When Dennis Moore graduated from college in 1988, he was headed for a career in advertising. Nine months later, after a demoralizing, underpaid stint in a small agency, he decided he could do a lot better in the family business?Little Jimmy?s Italian Ices in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Today, Moore, 40, supervises the Little Jimmy?s factory and a subsidiary business, the concession stand at New Jersey?s Liberty State Park, where visitors embark for Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Here you can buy bronze scale models of the statue, Statue of Liberty crown-and-gown sets, drinks, and, of course, Italian ices.
After the World Trade Center attack, Liberty State Park became a staging area for aid efforts by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and a clearinghouse for information on the missing. ?FEMA sat right down on the premises of our business, and the ferries stopped running,? says Moore. ?It was surreal.? The aid efforts were vital, of course, but Moore?s livelihood took a major hit?and with post-9/11 jitters and the closing of the interior of the Statue of Liberty, attendance at Ellis Island in 2002 was still only about half what it was prior to the attack.
Still, the one-time adman is fighting back by maintaining a lively concession-stand Web site (www.statueofliberty.net) that not only displays souvenirs, but explains the history and lore of the statue. He?s hoping to inspire more people to visit. Lady Liberty, waiting on the day when the crowds return to look out on the great city?and country?through her eyes. U
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