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Journey to the Top of the Statue of Liberty

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As a little girl, I always dreamed about going to the top of the Statue of Liberty. I curiously wondered how it looked from inside and how it felt being so close to it. I didn’t know what it meant or its history, but all I knew was that it was the single best statue I have ever seen. I’ve never seen a statue in the center of water looking so proud and strong. I only saw statues in buildings or on the ground.

My parents never took me to the Statue of Liberty. The closest I ever had to seeing her was when I was 10 years old and was on the Staten Island ferry. It was still very far for me to see it but nevertheless I appreciated being closer than I have ever been. At that moment, I promised myself I would go up there when I get older. My dream came true in the summer of 2017.

I had been passing by Battery Park in the fall of 2016 when I stopped to stared at the many people waiting in line. I soon realized that they were waiting for a boat that would take them to the Statue of Liberty. That’s when I decided that it was the time to meet Ms. Liberty.

I went home soon after to book a date to get there. I was on the sofa with my mom when she asked what I was doing. So, I explained to her that I was booking my ticket to go there, and she told me that she never went to it and that this would be a great opportunity to have the whole family go. So we booked four tickets.

We ended up getting tickets in May because every other month was booked. To my surprise, the tickets weren’t as expensive as I thought it would be. They were about $22 each person which isn’t that bad considering we have access to go up the crown and then to Ellis Island. I thought that it would be expensive considering its history and that its a tourist attraction but I’m not complaining.

I found out later that there are 354 stairs in the Statue of Liberty, a number that wasn’t shocking but stressed me out knowing that I would be climbing those stairs. I figured I had enough time to work out and get used to the amount of stairs I would have to climb. Just letting you know, it didn’t happen as planned.

The day I was waiting for finally came. I was constantly worried about those 354 stairs we had to climb considering I’m not in the best shape. We packed our lunch and made sure everyone had enough cold water for the whole day. Each of us brought a small backpack filled with our printed tickets and our snacks. I became the tour guide for my family since I had to look up how to get there and when to get there. I made sure we were there on time as I did not want to miss the boat and end up not going. We were there by 11:30 a.m. and were supposed to be sailing at 12 p.m.

There were already a lot of people waiting in line and it was beginning to feel crowded. It was a little bit disorganized while going through the metal detectors. People were skipping and pushing trying to be first which made no sense to me because everyone would eventually be on the boat at the same time and it wouldn’t matter who was first and last. My mom and I briefly lost my sister and brother but with the help of cellphones we found each other. I began to feel eager knowing that I was few minutes away from seeing the Statue of Liberty in person and being so close.

I was so prepared to take pictures with her that I brought my Polaroid camera with me, it had enough for four pictures, I was already thinking of the different poses I would make and the angle I would take it in. As the boat sailed away from the city and closer to the statue, I thought of the many immigrants who were anxious to come to the city. I thought about how the Statue of Liberty was the first one they saw when they arrived and it was the first to welcome them home.

I thought about how the statue has been there for so many years and how it has tested the hands of time. Yet, I was going to be able to see someone that has so much meaning and symbol as well as history to it. I would be part of history too and someone else will think of the many people coming to see the Statue of Liberty and I would be one of them. I had so many emotions and thoughts build inside of me and, as I was getting closer, I could feel the excitement in me growing.

The boat came to a full stop and we were finally there. As soon as the doors opened, everyone went their separate ways. I had waited for so long to be where I was at that moment but instead of going to see the statue, my family and I decided it would be best to go to the gift store. Everything there was expensive, a pen for $10 or a shirt for $35. It was ridiculous but my mom, being a generous lady, told us to choose one thing from the store. I felt like a kid again, excited to choose something and having my mom pay for it even though I was 18 at the time. I choose a frame with charms shamed with an apple, the Statue of Liberty, and NYC. It cost about $25 and it was a decent size frame so I wasn’t upset about it. I also wanted to by a frame in order to put my Polaroid picture in it.

