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The Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty Review
For millions of immigrants, the first glimpse of America was the Statue of Liberty, growing from a vaguely defined figure on the horizon into a towering, stately colossus. Visitors approaching Liberty Island on the ferry from Battery Park may experience a similar sense of wonder as they approach.
Liberty Enlightening the World, as the statue is officially named, was presented to the United States in 1886 as a gift from France. The 152-foot-tall figure was sculpted by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi and erected around an iron skeleton engineered by Gustav Eiffel. It stands atop an 89-foot pedestal designed by Richard Morris Hunt, with Emma Lazarus's sonnet "The New Colossus" ("Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses") inscribed on a bronze plaque at the base. Over the course of time the statue has become precisely what its creators dreamed it would be: the single-most powerful symbol of American ideals and, as such, one of the world's great monumental sculptures. Inside the statue's pedestal is a museum that's everything it should be: informative, entertaining, and quickly viewed. Highlights include the original flame (which was replaced because of water damage), full-scale replicas of Lady Liberty's face and one of her feet, Bartholdi's alternative designs for the statue, and a model of Eiffel's intricate framework. You're allowed access to the museum only as part of one of the free tours of the promenade (which surrounds the base of the pedestal) or the observatory (at the pedestal's top).
There is no admission fee for either the Statue of Liberty or Ellis Island, but the ferry ride (which goes round trip from Battery Park to Liberty Island to Ellis Island) costs $17. Ferries leave from Battery Park every 30 to 40 minutes depending on the time of year (buy your tickets online at www.statuecruises.com). There are often long lines, so arrive early, especially if you have a reserved-time ticket. There is a pleasant indoor/outdoor café on Liberty Island.
- Address: Liberty Island, Suite 210 New York Harbor, New York, NY 10004 | Map It
- Phone: 212/363–3200; 877/523–9849 ticket reservations
- Cost: Free; ferry $13 round-trip (includes Ellis Island), $21 with audio guide, crown tickets $3
- Hours: Daily 9:30–5; last ferry at 3:30, extended hrs in summer
- Website: www.statueofliberty.org
- Location: New York Harbor
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