The Statue of Liberty is at once quintessentially New York while at the same time a potent symbol of American freedom. It’s placement on Liberty Island in New York’s harbor makes manifest NYC’s status as the doorway to the rest of the country, the place where people come from all over the world to make a new life in a land of freedom.
And as a gift of France it is also a ‘hands across the ocean’ acknowledgement that France and the USA together have dedicated themselves to the principles of liberty, equality and freedom. Both the USA and the French contributed to the eventual erection of Lady Liberty. The French supplied the sculptor, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and the engineer Gustave Eiffel and paid for the creation of the statue and Americans paid for the pedestal and the base of the statue, mainly through a big funding drive whipped up by Joseph Pulitzer of the New York World. People all voer the nation donated small amounts of money which eventually added up to what was needed.
Originally dedicated in 1886 the statue has needed major renovation along the way and its history since the year 2000 has been one of being opened and closed numerous times. Firstly because of the 9/11 attacks, then a need for repairs and finally the impact of Hurrican Sandy. Currently the Statue is open however its importance is so great that extreme care is taken to preseve not just the statue itself but also its base and surrounding buildings.
Many really want a close up view of the statue and to give their children the opportunity to measure themselves against parts of the statue like Liberty’s nose,( the museum is set up to allow this). But there is also a strong argument for just seeing the statue as so many millions have, from the harbor. Standing 305 Ft high, the height of the base, pedestal and the statue combined, it is a rivetting sight.
Liberty island on which the statue stands is close to Ellis island, both of which were ceded to the Federal Government in 1800. They are both part of the borough of Manhattan but the land and statue is maintained by the National Parks Service.
There is no charge for admission to this National Monument but visitors must pay for the Ferry service thattakes them there. Private boats are not allowed to dock on the island. The ferry service leaves from both Liberty State Park in New Jersey and Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and delivers people to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
However it is a real stretch for people to visit both in one day unless they get the very first ferry of the day. Ellis Island requires at least 4 hrs for a visit that skims along the surface of what is there to see. Factor in leaving at different times of the day, queues and meals and seeing both in one day is very rushed and stressful.
All ferry apssengers go through airport level security checks. There is an extra complimentary ticket required to enter the base and the pedestal. If you wish to climb the staircase within the statue to the crown you must purchase a ticket and there can be a wait up to several months. Purchase online if you wish to do this. Only 240 poeple a day can do it, in 3 groups of 10 per hour. Climbers may only carry cameras and medecine and there is an additional security check before you set out. It is an awe inspiring whether you see the statue close up or from the harbor.