When I moved to New York City from Florida in 1993, I was a naive 23-year-old who wondered if I could ever find my way in this vibrant city. But every glimpse of the famous Statue of Liberty out in the harbor of my new home filled me with hope, assuring me that millions of people had remade themselves here and that I could too.
As my love for my adopted city grew, I wanted to share my enthusiasm, so I studied and trained to become a licensed New York City tour guide. Soon I was giving history lessons from the top of a double-decker bus and visiting the Statue of Liberty at least once a week. My group would spill into the 25-acre Battery Park and head toward the ferry that would take us to Liberty Island. On board, I would lead my groups up an internal stairwell all the way to the top deck and point them to the edge that would provide the best view of the statue as we crossed the harbor.
As Lady Liberty grew taller and more stately, I would bask in the squeals of delight and the excited conversations in multiple languages taking place all around me. As the ferry docked, I would hold up my flag to gather my group and march them down the gangway and across the long pier to the front of the statue for a group photo.
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