Day two was the day of the subway system. I dived down into the station two blocks from my hotel, snaked my MetroCard out of the machine, and proceeded to slide it through the slot to the left of my turnstile rather than the right. When I realized my error and slid it through the correct slot, the computer naturally thought I was trying to game it (at $7.00 for an all-day pass, it doesn’t account for individual rides but for more than one use of the same card within 18 minutes) and refused me entry. I pleaded my case to the attendant, who let me through the gate. Down the island, first stop Trinity Church as aforementioned, then onto the ferry for Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. I didn’t get off at Liberty Island; only took some pictures from the boat. Exhibits at Ellis Island were quite moving. My feelings on the current immigration hoo-ha can be summed up in a few sentences: I am in favor of allowing in almost any sound, sane, upstanding, law-abiding person who wants a) to become a U.S. citizen or b) to be educated at one of our universities. But the fact that our immigration policies in the past have stilted this ideal is no excuse for circumventing them. Secure the border first. Decide what to do about illegals afterward. Make the whole process more streamlined for future applicants. And screen the immigration status of all those who are arrested for any reason and deport immediately all such who are here illegally. But Ellis was a grand sight and quite moving in its depiction of those who came here seeking both to stay and make a better life.
After a brief stop at the Fraunces Tavern Museum, also as aforementioned, where you can see the Long Room where Washington said goodbye to his officers, I visited St. Paul’s Chapel. Impressive, but its native architectural beauty is marred by the ugly pink and powder blue interior decorating scheme.
St. Paul’s served as a rally point and aid-and-comfort zone during the atrocity of 9/11, located as it is adjacent to Ground Zero, my next focus. Ladder/Engine Company No. 10, also adjacent to the WTC, which took multiple hits in personnel and building that day:
My favorite sight at Ground Zero is the new WTC 7, rising serenely over the rather tortured landscape of whatever construction is evidently taking place, though not very quickly, on the site of the Twin Towers:
Finally, my last church of the day: over the threshold into St. Patrick’s Cathedral:
While I was inside this awe-inspiring structure, the sun came out:
The day ended with a trip up the Empire State Building at about 11 p.m., after I’d found my Italian restaurant from the previous night and, if you can believe it, was let through the gate again by a subway attendant after scurrying into the station, swiping my card, and realizing I’d left my cell phone back at the hotel. Back to the hotel, back to the station, where again the computer thought I was trying to cheat the subway out of $7. The attendant wasn’t as forgiving as the morning one, but he let me through eventually, thinking: Rube.