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

  Lady Liberty
by Donna_in_India

A gift from the French people to the American people, the Statue of Liberty is a universal symbol of freedom. Work on the statue started in the early 1870's. Completion was stalled several times due to a lack of funds, but Lady Liberty was finally dedicated on October 28, 1886. Standing on Liberty Island in the middle of NY Harbor, she was a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad on their way to Ellis Island. Even today there is something about her that makes you feel proud and safe.

Although green in color, the statue is made of bronze. From the base of the pedestal to the tip of her torch, she is 305 feet tall. The statue itself is 111 feet tall and weighs a whopping 225 tons. The corroded original golden torch was replaced in 1986. The flame in the new torch is coated in 24k gold leaf. Over 350 steps lead from the entrance to her crown. The seven spikes of the crown represent the seven seas and the seven continents. I remember school field trips as a child up to her crown. Over the years access to the crown has been on and off. It is currently back on - but advance bookings must be made - as much as 6 months in advance. You need to be in good physical shape to make the climb but it is definitely worth it! You can also visit the pedestal - again advance bookings must be made.

You reach Liberty Island via ferry operated by Statue Cruises from either Battery Park - at the southernmost tip of Manhattan - or from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. The crowds are bigger - and the lines much longer - at Battery Park.

Liberty State Park itself is a really nice park overlooking lower Manhattan. The ticket building is the old Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal (CRRNJ). It, along with the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, played a major part in the immigration of Europeans into the U.S. Greeted by Lady Liberty, processed at Ellis Islands, immigrants boarded trains at the terminal to their new homes throughout the U.S.

Also at Liberty State Park is the Empty Sky 9/11 Memorial. The park was directly across from the World Trade Towers. Today two long walls flank a path that is center line of the former World Trade Center tower GPS coordinates. It is eerie to look down through the middle of the path and see - or not see - what was there.

It is more convenient for me to go to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island from Liberty State Park but if you have a choice, that would be mine.

After a security screening you board the ferry for the short ride to Liberty Island. Coming from NJ the route is Liberty State Park-Ellis Island-Statue of Liberty. From Manhattan it's Battery Park-Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island. (Once at Liberty Island you can hop on a ferry to Liberty Liberty State Park to see the Terminal/Memorial. You'll then need to get back to Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island to transfer back to Battery Park. Be sure to watch the ferry timings so you don't miss the last one back!)

There are plenty of opportunities on the ferry to photograph lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty as you get closer and closer to her. If you are visiting in the colder months, it will be cold and windy on deck - have a hat/scarf handy.

Once you arrive on the Island, head to the Visitor Information Center to pick up a guide and brochure. Audio guides are also available. If you don't have a booking for the pedestal or the crown, you'll walk around Liberty Island. The island is a total of 14 acres. You'll be able to admire the Statue of Liberty from all angles and take plenty of photos. There are coin operated binoculars pointing towards Manhattan and you'll have wonderful panoramic views of New York Harbor. There are plenty of green grassy areas (and benches) to take a break. There are some snack kiosks as well as a self-serve restaurant and two gift shops.

The Statue of Liberty is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as part of the U.S. National Park Service (be sure to get your NPS Passport book stamped in one of the gift shops).

Check the website for hours and reservation information. Hours are adjusted seasonally. The highest visitation occurs during the months of June through September and can be high during holiday and weekend periods throughout the year.

Address: Liberty Island, NY Harbor
Directions: Manhattan Ferry: Battery Park - Take the #5 train to Bowling Green or #1 to South Ferry
NJ Ferry: Jersey City, NJ

Phone: +1 212-363-3200
Website: http://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm

Review Helpfulness: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Jan 5, 2014
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