Because of my beau’s line of work I often find myself alone with CJ, NOLA NYCole and Bella LaRue.  So instead of becoming the town party drunk, I tend to lose myself in a good movie, especially the New York ones.  This weekend’s ‘In Love Yet Lonely’ flick was Hitch.  It’s a quirky film where a successful


matchmaker could work his magic for his clients in three dates.  There of course is more to the story, hence the title Hitch so I’ll save that part for those who have yet to see it.

Along the Way to Ellis Island

How cute is Hitch?  It’s one movie I can watch over and over.  I admit that the romanticism mixed with mishaps that make it a winner in my book.  Will Smith’s character Alex ‘Hitch” Hitchens was so smooth.  Eva Mendes as the hardened Sara Melas ‘brought it’ throughout the movie.

And Kevin James as Albert Bennaman.  What’s not to love about his ‘little’ self.  The woman for whom Albert pined, Allegra Cole, wealthy with a spectacular pedigree is supermodel/actress Amber Valletta who has a recurring role on Revenge (set in the Hamptons).

Take for instance the scene where Hitch takes Sara to Ellis Island. I loved when Sara looked in the book that noted immigrants who entered the country via Ellis Island that was turned to the page showing when one of her relatives came to this country.  I knew one of my first visits to New York had to include taking a tour of Ellis Island.

And so it was.  It was on a cold winter’s day when Reg and I embarked on what was to be the romantic

Ellis Island,1892

excursion in my favorite city.  I couldn’t wait to board the boat that took us to the place where so many people saw as their safe haven from what they left behind.  I too hoped to find something about my heritage just as Sara did in the movie.

Needless to say, my reality never turns out to mimic what happens in the movies.  Ellis Island was currently under construction.  I tend to visit significant venues while they’re in upheaval.  Some of the crowd were either crass, obnoxious or both, i.e. students on a field trip.  Even so, we tried to make the best of it.

While walking around I found its contents rather bare and I didn’t find my ancestor’s name in the book like Sara did in Hitch.  I was however marveled by the fact that I was in the vessel that lead to freedom and a better life.  We all know that not everyone found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but you have to admire the courage put forth to at least look for it.

The boat then took us the Statue of Liberty but it was cold and raining so we both

Statue of Liberty from the Boat

opted to stay on the boat and take pictures from our seats.  And like several other venues, they were repairing Lady Liberty so we would have only been able to walk around her feet.  Being as close as we were to her while sitting on the boat was just fine.

It’s funny how you appreciate things after time has passed.  It’s so easy to complain.  As I look at some of the pictures taken during our tour, I’m thankful for the chance to step into the past.  I’m sure some of my ancestors set foot in the same place in search of their dreams.  The next time I visit, I’ll be sure to keep that in mind.

A Stop Along the Way. The Educators Didn’t Read the Sign Stating, “Keep the Stairs Clear”!

July 4, 2011

This past year I celebrated the Fourth of July along the Hudson River with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island as the backdrop.  The group I was with was told the fireworks would be set off there.  We made reservations to a great restaurant, Merchant River House with two separate outdoor locations.  The reservationist reassured me we were seated in a prime spot to see the fireworks.  After ordering drinks we found out we were on the wrong side.

My Pal

July 4, 2011 Dining Spot, Merchant River House

I panicked.  Another group we knew was sitting on the right side and I just couldn’t stand for it!  Luckily I had my lucky charm who flirted with the maître de and not only were whisked away to the right patio but we were seated in front of the other group.  What a coup de gras!

After we ate, the fireworks were to begin.  I had both cameras and flip cameras ready to capture this momentous occasion.  The fireworks were moved this year in honor of the Statue of Liberty’s 125th anniversary.  The fireworks were about to begin.

Our necks were stretched out to see the first set of brilliant splendor.  Hmmm?  I was guessing the festivities were like a song, you know with a crescendo and the fireworks would work their way to being set off directly in front of Lady Liberty. Well, that never

Fireworks, July 4, 2011

happened!  After several minutes of straining to see the beautiful I was resigned to seeing splendor at a distance.  A couple beside me shared the tidbit about organizers changing the location back to its original location.  All that said, being there was still thrilling and momentous.

Statue of Liberty,  July 4, 2011

Fireworks on the Hudson, July 4, 2011

And then it hit me!  The year before after being stressed out from being with a couple of cruel educators, I decided to attend the fireworks celebration alone.  I recall getting on the subway and headed towards the Statue of Liberty to see them.  I got there a little early.  I had a prime seat on a bench along the river.  Where was everyone else?  I wasn’t that early.  Then I pulled out my Blackberry.  The fireworks weren’t set to light the skies in front of Lady Liberty until July4,  2012. Crap!!!  I was a year too early.  I did miss the opportunity to witness 125 people from 46 different countries pay tribute to her by taking the oath of allegiance under the Statue of Liberty becoming American citizens. That would have been cool.

I got back on the subway and terrifyingly made my way to the original, correct location.  It was truly terrifying!  I was alone and had no idea where I was going.  It seems I got off at the wrong subway stop.  “Okay Simone,” I thought.  “You’re smart.  You’re studying under the goddess of education, Lucy Calkins, at Columbia University.  Use the cute little laminated maps you purchased in one of the countless gift shops along Broadway.  No. There’s got to be a better way, a simpler way.  Ah!  Yes, follow the crowd.”  And that’s what I did.

Photo with the Goddess of Education

I started my quest for fireworks when the sun was high in the sky. Once I reached my destination there was no sun in sight.  Even after the long trek I managed to find a prime spot among hundreds, if not thousands of other people.  The view was spectacular!

Flashing forward one year I let go of being disappointed.  I redeemed myself by being overwhelmed with nostalgia.  Thoughts of my dad in the military along with countless individuals who risked their lives for our country came flooding in my mind.  I couldn’t help but feel proud to be an American.

A View of Ellis Island, July 4, 2011


About ksimonewilson

I'm looking forward to sharing my New York experiences that have been highlighted on television and in movies.

6 responses »

  1. The Love Boat was sweet show and always featured cameos by some of the best in hollywood !!!! 80’s ROCKED !!

  2. Rhonda Saitta says:

    Haven’t seen nor heard from you in forever. Can’t gather if you are living in New York or what. Really should give me a call. We need to talk. Glad you are loving life and all it brings. 636-256-3383

  3. Rhonda Saitta says:

    I will look forward to hearing from you.

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