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July 2018

A Visit to the Battery and the Statue of Liberty

In a visit that started 17 floors above New York Harbor, then – with a slight detour for a fanciful voyage under the sea – continued to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, seven scholars explored the roots of Manhattan, and the nation. Our host was Warrie Price, president and founder of the Battery Conservancy, which operates the 25-acre park at the foot of Manhattan that has been transformed in recent decades into a welcoming green oasis of beautiful gardens and outstanding design.

Ms. Price warmly welcomed the students to the Battery’s offices at One Whitehall Street, as she has for every class since the beginning of Scholarship Plus in 2010. She described the public-private partnership that has transformed the Battery over the decades since the founding of the Battery Conservancy in 1994 into a welcoming park with 195,000 square feet of gardens and acres of green space overlooking sweeping views of New York Harbor.

When Ms. Price described the park’s SeaGlass Carousel, with its chambered-nautilus inspired design and 30 massive fiberglass fish, internally lit by LEDs, that whirled on four giant turntables as the entire floor turned, eyes lit up around the conference room table. Ms. Price asked whether the group would like to take a ride on SeaGlass, and the response was enthusiastic. So when her executive assistant, Jessie Rodriguez, led us to the boat that would take us to the Statue of Liberty, there was a slight detour, for an unforgettable ride on the carousel.

Then, it was off to the boat. Next stop, on a beautiful summer day, was Liberty Island. Then it was on to Ellis Island, visiting rooms that still seemed to resound from the footsteps of millions of immigrants. And then back to the Battery, and a final photograph of the group seated on a long bench made of marble from the same quarry as the base of the Statue of Liberty itself.

Photographs by Michael J. Leahy

With a photograph of the Battery on the screen, Warrie Price, president and founder of the Battery Conservancy, begins her description of the park’s past, present and future.

 

Inside the fish of the SeaGlass Carousel, Joselyn and Michael.

 

Before the fish start moving, Arianna takes a photograph of Joselyn.

Aboard ship on the way to Liberty Island, on a perfect summer day. From left: Arianna, Joselyn, Tasmia, Xabier, Michael, Anijah and Absetou.

 

Approaching Liberty Island, capturing memories.

 

Outside the SeaGlass Carousel, from left: Joselyn, Xabier, Anijah, Michael, Tasmia, Kate Fenneman Stokes, executive director of Scholarship Plus, Arianna and Absetou.

 

Touring one of the Ellis Island exhibits, from left, Joselyn, Absetou and Xabier.

 

On Ellis Island, with immigrant baggage from left, Joselyn, Michael, Anijah, Tasmia and Arianna.

 

Back at the Battery, seated on a long bench made of the same Connecticut granite that was used on the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal, from left: Tasmia, a sophomore at N.Y.U.’s Tandon School of Engineering; Absetou, a Cornell sophomore; Joselyn, who will attend Dartmouth; Xabier, a Columbia sophomore; Arianna, a Boston College first-year; Anijah, who will attend the University of Southern California, and Michael, a first-year at Skidmore.

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