My Financial and Menu Adviser visited dear old Lady Liberty today. My first time to visit her since the late 1980s, the weather was cold and blustery and the sky was harsh and crisp. It was the first or second official day of winter, and there was no global warming jokes to be told. However, "security" was yukking it up, big time. To visit Liberty Island, you must now wait in line not just to get on the ferry, but wait in line to run through a metal detector. This is an airport-style security checkpoint, where belts, jackets, wallets, cell phones, watches, nosehair trimmers, and, one supposes, cock-rings, all must be removed before you can proceed to the next line for the ferry. In the summer, this is probably fine. In the winter, it means that you stand around in a canvas tent, bereft of heat, while you hand your jacket to some Homeland "Security" associate sales representative. If your shoes set off the detector, then you take them off and run them through again, too. Of course, the people who decided not to have metal eyelets holding their shoelaces in place tracked in latent snow and ice, and so the floor you're standing on in your socked feet is wet. And so your socks are wet. I later learned that some of the six metal detectors were equipped with sandals, but you probably had to pay $5 to rent them for the 30 seconds you need them. In short, the path to Liberty is paved with ridiculousness, ineptitude, and poor signage. In my attempt to show the FMA the finer points of New York for her first visit, I needed to strike a balance between the cool and the touristy. The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island fell into the latter category, strangely enough, but the good National Park Service couldn't be bothered to inform you that the last ferry from Liberty Island to Ellis Island was at 3 or 3:30. So, we missed the immigration museum on this trip - the consolation prize was the above photo, taken from the Battery Park pier.
It's entirely possible that I have visited Coney Island before. It's not like the place is as remote or as less-visited as Antarctica, evil machinations of property developers aside. If I have been there before this past Friday, though, I don't remember. It was a proper excursion. There were no other tourists, although I did come across about five other photographers. The occasional jogger (with a soft "j", according to Will Ferrell) attempted suicide by trotting past. The FMA and I wandered the desolate boardwalk and gawked at brightly-painted signage, not really protected in the slightest by our umbrellas as we were assaulted by a storm. Temperatures set a record low for the day, or the day following, but the weather is sort of irrelevant when Atlantic gusts are scaring off everybody but the insane and the seabirds.