Talking Street's latest celeb-narrated audio tour has arrived just in time for the Fourth of July. Staten Island Ferry: Bridging the World's Harbor is narrated by actor Paul Sorvino and features, among comments on other New York City sights, a lovely tribute to the Statue of Liberty. The 16-track tour, which includes colorful three-minute musings on everything from Cornelius Vanderbilt to the nature of New York Harbor, is lively, informative, and at times disarmingly poetic. It works like a museum audio tour.
Accessing the tour is pretty easy, and you can use your handheld audio device of choice--cell phone, iPod, or MP3 player. Either call 718/297-8687 or download the tour online at talkingstreet.com. Talking Street, whose other tours include The Lower East Side: Birthplace of Dreams, narrated by actor-comedian Jerry Stiller and Boston: City of Rebels and Dreamers, narrated by Aerosmith's lead singer Steven Tyler, gives free previews at the same telephone number, but you'll have to pay $5.95 for the full tour.
Maybe we're just feeling extra patriotic this time of year but it was the Lady Liberty segment that moved us most. We learned that the 22-story sculpture operated first as an official city lighthouse--the shining torch literally lighting the way for others into New York Harbor; that the seven points on the crown represent the seven continents and oceans; and that most every immigrant-carrying ship headed Ellis Island would tip dramatically to one side as sobbing passengers rushed to get a glimpse of the iconic statue and savor their first real taste of freedom. It's the stuff American history is made of.