a mighty woman with a torch

Six down.

Players: me and the Mother of Exiles

Lady Liberty is gorgeous and worth all 315 steps. And I must say, after reading about how she came to our sea-washed, sunset gates, I feel that what we are missing in modern diplomacy is the gifting of colossal monuments. Where is Bartholdi when we need him?? I think that if we were to donate a huge statue of, say, Mohammed to the people of Tehran, we would get a lot further with them then we did with 40,000 troops. But that is just one interpretation of the situation. And would it really be lasting? Do we rely on or trust the French now? Perhaps Iran’s statue would also become little more than a tourist trap or a goal on a birthday bucket list. But I digress, this is a story blog, not one on which to ruminate on ridiculous solutions to the diplomacy failings of our current government.

It will come as no surprise to anyone who has been in NYC on a weekend that the subways were a disaster on Saturday. After 15 minutes waiting for the 1-train to shut its doors and get going, I ended up taking a cab to 57th, running two avenues (thank you, Chuck Taylor), catching the R-train to south ferry, running to the fort, and then waiting in line for an hour to catch the ferry. On which I watched not one, but three people film at least 5 minutes of footage of the south manhattan skyline. That will make for awesome home video viewing later. “Here’s the Verizon building, arguably the ugliest building in New York. Here it is still. And still. Now it’s smaller…”

Arrived at Liberty Island, and could not have asked for a better day to be there. The weather was beautiful. A perfect New York fall day. The kind we dream about January to August. Orange trees shedding their foliage. Slight breeze. Brilliant blue sky. Crunchy leaves you have to kick as you walk through them. Perfect. As per a very good suggestion, I checked right with the parks service and headed straight to the crown. Note: if you are going to bring a bag, also bring a dollar bill to put it in a locker. Only cameras are allowed in the statue and there is only one ATM on Liberty Island.

The climb to the pedestal is short, about 150 steps in an open space. After that, the climb to the crown is about 165 steps up a narrow double helix spiral staircase. It is neither tall nor wide, so claustrophobics beware. But it is great to be at the top. Well, almost the top. The torch is higher, but the only person who goes up there is the guy who changes the light bulbs, and from what the rangers say, he doesn’t love his job. Can you believe that? He is a part of making “world-wide welcome” a reality and he doesn’t love his job. Well, he does work in a 24-story walk-up. 24×30.

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