Friday, July 4, 2014

She lifts her lamp beside the golden door...


               ...from a photographer's notebook

A large cruise ship glides past the Statue of Liberty in New York's harbor.
Here's a podcast I produced the following year from this article.


It’s July Fourth, and I’m thinking back to a moment just last week in New York…

A hot summer day in late June…the Brooklyn Heights Promenade.

After exploring some inviting neighborhood streets with the cameras, I headed for this broad promenade running along the East River, with its dramatic views of Lower Manhattan and New York’s great harbor, including of course the Statue of Liberty.

A Brooklyn Heights Bouquet

So much to take in… 

Visitors and locals strolling the promenade or relaxing on benches…the constant parade of ferries and sailboats…the bold gantries at Red Hook…the towers of Lower Manhattan…the view upriver to the Brooklyn Bridge…

Several tree-lined walkways connect the Promenade with the street grid of Brooklyn Heights.  Hmm…a shade break from the broiling afternoon sun might be appealing about now…

An ice cream truck at the top of the hill made me super-glad I had taken this particular walkway. Small vanilla cone and a long bottle of chilled water…ahhh!

After savoring my nice cold treats and watching some kids playing in the pocket park, I was ready for some further baking in the sun.

Turns out, I headed back down to the promenade at just the right moment, for there in the harbor was a huge cruise ship, complete with water cannon salute, about to sail past the Statue of Liberty on her way out to sea.

Carnival Splendor approaches Statue of Liberty. Governors Island is in the foreground




Conditions weren’t the best for getting my photos - the position of the afternoon sun, and the atmospheric haze over the harbor on this steamy summer afternoon were a bit challenging, as I aimed my 400 or so millimeters of image-stabilized glass at the Carnival Splendor as she approached Lady Liberty, but I’m so glad I got back there at the right moment.

The next few minutes were actively occupied in following the ship as she traversed the channel between Governors Island and the Statue.

As the sleek form of this huge modern cruise ship (she was built in 2008) approached Lady Liberty on her outbound course, one could imagine all the less glamorous ocean craft chugging their way in the opposite direction in the late 1800s and the early years of the 20th century, past the Statue on their way to Ellis Island, hopeful immigrants pressed together on their decks, weeping happily at the sight of the Lady with the Torch, who welcomed them to a new life of opportunity, liberty, freedom from oppression…

From last June's helicopter shoot...





If the Lady could speak, the stories she would tell…

That summer afternoon on the Brooklyn Heights Promenade also held some special meaning for a couple of other reasons…

Independence Day was approaching and the Statue, a gift from the people of France, was to mark the 100th anniversary of American Independence. A multitude of difficulties delayed things until 1886 (you can listen to the story here), but wasn’t Lady Liberty worth the wait…

And there was the fact that, as one of my last projects for VOA (more on that some other time), I had narrated and produced a series of travelogue programs for English learners called “This Is America,” which included one on Lady Liberty. An honor for that series, at the New York Festivals Awards Gala, was actually the impetus for returning to New York for this celebratory week.

Best wishes for a happy Independence Day weekend!

©2014 Steve Ember

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3 Comments:

Blogger ISPIRIT said...

Steve you are one seriously talented guy. Loved it.

July 4, 2014 at 7:57 PM  
Blogger John Tooley said...

Very nice, thank you.

July 5, 2014 at 7:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steve....Another outstanding piece of work!!! Your photography, scripting, voice work and love of what you do, never ceases to amaze me! SG

July 6, 2014 at 6:40 PM  

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