One of the greatest references of New York is the Statue of Liberty, a gift that France made to the United States in 1886, which, to date, is an emblematic monument of the country. When you think about the United States, the first thing that comes to mind is this immense monument that has become one of the most popular tourist destinations for locals and visitors. In fact, if you take a NYC night tour, visiting or seeing the Statue of Liberty is a requirement, whether you enter it or simply appreciate it from a distance.
In order to satisfy your curiosity and encourage you to visit this wonderful monument, below we will tell you everything you need to know about it.
Pack a suitcase, put on comfortable clothes and join us on this tour!
FIRST A BIT OF THE HISTORY OF THE STATUE OF LIBERTY
As we mentioned a while ago, the monument was a gift from France to emphasize its friendship with the United States in addition to celebrating 100 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
The idea was born in 1875 by the French sculptor Frédéric Gustave Bartholdi who, with the support of the historian Edouard Laboulaye, decided to create the sculpture and have it ready just before the 100th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. To manufacture the structure he had the support of Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, who years later built the Eiffel Tower.
Despite the fact that the piece or art was a gift from France, the money that had been raised for the construction of the statue was not enough to build the pedestal, therefore the cost of the sculpture was assumed 100% by France while the United States Unidos took care of the complete logistics. To manage the transport, installation and build the pedestal, it was Joseph Pulitzer, editor of the New York World newspaper, who was in charge of raising the rest of money needed by requesting donations; those who donated were publicly thanked in his newspaper.
In 1924 the Statue of Liberty was declared a National Monument of the United States and in 1984 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, reason enough to keep the structure up to date.
THERE ARE 2 OTHER STATUES OF LIBERTY
On the occasion of the celebration of 200 years of France, the United States gave them a scale replica of the Statue of Liberty, this is located in Paris on the side of the Seine River, on the Pont de Grenelle. This piece maintains the exact design of the original but it measures 11.5 meters in height, is made of bronze and its position looks directly at its replica in NYC. All the attention is taken by the Eiffel Tower, however this work of art continues to commemorate the union between the USA and France.
On the other hand, also in Paris, in the Luxembourg Gardens there is another replica located in the extreme southwest; in this case it is the first scale model manufactured in 1870.
LOCATION OF THE STATUE
At first there was the idea that the most suitable location to install the statue was Central Park, however, in 1871, Bartholdi visited New York and while touring the city he found the perfect place to accommodate the artistic piece, Bedloe’s Island (today known as Liberty Island). Which is located in the upper part of NYC near the port, 2.6 km from the south of Manhattan, so it would be the first thing that the crew of all the arriving ships would see .
Initially, the work was called “Freedom Enlightening the World”, since being located right at the entrance of the port, the torch served as a lighthouse until 1920, welcoming hundreds of European immigrants. It was regulated by the US Lighthouse board and its light could cover a distance of up to 39 kilometers, making it necessary to install an electric generator to supply power to the entire structure. Over the years, thanks to its symbolism, it began to be recognized as the “Statue of Liberty”, a name maintained to date.
It is worth mentioning that her location and position was not given at random since, in addition to symbolizing freedom, the woman stares in the direction of France, emphasizing the brotherhood with the United States.
THE STATUE OF LIBERTY SYMBOLISM
- It is 305 feet tall, including its pedestal, making it the largest statue in the world.
- In her left hand she raises a torch that illuminates the world and symbolizes freedom. Since 1986, after its restoration, it was covered with 24K gold sheets to make it shine permanently. The original torch is kept in the museum.
- In her right hand she holds the “boards” signed during the Declaration of Independence, in which says July IV MDCCLXXVI (July 4, 1776), the date on which the declaration was signed.
- The crown has 7 points that represent the continents and the 7 seas.
- With her left foot she is undoing some chains that symbolize the end of oppression.
- Her posture indicates that she is taking a step forward, moving into the future, and taking a step toward freedom.
- The crown has 25 windows that represent the gems found on Earth.
- There are those who claim that the crown is similar to the one of Helios, personification of the Sun in Greek mythology.
- At the end of the 19th century, millions of European immigrants arrived in the United States and the one who welcomed them was Miss Liberty. That is why she became the symbol of immigrants and empowers the ideals of freedom, slavery abolition, democracy, peace and support to human rights.
- The Statue of Liberty was made of copper, so during the first years it kept a reddish tone, however due to the passage of time and the effects of the weather it took on a greenish tone produced by the natural oxidation of copper (patina), which is the one we see today, this tone has become part of her identity.
MANUFACTURE OF THE STATUE
The works of classical culture were a source of inspiration for the artist and that is the main reason why the piece has a woman’s body, however the face, although there are several theories about it, is said to be the graphic representation of Chaarlotte Bartholdi, the artist’s mother.
Bartholdi was in a dilemma to find the perfect material to build the statue, since it had to be light to be transported but also had to be weather-resistant. He found inspiration in the Colossus of Rhodes , a hollow statue made of bronze, only in this case the sculptor chose to use 2 millimeter thick copper sheets.
