Friday has become my favorite day during the pandemic, mainly because it’s the one day each week I have the opportunity to spend my lunch hour with friends and experts within the transportation community as I host my weekly podcast The Word on the Street. It started as a way to have lunch with friends and keep up with what was going on in the industry, and it’s carried on now for 65 episodes, which is pretty special. Each week, we talk about current events, both professional and personal, through the use of polling questions to see where everybody falls, as well as sports, cultural and political discussions, which are the most enjoyable. It’s a great blend of younger talent and experienced professionals, men & women, and it’s an absolute blast to host. You can watch a few of our recent episodes on its YouTube channel.
On this Friday, we had a big day planned. It started with our morning walk with Tiger, which stretched a little farther today, followed by breakfast with the girls and then starting my work day. With nearly a full slate on the calendar before my podcast at 1pm, I put the blinders on while the girls journaled, wrote post cards, played outside and cleaned up the RV. With such a small living space, it requires attention to clean it up every 2-3 days to keep us all sane!
After a great show, a few other tasks and a sales call with a friend and prospect of mine, we headed out to take in the sights, the sounds and the history lessons of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. There’s only one way to get to Ellis Island if you don’t work there, and that is by ferry, which goes to both Ellis Island and to the island housing the Statue of Liberty. Boarding the ferry occurs at the historic Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, the train depot in which immigrants would board trains to travel to their final destination, often in the less populated and unsettled areas in the midwest. From the terminal, it’s a short ride to Ellis Island, but a unique way to arrive at the island in a similar manner to those who risked life and limb for a better life in America in the late 19th & early 20th centuries.
The Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration is a trove of history with exhibits displaying the measures taken to evaluate each immigrant when they arrived, including medical evaluations, health inspections for current diseases, and even mental capacity, all used to determine if an immigrant will be a contributing member of society. Until 1935 and the New Deal, the United States did not have a social safety net, meaning every person in the country had to provide for their own well-being. Therefore, it was critical that immigration processes included evaluations of one’s ability to contribute positively to society. I doubt any of these evaluations could even exist today in our PC and social media world. We were all amazed at how bad it must have been for early immigrants who left everything behind, packed up what they could and moved their family across the Atlantic to start a new life.
We left Ellis Island on the last ferry out of town to visit the Statue of Liberty before it closed, and with the final wave of storms moving out of New York City, the skyline was incredibly beautiful on the ride over to Liberty Island where we saw a small group of jet skiers enjoying the views, and we captured a few great shots of the statue. It was a quick visit to the island at the end of the day, as the statue is still closed to visitors going inside. We took our pictures, including one in which a middle-aged man decided to photo bomb us, and then we hit the museum store on our way back to the ferry. I saw the guy on the ferry and was so tempted to walk up and ask him for his cell number so I could send him the pic, but the girls begged me not to. I guess I tend to embarrass them a little bit from time to time?
We ended the night enjoying some ice cream and brownies while watching a movie together before calling it a night, which is never a bad way to end a great day.