thing I needed was to get lost in New York, battle a couple of quirky thieves, have my mom finally find me at Rockefeller Center and... Oh wait, wrong plot. OK, so all in all, the fact that the ride was free and that I can cross Staten Island off my New York bucket list made it a satisfactory day of exploration.
On the next blog post, hear about the following day when I finally made it to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island!
Jill Zwarensteyn is an actress, comedian, and writer who has been featured on Amazon, TruTV, The New York Times, Matador Network, BUST Magazine, Thought Catalog, GoMad Nomad, Mashable, The Daily Mail UK, the Cannes Film Festival, LaughFest, Women's Lifestyle Magazine, and the Funny Women Festival LA. For more info visit: http://www.jillzwarensteyn.weebly.com