Big Apple Trip 1
Updated: Nov 9
Aside from art, and motorsports, my 3rd greatest passion is traveling to new places. Oklahoma is such a tiny dot compared to what’s out there to see. It gives me a thrill like no other when it is time to start packing for my next vacation.
Before my life-long addiction to racing started, my obsession was New York City. All I wanted to do in Elementary School was draw the New York skyline, the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and imagine what it would be like to go see it in person. All I needed was a stack of copy paper, cardboard box, and a tape dispenser, and I could create a paper statue of liberty.
I kept asking my folks to take me to New York for months leading up to my 9th birthday, but they always gave a vague answer like “we’ll see Joey”, and changed the subject. They didn’t give me a flat-out yes, but it wasn’t a no either, so I didn’t give up. A few days before my 9th birthday, I asked again. This time, the response was “We’ll talk about it after school”. My birthday landed on the Friday before Spring Break, and just after I got back to class from lunch, I heard the magic words: “Could you send Joseph Perry to the office to check out please”. And I went crazy. I’m pretty sure everyone in my class still remembers me sprinting down the hall to this day.
My Grandma turned off the radio, looked over, and said “Here’s a bag, when we get home, you need to start packing your clothes and stuff.” “Why?” I asked, as if I didn’t know what she would say next. She showed me our airline tickets as she said, “We’re going to New York!” I raced out of the car, and got busy instantly. Of course I was done packing before my parents were, and I rushed them like a drill sergeant. We headed to Will Rodgers World Airport, and I remember every part of the trip in vivid detail.
I still remember driving over a bridge, looking to the right, and seeing the massive Statue in all of its glory during our taxi ride from the airport to the hotel.
We stayed at the Westin hotel on the New Jersey side of the harbor.
Our room was high enough to see Ellis Island, and the Statue of Liberty’s torch just barely on the horizon if you looked real closely out of our window.
To the left, was the New York side of the harbor. We didn’t spend very much time at the hotel though.
We took the subway to the New York side, and got on the ferry boat to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island twice during our 4-day visit, along with the Empire State Building, Central Park, and the Rockefeller Center.
My Grandparents especially enjoyed seeing Ellis Island, because my ancestors on my Great Grandmother's side of the family were immigrants from Ireland in the late 1800’s, that came through Ellis Island. We still keep a photo album of the trip in my closet to this day.
One of my cousins, Robert, worked at Apple headquarters, and gave us a quick tour while we were visiting there.
Robert and his wife Amy went with us to the Statue of Liberty the second time, and they thought it was pretty amusing that I knew more about the Statue than the tour guides did.
Our next stop, is the one I will always remember. Next up, was Liberty Island.
I still remember how excited I was when we were inching closer to the island aboard our ferry ride with Statue Cruises.
What fascinated me so much about the statue, is the history behind it. The artist’s name that built it was Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. The statue was a gift to the United States in return for American troops helping France during their revolutionary war. Gustave Eiffel helped him design the internal structure of the statue, and the metal-work is very similar to the Eiffel Tower that Gustave is most famous for in Paris.
The Statue's outer "skin" is made out of 100% Copper, which made it turn to the light green color we see today. When the Statue was originally brought to America from France in 1886, it was still a bright, shiny, gold/bronze color just like a new penny, similar to the life-sized statue foot replica above.
We got to climb to the upper observation deck atop the pedestal, because we scored pedestal reserve tickets before the trip.
The view from the balcony is something else! There is a spiral staircase inside of the statue, that takes you to a small room in the head of the statue, with windows in the crown on her head, where you can look out onto the harbor. You can see where immigrants would have passed by, and been welcomed to the new world by “Liberty Enlightening the World” as Bartholdi called his creation.
We got to go do and see some really awesome things in NYC back in 2009, but there is still allot that we missed out on. We didn’t visit the observation deck at the top of the Empire State building, because it was too foggy to see far, so it wasn’t worth it.
The Twin Towers Memorial wasn’t in place yet, and the Statue of Liberty’s crown was still closed to the public due to the events of 9/11 2001. They have since re-opened the crown of the statue to the public. Now you can climb up the stairs inside of the statue all the way to the crown, look out of her windows over New York Harbor, and see where immigrants would have passed by, and been welcomed to the new world by “Liberty Enlightening the World” as Bartholdi called his creation.
October 2016, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Foundation announced that they are beginning a $70-million-dollar project to build a fully-enclosed glass museum building on Liberty Island for viewers to see artifacts from the statue’s construction, and get more access to the history of New York that they wouldn’t have prior to this due to security restrictions.
I would love to go visit the Big Apple again sometime soon. I had a blast in 2009, and I would imagine I would if I were to go again.
There are allot of places I want to go see at some point. I am always planning my next trip, Constantly.