I Couldn’t Believe My Eyes

Szonja Lengyel

I turned fifteen today and decided to hold a party. I got lots of gifts from my friends and, to my surprise. I got sunglasses, a suitcase, a camera that’s often used by tourists and a set with a travel blanket and pillow. I was confused and didn’t understand why I got any of these items. I loved to travel but my family wasn’t planning on going anywhere right now. Or so I thought. It turned out that the biggest gift that my parents gave me was a plane ticket to New York.

The Big Apple had been on my bucket list since I was a small child. After the party my mother told me to start packing, as the plane would be leaving the next morning at 9 a.m. I couldn’t sleep all night because I was extremely excited. My alarm clock went off at 5 a.m., I got ready and stormed down to the kitchen to eat something before we left. I prepared everything the night before, so my only job was to check everything before we went out the door. Even though I didn’t feel tired, I slept through the long flight. After we arrived at the hotel and checked into our room, we decided to relax a little and plan what we were going to do the next day. A few days passed by and we visited lots of places, for example Times Square, some fascinating museums such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art and and American Museum of Natural History, as well as other exciting places, like the Empire State Building and Madame Tussauds. On day three we decided to stop by the Statue of Liberty. I walked around to take some pictures of the statue and the city view from the island, while my parents climbed to the café at the top of the statue. When I finished taking pictures I decided to head inside and use the lift so I would save some time, but as the lift started moving it went down instead of up. I got confused and scared, not knowing what was going on. A few minutes later the lift stopped and the door opened. I carefully stepped out and saw a huge room. The air was damp and cold, I could barely see anything.I got my phone out of my pocket and turned on the flashlight. I was shocked to see lots of tables with things on them. I couldn’t see the things because every single one of them was covered with a huge white textile. I was curious so I walked over to the closest one and took the blanket off. It was a small replica of an island with a building on it. I read the note attached to the mock-up: “Ellis Island, New York State.” I looked closer and saw tiny little people dressed up in 1920s-style clothing. They were moving….. They were living. I couldn’t believe my eyes.The building on Ellis Island Served as the main immigration processing center and hospital from 1892 to 1954. I walked to a different table and pulled the textile down. This one said “George Eastman House and the International Museum of Photography and Film, Rochester, New York State.”  I saw tiny people taking photographs of the newly built wonderful building. I walked to another table and saw Niagara Falls. Tiny people were present in this replica as well. I had so many questions at that point. “Why are all of these mock-ups here?” “Who are these tiny people?” “What are they using these small structures for?” But I knew one thing, which is that I was not supposed to see this. I quickly took some pictures with my camera and put everything back the way I found it.

I heard footsteps and talking echoing from the other side of the room, so I quickly got into the lift and went up to the Crown Café. I ordered a sandwich and a hot tea and sat down with my parents. I kept thinking about the things I had seen under the statue. But I knew one thing; I am definitely going back there to investigate.