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"Statue of Liberty" Statue of Liberty - Ellis Island Tip by Blatherwick

  Statue of Liberty
by Blatherwick

Lady Liberty represents not only the city of New York, but the entire of the United States. It is a welcome to all returning Americans, visitors, and immigrants alike. The copper statue of the was a present by France, as a centennial gift to the U.S. and a sign of friendship between the two nations. French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design the statue. Bartholdi had an authentic American model in the recently widowed Isabella Eugenie Boyer, the wife of Isaac Singer, the sewing-machine industrialist. Gustave Eiffel was commissioned to design the massive iron pylon and secondary skeletal framework which allows the Statue's copper skin to move independently yet stand upright. General William Tecumseh Sherman picked the location on what was then known as Bedloe's Island, where there was already an early 19th-century star-shaped fortification.The pedestal was constructed by the United States. The Statue was completed in France in July, 1884 and arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885 on board the French frigate Isere.

The statue does inspire a sense that you are arriving to a new land. Lady Liberty holds a torch in her right hand and a tablet in her left. The tablet shows the caption "JULY IV MDCCLXXVI", the date of the Declaration of Independence. One of her feet stands on chains. The seven spikes in her crown represent the seven seas or seven continents.

The Emma Lazarus poem "The New Colossus" was written for the statue, and engraved on a bronze plaque in 1903, 20 years after it was written. The plaque is located on a wall of the museum, which is in the base of the Statue. (It has never been engraved on the monument itself). In its famous culminating lines, Liberty says

"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Address: Liberty Island in New York Harbor
Directions: South Ferry at Battery Park - Take the #5 train to Bowling Green or #1 to South Ferry
Phone: 212-363-3200

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  • Updated Sep 21, 2005
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