After waking up around 8:00am, Ben and I prepared for a really long day out and about. First, we took our first NYC subway ride. I was expecting to see a bunch of crazy New Yorkers (no offense, non-crazy New Yorkers); instead, I encountered mostly tourists. When we stopped in Battery Park, we walked to the line for the ferry that takes you to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. I felt like I was actually coming to America for the very first time when they made me take off my shoes and socks and searched my belongings and then herded everyone like cattle into this overheated/overcrowded waiting room. I didn’t pay for the 19th Century Immigrant experience, but what an upgrade!
We sat at the top of the ferry because I wanted to see the Statue as we approached it on the water. The view was breathtaking. It’s magnificent to think about the symbolism of that statue.
While we were there being tourists, we took a lot of pictures with Lady Liberty. (This is as good place a place as any to note that I abhor looking like a tourist; however, I did purchase a crown souvenir crown on the ship that I had to carry around the city for the rest of the day.)
We also saw this man, a total tourist, writhing on the ground to take his picture of America’s birthday gift.
After our little history lesson about Freemasons and Frenchmen, we sailed to Ellis Island. We sort of rushed through it, but we spent some time in the room of “immigrant cultural references and prejudices” where we saw a silly wall of racist sheet music that was popular in the early 20th century. People could definitely not get away with singing any of these songs today.
After we raced back to the ship and returned to Battery Park, we took the subway to the famed 42nd Street and went to the Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum. I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I learned so many weird tid-bits and I loved how silly everything was. For example, certain tribes used to use an oosik to club their enemies to death. What’s an oosik (below)?
Answer: A walruses penis bone. Gross, I know. Maturity was something we must have left at Ellis Island because we were giggling at the sight of this. It’s name alone is enough to make you crack up. Ooooooosik.
Moving on, we saw an entire exhibit about torture devices:
And there was a portrait of Frank Sinatra that someone made out of dead butterflies:
All in all, this place was weird. But it provided a lot of laughs among the stress of being in an overwhelming city.
After our tourism day, we went back to the hotel to rest a little before we met up with Ben’s old friend Peter.
Of course, meeting anyone for dinner that you don’t know/haven’t seen in a while can cause some anxiety, but there was no reason once we sat down for dinner. Peter was so kind and treated us to dinner at Les Halles on Park Avenue, followed by birthday drinks at Banc at the corner of 3rd Av. and 30th St. Ben turned 24 at midnight, so we were favorites of the bartender since we started drinking around 9 and hung around until 1am. We ordered a Manhattan Sewer for Ben, a cocktail that I’m pretty sure contained 7 different kinds of whiskey. Delicious? No. Funny? Absolutely.
Afterwards, Ben and I trudged home down 3rd Av. and up to Times Square, but not before we went shopping at Forever 21 at 1:45am. Being drunk in a store that already makes you feel like you are drunk without any alcohol is a terrifyingly thrilling experience!