My brother got a small bottle with the Constitution inside, while my sister got a hat, and my mom bought a magnet. Once we were done with the gift shop, we made our way outside to meet Ms. Liberty. She was everything I expected her to be, tall and beautiful. She wasn’t as green as I always thought she would be, the copper color made her look dirty and old but it’s understandable considering how many years she had been standing there.

After I had observed her beauty, I took out my Polaroid camera and asked my sister to take a picture of me. In order to get the tall statue my sister had be on the ground but that ended up me looking bigger than usual because of the angle. So I asked her to take another one, this one came out better than the first. I was saving the other two for when I got inside or for Ellis Island but I heard my mom yell “my turn” and so my sister took a picture of her with my Polaroid before I could even say anything. I let them know I was saving it but I was brushed off, my mom took my sister’s picture with it. Then my brother wanted to take a picture but I let them know I didn’t have any more frames. They got mad at me for not bringing enough and I was mad at them for using my frames. We soon forgot about the issue and made our way to the entrance.

They had us put our belongings in a small locker which of course we had to do. We were only allowed to bring water. It was a pretty hot day and our water bottles were already halfway done. I was worried that I would finish it once we up there and I wouldn’t have enough for when we came down. The stairs were like any other stairs, wide enough to fit two people. I tried not to run out of breath but since I have asthma I kept using my inhaler every time I felt myself starting to breath heavy. I was sticky and sweaty. I kept taking small sips of my water trying not to waste so much. We had climbed up many stairs until we saw the end of it.

We had finally made it to the pedestal observation level. We stopped there to grasp onto some air from outside. I looked down and started waving at people, some even waved back. They were all incredibly small and I was already imagining how they would look like once I got up the crown.We stayed there a few minutes and went back inside. We showed the security our tickets so they know that we are trying to get to the crown.

The worst part would come. The stairs leading up to the crown were no longer wide but narrow and in a spiral. The step of the stairs were so small that your entire shoe wouldn’t fit so you’d have to walk up sideways. This was the hardest part and my mom was already trying to back away but my sister pushed her. My brother went first, then me, my mom and then my sister. We couldn’t take breaks because there was people behind us and nowhere to stop. I was beginning to feel dizzy and looking down did not help, I felt like I would fall.

What seemed like 30 minutes but was actually only 15, we had finally saw the light from outside. I still remember leaving the final step of the spiral stairs and feeling the wind and seeing the light. It was smaller than what I imagined it to be. Only six people can be there at a time. Once I was there, I drank all my water and looked outside. All the people from below looked like little ants. I began touching the walls around me, once again I thought of all the people who touched the same walls. I was touching history. I peaked back at outside and poked my head out, I could slightly see the torch she was holding.

Unfortunately, we did not stay that long because there were people behind us and it was incredibly hot in there. We took a family picture inside, looking sweaty and nasty and then went down the stairs. It was by far much easier to go down then up but the same feeling I had was still there. Everything else after that was pretty quick. I did what I came to do and achieved what I always wanted to do. We went back to the boat and went to Ellis Island. We only stayed there a few hours before it was time to close.

Once we arrived home, everyone went to rest or take a shower after an exhausting day. I went to my room to open up the small box that contained the frame my mom bought me. I took out the Polaroid picture I had and put it in the frame. I neatly put it on top of my desk and smiled, for I had just achieved a goal I had longed dreamed of.

About the Writer
Andrea Loaiza, Staff Writer
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The name is Loaiza, Andrea Loaiza. She is currently a junior in Mercy College on her way to getting her bachelors in Media and Journalism. She was the managing editor for her high school newspaper called Bryant Clipper. She loves exploring the outdoors and traveling. As well as being an obsessed Pinterest user. She does many volunteer works and likes taking pictures.

She can be reached at [email protected]

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Journey to the Top of the Statue of Liberty