Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a gigantic neoclassical sculpture that welcomed immigrants to the New York harbour, and is symbolic for the populating of the United States in the second half of the 19th century.
It was a gift from France on the centenary of American independence in 1886. The piece was constructed in the studios of Bartholdi, Paris (a symbolic conception in Europe). Gustave Eiffel constructed its metallic skeleton. In 1886 it was officially inaugurated.
Between 1840 and 1880, over 9 million foreigners had landed in the United States.
Map of Statue of LibertyLoad map
I went to the Statue of Liberty in November of 2022, the covid restrictions were mostly lifted and the statue of liberty cruises that got us to the island were packed and rocky, people piled on in hoards and they packed the boats full of people. Some people in line and I joked they were giving us the real experience. The statue of liberty was extremely impressive, the size and immensity of it were not understated and it's a beautiful statue. I plan on going to NYC again and will probably do a crown tour when I do so (this requires months of advance in registering) otherwise I don't plan on returning. I felt that I got everything out of the experience I could the first time.
The Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable World Heritage Sites in the world, and the only World Heritage Site I have ever seen someone emulate in costume (whether in Times Square or on US street corners in spring hawking tax preparation services). I've often seen the statue in New York harbor passing by or through New York City, but the only time I visited the statue was on Leap Day 2008. It's hard to appreciate the size of the statue until actually visiting Liberty Island and walking around the base. I didn't have tickets to climb the statue, but I did get a ticket for the pedestal and the museum inside, which I enjoyed (the old museum has since been replaced by a new one that opened in May this year). The statue itself was worth visiting for what it has meant to people throughout its history, and how people still view it, to include:
1) A symbol of liberty, of freedom for all men -- an unalienable right America's founders recognized in the Declaration of Independence, even as the country still strives to reach the ideal that "all men are created equal".
2) A symbol of immigration and the American dream, as the statue was part of the first view of the United States for thousands of immigrants arriving by boat, seeking a better life for them and their children. This hope has been immortalized in Emma Lazarus' poem The New Colossus, which Kyle has included in his review.
3) A symbol of the friendship between the US and France, America's first ally in its fight for independence from colonialism.
As Americans have debated what type of nation they are over the past several years, I would hope the Statue of Liberty reminds the US that it a nation built on hope, not fear.
Logistics: The Statue of Liberty can only be reached by boat; tickets for boat access to Liberty Island and for access to the pedestal and crown can be purchased online or at the official vendors in Battery Park in New York or Liberty State Park in New Jersey (tickets should be considered in advance, particularly for the crown). Like others, I highly recommend a visit to nearby Ellis Island, with its excellent exhibitions on immigration.
I visited the Lady in October 2016 with my New York resident friend Jeffrey. Our tickets allowed us – after two security screenings – to visit the ‘pedestal’, which is surprisingly high up, making for a decent cityscape of the skyscrapers of Manhattan.
I’d like to have visited the crown, but it sells out months in advance. Prior to 1916 the public was actually allowed up to the small balcony that surrounds the torch itself. The original glass torch is now housed at ground level in the pedestal, having been replaced with a more weather-resistant gold-plated torch in the 1980s.
One of the more interesting exhibits in the Statue's museum is a collection of retaining steel brackets, every one of them custom-made to fit the contours of the statue and hold it in place.
Read more from Tom Livesey here.
Maybe because this is one of the most iconic sites of the world and probably one of the most recognizable images of USA, its pictures and stories are almost compulsory when talking about this country, something you already knew and familiar, so visiting Statue of Liberty, in my idea, was just come to see the real Lady Liberty and that’s all with no high expectation. However, the first time I saw her when I walked along riverside walkways in west side Lower Manhattan, I was very surprised to find out that the statue, even from the far, was bigger than my original thought, truly colossus, and really excited my idea to visit the place.
One year later, I revisited New York again, and Liberty Island was one of the first things I put in the plan. On foggy Tuesday late morning, the day I thought to be less touristy, but turned out to be untrue, I was one of thousands queuing for security checking and waiting for ferry at Clinton Fort in Battery Park. The ferry was indeed quite big but with the amount of tourists, no space left. When Ferry almost reached the island, the view of Statue of Liberty was indeed really impressive. There also an announcement about stories of immigrants when they arrived in New York and saw the statue and Lower Manhattan skyline for the first time, an unexplainable feeling for them. I noticed that many people in the ferry started to tell stories of their ancestors to their accompanied friend and family, and I started to appreciate the site’s OUV.
On the island, every corner had tourists. Luckily that I booked a pedestal access, no chance for crown access as it was fully booked for many months, which allowed me to see inside the pedestal and Lady Liberty. After passed another security checking, I entered the pedestal, the first thing I found in the lobby room was the original torch of the statue, it was quite interesting that certain period of its history, the statue acted like a light house, and the light from the torch could be seen at least 25 miles. Then I chose to use ladder to upstairs instead of elevator since there was a long queue, a really bad decision! At the end of climbing was the small room that allowing to see the inner structure of Lady Liberty thru small glass ceiling, a very complex steel frame with copper tin, a nice thing to see but not a great sight. The best thing about pedestal access was the chance to walk around the star shaped pedestal base, here you can see the statue closely with almost no people, a nicer chance to take photo of yourself with no other tourists, a huge contrast with chaotic below! So if you want to appreciate and admire the statue, booking for pedestal or crown access is the must.
