I boarded a cruise which went around Manhattan island explaining every shape that lined the 3 rivers which enclosed it. The buildings that we came across and the 19 bridges that we sailed under during the tour were all familiar names seen in some movie long ago, read in a faintly remembered story or had some specific presence in pop culture. There was the Queensborough Bridge from the Spiderman movie climax. Then there was the Empire State building of King Kong fame which post 9/11 regained it's tallest status on the island of Manhattan.The boat also took us past the UN Headquarters where the world met to decide what it should really be doing and forgot all about their resolutions as soon as they walked out. But the first sight on our 3 hour cruise was what had brought us on this ride.
A very unique shade of green, the silhouette visible from far standing proud above Ellis Island stood the Statue of Liberty. Her rather stern face and the flame in her hand are the most cliched image of America possible. Even after being 5 months old in America, it was the first time I really felt that reality. For a hundred years, boats spilling over with fresh immigrants made their way into the New York - New Jersey harbour past this stately lady. For them and for many millions after them, America represented the land of opportunity far away from their troubled home-lands. And right in front of them as they cast their first nervous glances on the place that held their future was the perfect embodiment of the big and beautiful dream of America.