On a gorgeous, not a cloud-in-the-sky, warm but not-too-hot June Sunday afternoon, I found myself with a few hours to kill in Jersey City, New Jersey. At the recommendation of a friend that lived nearby, I decided to take a walk at Liberty State Park at the city’s Southern tip.
Mind you, I was just looking to stretch my legs and go for a walk on the sunny day, I had no idea I was about to see hundreds of years of American history first-hand, heck, I didn’t even know I would see the Statue of Liberty on this walk. Needless to say, it was a great decision and an incredible way to spend a Sunday afternoon.
Getting to Liberty State Park from just a couple miles away was an adventure of its own.. but that’s another story. At one point, three cars were making three-point turns to change directions in this chaotic intersection.
The Jersey City skyline came into view as I left the cement streets for the grassy greens of Liberty State Park.
I didn’t spend much time in the grassy fields, opting instead for the scenic walkway, but Liberty State Park was full of plant-life, an oasis in an otherwise urban sprawl.
“ Liberation is a bronze Holocaust memorial created by the sculptor Nathan Rapoport, located in Liberty State Park in Jersey City, in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States. Officially dedicated on May 30, 1985, the monument portrays an American soldier, carrying the body of a Holocaust survivor out of a Nazi concentration camp.” – Wikipedia
A short walk from my car in Parking Lot 3 put me right on the Liberty State Park Walkway, opening up stunning views of New York City, the Hudson River, and historic monuments and locations.
Speaking of monuments, I was spoiled by an almost immediate view of New York City’s most instantly recognizable landmarks: the Statue of Liberty.
My view of the Statue of Liberty was from her back side, of course, as the 1886 monument’s front-facing side welcomed immigrants to the nearby Ellis Island, which was also visible from the walkway.
Ellis Island, which welcomed over 11 million immigrants from 1892 to 1954, pictured in the forefront, with Manhattan’s Southern-most Financial District in the background, highlighted by One World Trade Center (Freedom Tower,) the tallest building in the skyline.
A view to the South, with the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connecting Staten Island and Brooklyn in the distance. On this particular Sunday afternoon, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, with temperatures in the high 70’s/low 80’s. In short: a picturesque June day.
Although not pictured, the walkway was swarming with visitors of all kinds. Walkers, bikers, families, couples, friends, fishers, picnickers, children, adults, dogs, and more all shared the space in harmony on this beautiful day, June 5, 2022.
A clearer view of the 0.81 mile Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge, once the longest suspension bridge in the world when it was opened in 1964. While also not necessarily pictured, there was tons of activity in the New York Harbor, from jet-skiers to paddle boarders and row boaters.
On the Northern end of the walkway stands the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal. Behind the Terminal is the Jersey City skyline once again, highlighted by the 781-foot Goldman Sachs Tower.
The Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal is currently free to enter and observe, and also offers tickets for ferry rides. From 1889 to 1967 the railroad lines once transported passengers, many being immigrants from nearby Ellis Island, to Chicago, St. Louis, Washington D.C., Atlantic City, Wilkes-Barre, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, Harrisburg, and Williamsport.
The Empty Sky Memorial, dedicated in 2011 a decade after the September 11 attacks, memorializes New Jersey residents killed in the tragic event. It is named after the the grounding of air traffic in and around New York City, creating a rare and eerie sight of empty skies in the usually high-traffic area.
As I began to depart, and activity in the New York Harbor began to pick up, I took this shot showing the walkway itself, the Statue of Liberty in the background. I thought the whole setup looked familiar…
…and that’s because it did. Liberty Mutual Insurance must have filmed their ads on one of the many benches I passed on the walkway. Liberty Mutual Insurance. Statue of Liberty. It finally clicked. (Photo: Liberty Mutual Insurance)
A panoramic shot of the walkway, lower Manhattan, Ellis Island, the New York Harbor/Hudson River, and the Statue of Liberty. Taken with my steady but not perfect hand, causing the city skyline to slop upwards as the picture progresses from North to South (Left to Right.)
The Statue of Liberty, located on Liberty Island, was accepting visitors and a tour given over a loudspeaker or intercom could be heard from across the water. Geographically, Liberty Island is located within New Jersey’s borders and less than 3,000 feet from the walkway: but for all intents and legal purposes, the Island and Statue are New York property, per an 1834 pact between the states that was ratified by Congress.
My Strava stats from my 4.1 mile walk up and down the walkway. Being a man-made path adjacent to the water, there was virtually no elevation change, save for a couple steps at one point in the path.
A zoomed out look at the walk, highlighting the relative locations of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Jersey City. The Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal is located on the North end of this walk and is where I decided to turn around.
For a Sunday afternoon stroll before work, my time at Liberty State Park’s waterside walkway couldn’t be beat. Taking in the sights of historic monuments, seeing brilliant man-made architecture alongside the natural beauty of the harbor, and walking side-by-side with fellow humans (and other animals!) each enjoying the day in their own way was a serene, thought-provoking, and memorable experience.
I highly recommend spending a couple hours at this free park if you’re in the area, or even traveling from out-of-town if you’re interested in seeing some of New York and New Jersey’s most historic landmarks.
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All pictures owned by me unless otherwise noted
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June 6, 2022 By Billy Sakmann
Personal Posted in Personal, Travel Tagged # Central Railroad of New Jersey Train Station, Ellis Island, Empty Sky Memorial, Freedom Tower, Goldman Sachs Tower, Hudson River, Jersey City, Manhattan, New Jersey, New York, New York City, Photo Gallery, Statue of Liberty, Travel
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