One of the icons in New York, the entire United States and perhaps the whole world, I always thought that the Statue was nothing more than another one of those great American marketing products and that probably was not so much. I admit that I was wrong, it is a much more impressive attraction than you may think and it certainly deserves a visit if you are in the city.
A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY
Its full name is “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World.” Liberty, as it is known there, was a gift, and what a gift, from France to the United States to commemorate 100 years of independence of the country, being inaugurated in October 1886 (10 years later than expected). It had to be transported in pieces to its current location, Liberty Island, little more than an islet 3 kilometers southwest of Manhattan, and much closer (just 600 meters away) to New Jersey, which based on this for years on a judicially unsuccesful disputed custody of the monument.
It is the work of architect Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, being the internal structure designed by engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the same as Eiffel Tower in Paris. In 1924 it was declared a national monument and in 1984 it was included in UNESCO’s heritage.
In 2019 a museum on the Statue on the Island of Liberty itself is planned to open, which is currently under construction.
- It measures 46 meters, but is located on a pedestal also 47 meters high.
- The internal structure is made of steel (originally iron).
- Except for the gold blades on the flames in the torch, all the outside are copper sheets only 2.4 mm thick, so its original color was not the green that it looks today, but brown, as we know copper. The oxidation process by staying out and the effect of rain are responsible for changing the color.
- It weighs 156 tons without counting the pedestal or foundations.
SHCEDULES AND PRICES
- Open daily except on December 25.
- There is a ferry every 30 minutes.
- The first one leaves at 8:30 a.m. from Battery Park, at the southern end of Downtown, and the last one:
- From June to August: at 5 pm. From Liberty Island the last one is at 6:45 pm.
- From September to May: at 3:30 p.m. From the island at 5 pm. (In September it is frequent to be open until 4 pm).
- There is also a ferry from New Jersey, from Liberty State Park, with last departure at 3:30 pm and last return at 5 pm. You can go from New Jersey and return to Manhattan and vice versa.
- Statue (with or without climbing the pedestal) and Ellis Island Immigration Museum: $ 18.5.
- Also going up to the crown: $ 21.5.
You can buy them:
- To authorized sellers that swarm near the great attractions in the city (beware of fake sellers, do not buy it if you have the slightest doubt). Tickets are sold with date and time and usually offer discounts if you buy tickets to several attractions. About this, we have an unpleasant anecdote. We bought tickets to the Empire State Building and the Statue combined, but the seller made a mistake and gave us a cruise on Hudson instead of the visit to the Statue. Our fault was not to notice until the next day when we arrived at the entrance. We went to the company’s office in Chelsea, we filed a claim and a month later a check arrived to my place by mail for the amount of the cruise. The problem is that the commission for collecting a foreign check in Spain was greater than the amount of the cruise, so it was for nothing, we lost the refund. So, if you have to get a refund, do not ever accept it by check.
- At the ticket office, located in Battery Park at Clinton Castle, an old round military fort from 1811. It does not sell tickets with an assigned time, so in high season we might have to wait up to an hour to get on the ferry.
- The most recommended, on the official Statue Cruises website. Buying them in any other website will suppose a surcharge.
You have to pass a comprehensive security check, which can include a full body scan, so it’s best to keep in mind the time lost if there are a lot of people waiting.
To go up:
- On pedestal: no extra charge, but there is a limited number of visitors per day. Normally, all those who book at least 24 hours in advance may go up if they wish. Those who buy the ticket on the spot, can only go up if there is availability, so it is recommended to go first time in the morning. The second time we went, as we had been sold the wrong ticket, we had to buy them right there, and at 10 am there were no tickets left for the pedestal. On the other hand, in my opinion, it’s not such a good deal.
- The crown: the number is very limited, you have to book online in advance, usually up to 6 months.
- You can’t go to the torch since 1916.
PLACES TO PHOTOGRAPH THE STATUE
Apart from Liberty Island itself, several sites in New York offer excellent views.