Day two had been bookmarked for something I had not done the last time which was a trip to Ellis Island via the Statue of Liberty. This is a must for NYC as the city is built on immigration and the museum on Ellis Island was absolutely fascinating. First, we got a boat to see the Statue of Liberty; great to see this iconic symbol close up and understand what it represented to so many immigrants. We were unable to get tickets for the crown but the views of Manhattan are also well worth the trip. Then we hopped back on the boat to Ellis Island and I experienced another great audio tour at the museum. It was designed in a way to give you a sense of what it felt like to be an immigrant arriving from anywhere in the world to Ellis Island as your first stop in New York, as well as learning about the process of all the checks, medical examinations and paperwork they had to endure before they were even “let in”. As a fan of American history, I found it utterly enthralling and would recommend a full day to be able to explore what was on offer at the Ellis Island museum, as we only had time for one 45 minute part of it.
In the afternoon, we went to check out the new Freedom Tower, now known as One World Trade Center built in place of the tragedy that struck the Twin Towers in 2001. On the way, we stopped by at the memorials that were built in the place of the twin towers with all the names of the victims and I have to say, it was really beautifully done, to mark such a horrific event. The scale of the memorials themselves gives a sobering sense of the awfulness of what happened there that day. Going up to the observatory at One World Trade Center was a first for me as I have seen NYC from other sites but this would be a different perspective. It was definitely worth the trip as the way they first present you with the view of the city (and I don’t want to give anything away as it will ruin the surprise) was the best bit in itself. Great views and a chance to see the immense urban density that NYC is famous for – don’t bother spending the extra for the iPad guide as it is a waste of money and it is better to concentrate on the view itself rather than figuring out which way up to hold it. That night we headed out for dinner in Chinatown to meet some friends who recommended the Nom Wah Tea Parlor which is supposed to be something of a Chinatown institution and it was great, a feast of food and Dim Sum to choose from.