New York City Guide

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Statue of Liberty

Liberty Enlightening the World, known more commonly as the Statue of Liberty, is located on Liberty Island in New York Harbour. It can be reached via Circle Line ferries, which leave from Battery Park in Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey, and operate 7 days a week. The statue was a gift from the people of France, to the people of the United States, as a symbol of international friendship. It has become one of the symbols of political freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886 and was designated a National Monument on October 15, 1924. The Statue was restored in time for her spectacular centennial on July 4, 1986.

Statue of Liberty 1Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design a sculpture  to commemorate the centennial of the American Declaration of Independence. The Statue was a joint effort between America and France and it was agreed that the American people were to build the pedestal, and the French people were responsible for the Statue and its assembly in the United States. Alexandre Gustave Eiffel (designer of the Eiffel Tower) was commissioned to design the massive iron pylon and secondary skeletal framework which allows the Statue's copper skin to move independently yet stand upright.

Statue of Liberty 2There are 25 windows in the crown which symbolize 25 gemstones found on the earth. The seven rays of the Statue's crown represent the seven seas and continents of the world. The tablet which the Statue holds in her left hand reads (in Roman numerals) "July 4th, 1776." A smaller-scale copy of the Statue of Liberty is found in Paris, France, where it stands near the Grenelle Bridge on the Île des Cygnes, an island in the river Seine. It looks towards the Atlantic Ocean and hence towards its "larger sister" in New York Harbour.

Visitors are now able to view inside the Statue through a glass ceiling, and guided by a park ranger. There is also enhanced lighting, and a new video system. In addition, visitors can walk out onto the Statue’s observation deck to see the panoramic views of New York City and the Harbour, and to observe the Statue up close from her promenade. The Statue's crown is no longer accessible to the public, and the torch has been officially closed since July 1916.

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 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 breath free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Emma Lazarus (1849-1887)

A bronze plaque containing the poem was presented in 1903, twenty years after it was written. Originally displayed on the interior wall of the Statue of Liberty's pedestal, it was placed in the Liberty exhibit in the base of the monument in July, 1986.

Statue of Liberty 3 Statue of Liberty 4