After Liberty Island, the ferry took me to Ellis Island, a former immigration depot which was equally interesting but in the different sense from Statue of Liberty. After leisurely walked around I took a ferry back to Manhattan ending my trip. I was really pleased that Statue of Liberty was exceeding my expectation, the site was really nice, especially after I could escape all the chaotic below to pedestal base. The statue was beautiful, full with meanings and lovely surroundings. Visiting New York’s Statue of Liberty also completed my dream to see the trio of Statue of Liberty in Paris, Tokyo and New York, the three statues in different continents that uniquely link by French diplomatic friendship. All in all Statue of Liberty is indeed a nice World Heritage Site, and a must see of world travellers.
Stunning, but after a whole lot of pictures in a circular 360 degree pattern one wants to learn and experience more. This is especially true after the double security, both pre-boarding and at Liberty Island itself.
Make sure to pre-book ($18) and it is essential to choose the pedestal ticket. This is where the visitor can experience more of the artistry and story behind this iconic monument. The views of Lower Manhattan are excellent and a stop at Ellis Island is certainly worth your time.
I think the National Park Service has included two important elements to the visitor experience, which would be lacking with only a circular stroll of Lady Liberty.
1) The informative and excellent exhibit located within the Pedestal
2) Connecting Ellis Island with your ticket
Lastly, here is the poem that truly summarizes the uniqueness and meaning of the Statue of Liberty.
The New Colossus
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "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!"
Read more from Kyle Magnuson here.
I visited this WHS by boat from Manhattan and after visiting Staten island. It is really huge and still one of the biggest presents in the world. I saw 2 replicas of the Statue too: one in Paris close to the Eiffel Tower and one in Tokyo just after the Ueno Bridge.
As far as national icons go, Frédéric Bartholdi’s Liberty Enlightening the World is the ultimate. It is a symbol of what this nation is supposed to stand for, for the nation in general and for New York City in particular, Uncle Sam is as fictional as Santa Claus, Mom is mad at you half the time, apple pie is overrated, and the flag is everywhere, but Lady Liberty is different. The UN has declared her a World Heritage Site.
She’s in one place, and as the genuine article, just has to be experienced in person. However…
There are a number of things that have to be seen properly at a distance, and this is one of them. For one thing, it costs $12/person MINIMUM to get o Liberty Island. For that you get to see the statue’s butt from a distance. They started letting people in for the climb to the top a few months back, but in order to do that, you have to make reservations well in advance (go here), or get to the ticket office in Castle Clinton (itself a National Monument), by at least eight in the morning. Just going on a whim is a waste of time. Generally, the ferries goes there and Ellis Island, and starting around noon, there’s not enough time to see both it and Ellis Island (which IS worth going to), and so if you’re in the Battery in the afternoon, or New Jersey’s Liberty State Park, where the other ferry docks, don’t bother getting on.
But as was said before, this is a mandatory tourist trap, and visiting New York without seeing the thing head on is something you would regret. So what to do?
There are two options that are totally free of charge:
1) The Staten Island Ferry
2) Governor’s Island.
The Staten Island Ferry is a no-brainer. Millions of tourists make the ride every week and never leave the St. George Terminal. The view of the statue is excellent and you get to see it twice. True, the snacks are expensive, but you can get them elsewhere much cheaper.
However, if you’re in town over the weekend, Governor’s Island is a much better option. While only open Friday through Sunday until October 10th (unless you make a reservation for the Wednesday or Thursday tours), you can get the FREE ferry to what was until recently a military base, and walk over to what happens to be a perfect spot to view Lady Liberty, sit down on that convenient park bench and take her in for as long as you want. After that, you can take a tour of the two forts or participate in one of the many artistic endeavors that various groups have planned in order to make Governor’s Island the great American Hangout.
As to souvenirs, you can get Statue of Liberty tchotchkies just about anywhere, and, and they’re generally less expensive.
If you don’t live here in New York, then it may actually be worth it to go to the website and see if you can get a “crown ticket.” There’s a better than even chance you won’t get it, but that’s the only reason to actually get to the island.
This is one of the most identifiable entries on the whole list. It is a great feat of engineering which is inextricably linked with a political philosophy, representing a significant change in human migration.
In June 2009 I revisited the Statue of Liberty some 12 years after my first visit, on my initial trip I got onto Liberty Island and into the base of the statue. The main impression I can remember was that the statue was large and the queues were long. My second trip enabled me to confirm these initial thoughts. There were incredibly long queues to get out to the island, as such I used the free Staten Island Ferry to get a closer view of the statue and found this a good compliment to my earlier trip. If I was visiting for the first time I would be tempted to join the long lines and security screenings to get closer to the island, but as I had already seen it up close I was happy to sail by with a large number of commuters into Manhattan.
This is one of the most overtly political inscriptions on the list; I wonder if other particularly ideologically charged monuments would get onto the list? However migration to the United States in the first 150/200 years of its existence was one of the greatest unforced (mostly) movements of people in human history and as such is a worthy event for such a renowned monument.
I really enjoyed New York; it certainly has a real buzz about it. Despite the huge buildings it feels distinctly human, partly because it is surprisingly grubby in places (and that isn't a criticism). Many major western cities, especially some of the American cities I have visited, really lack an atmosphere as the wide roads and tall buildings remove the human scale of the city. New York doesn't suffer from this, and I found it a really rewarding city to visit, and the Statue of Liberty was one of the highlights for me.
Since 9/11/2001 the stairway to the crown that winds around the inside of the statue has been closed for "security reasons." Climbing that stairway, not only for the chance to see the internal structure of the statue but also the view from the crown was the real draw of a visit, as a kid I loved it, and I don't think the long lines and the cost of getting to the island are worth it without that opportunity. Go to Ellis Island instead. Some local members of Congress are pushing to get access to the crown restored but it doesn't seem like it will happen soon. I would agree with other posters--take the Staten Island ferry (free!)for stupendous views of the statue and lower Manhattan.
I visited here with my Father about a year before 9/11. The Statue of Liberty is certainly impresive, and I keep meaning to visit the prototype in Paris.
However Liberty Island seemed to be in danger of sinking under the wieght of the tourists upon it so we didn't get off and went onto Ellis Island.
The Statue is of course iconic because it was famously the first thing migrants saw on arrival in the USA, they then went on Ellis Island to be processed - Today Ellis is an emotive museum of imigration, and perhaps given the role it played in American and indeed world's history this site should be extended to become 'Liberty & Ellis Islands.'
Tip though if your short of cash, don't take the boat to Liberty Island but go on the Staten Island ferry which is free, and gives good views of both Manhatten and the Statue.
I visited the Statue of Liberty on a rainy Monday morning. It is best to go early to escape the long lines in the afternoon. In order to vist the statue, one must buy a ferry ticket that also stops at Ellis Island. I was unable to visit the interior of the Statue of Liberty (reservations are needed in advance) but the exterior was interesting enough. It is definitely worth a visit and it is a must-see if you are in the area.
This, in my opinion, feels more like a must see when you are in New York City than a place really woth visting. When I was here in July the queues was awfully long just to get on the boats out here and of course even worse to get inside the statue. The lady is impressive but there are so much more intersting places to visit in this city, I wonder why Manhattan's skyscrapers isn't on the list. The boats also stops at the immigration museum on Ellis Island, which in my opinion is much more interesting.
Emilia Bautista King
New York City is my favorite city in the world and I go for a visit at least once a year. I've done the ferry ride to the Statue of Liberty twice and it is really exhilirating to see her up close, especially when you are on the ferry with non-American tourists. The last time I went I took friends of mine from Australia and they were so thrilled.
The Statue of Liberty is my favorite man-made monument in the world. It represented freedom to so many European immigrants when the arrived by ship into New York harbor
in the early 20th century. It is the perfect monument
for America. A country that embraces freedom and liberty.
Having been born and raised in the NY Metro area, and the son of Italian immigrants, the Statue of Liberty has a certain familiarity to me even though I've never actually climbed it. Still, one can only imagine the excitement this monument generated as waves upon waves of immigrants began their quest for the elusive 'American Dream' in the New World in which she greeted them.
Since the teroist attack if you want to enter the Statue of Liberty you have to call and reserve your tickts two days in advance. Though you do get a great view of New York Harbor at the to at the crown. Also with the ferry tickit it comes with Ellis Island go there to.
If this is not the most famous statue in the world, then I don't know what is (OK, maybe Michelangelo's David comes close - on a different scale, though). Everybody has seen this image many times, but actually seeing it with your own eyes is fascinating. The best experience is not the statue itself, but seeing it from up close from a ferry. I was too lazy to climb to the top, and I'm not sure if it's allowed now (certainly no elevator). The ferry does a triangle ride (Manhattan - Liberty Island - Ellis Island - Manhattan), and you should get off at Ellis Island as well, since this is really hands-on history in a very fascinating museum. I don't think the stories behind the endless immigration to America could be better presented, and maybe you'll find, as I did, that relatives you hadn't even heard of, came to the US about a century ago. I don't think Ellis Island is part of the WH site, though.
Probablly one of the most familiar World Heritage Sites anywhere (for better of for worse!). I didnt realize it belong to the list till three years after I've visited it!
For all her fame, I liked the view of Manhattan and Ellis Island better. It's just me of course.
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