Initially, the statue was manufactured in 3-meter pieces that were extended until reaching 11 meters, creating a sectioned sculpture but internally supported with a central support structure made of iron by Gustave Eiffel. Finally the Statue of Liberty is 46 meters high and weighs 225 tons.
The statue arrived in the United States on July 4, 1884, but had to be kept packed for 15 months while the construction of the 45.7-meter-high pedestal was finished, once it was ready, the assembly of the work began in sections – of bottom up – without using external scaffolding. It was on October 28, 1886, that the flame of freedom was finally lit in New York City.
SEVERAL RESTORATIONS HAVE BEEN MADE
- In 1916 they made a change in the torch, initially it was made of copper but they decided to replace it with 600 yellow glasses to enhance the light. This project was in charge of Gutzon Borglum, the same sculptor from Mount Rushmore. On July 30 of the same year, the Black Tom Explosion was carried out, an act of sabotage at the hands of German agents that led to the closure of the entry of people to the torch.
- In 1937, they replaced part of the stairs on the statue’s pedestal, reinforced pieces of the support that were rusted, and rebuilt the crown frames.
- In 1980 they checked the state of the monument and noticed that it had a high level of wear and corrosion, forcing a total restoration process to be carried out. In this event, the torch was replaced by gold sheets and the internal and external supports were reinforced, making a reopening on July 3, 1986.
- On different occasions the lighting system has been updated, in 1916 the statue had 246 light projectors. To illuminate the base of the monument and other points of the island 250 W lamps were used, while in the torch 500 W lamps were used. Between 1931 and 1945 they intensified the light inside the statue, eliminating shadows and giving an effect of greater amplitude.
THIS YOU SHOULD KEEP IN MIND TO VISIT THE STATUE OF LIBERTY
If after taking a New York City tour at night you want to visit the Statue of Liberty, we inform you that you can go up to its crown. However, to achieve this it is important that you make a reservation months in advance to guarantee a place, otherwise it will be impossible to find available tickets.
It is literally on an island, therefore to get there you must take a ferry that leaves from Battery Park, but pay attention when taking the ferry since there are some going to Liberty Island and others towards Staten Island, back you can take any that goes to Manhattan.
Before boarding you will go through a first security check and then another when entering the monument. Keep in mind that you cannot enter with suitcases, large bags or baby carriages, so you must leave them at the entrance lockers and pay for their care. These security protocols were increased after the 9-11 attack.
To get to the crown of the statue you must queue for 2 to 3 hours, but you must be within the first 240 people in line to get a place – unless you have a reservation. Then, you must climb 22 floors (354 steps) to reach your destination. Not recommended for people with health problems.
If you want to appreciate an excellent view, you can get to the pedestal that has an observation platform, from there you will have an excellent panoramic view of New York Harbor. To get to this point you can use the elevator or you can also go up the staircase (192 steps), from there another spiral staircase begins and it leads to the observation platform at the crown of the statue.
In case you are just passing through, or you are doing a quick tour of New York, you can enter the museum that is located on the pedestal of the statue, there you will learn a little about the history and construction of this majestic work.
Another option to avoid crowds and long waits is to see it up close but without reaching the island. If you are aware of the costs, the lack of reservations and the delays to enter, you can take a FREE ferry to Staten Island and see it on the way, from there you can take great photographs and appreciate the art from a safe distance without possible hassles. This ferry does not stop at Liberty Island.
FERRIES. They start operating between 8:30 am and 9:30 am. To return from Liberty Island the last departure is at 4:30 PM.
STATUE OF LIBERTY. Monday to Sunday from 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM. Hours may change seasonally and during holidays.
Closed on December 25
HOW TO GET
Departing from Battery Park, NY – New York (Manhattan)
Parking is limited near Battery Park so public transportation is highly recommended for your visit to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Immigration Museum. If you are leaving from New York:
- Metro: Take the 1 train to the “South Ferry” station, the 4 or 5 train to the Bowling Green station or the R train to the “Whitehall Street / South Ferry” station.
- Bus: Take the M15 (East Side) bus called “South Ferry” or the M6 (West Side) from 57th Street.
- Car: Take FDR Drive South, 1 Exit – South Ferry Battery Park. West Side – Take Westside Highway South (9A) until Battery Park.
Leaving from New Jersey from Liberty State Park
The emission and departure areas at Liberty State Park are located on New Jersey’s historic Central Railroad Terminal near the water. If you travel by car, caravan or private bus, there you can park for a comfortable rate.
Liberty State Park is also accessible by taxi, ferry, and public transportation.
- Light Rail: Take the Hudson-Bergen (HBLR) train to Liberty State Park Station, then walk. Another option is to walk 1 mile on Audrey Zapp Drive to the ticket office area located near the CRRNJ Terminal. For departures, walk 1/3 mile to the ferry port, from the ticket booth / security shopping areas.
- Car: From the New Jersey Turnpike take Exit 14-B and follow the signs to Liberty State Park.
- Ferry: Liberty Landing Ferry Service – from the World Financial Terminal in New York to the Liberty Landing Marina in Liberty State Park, NJ. Visitors with ferry tickets to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will receive a $ 2 discount on Liberty Landing Ferry Service tickets.
By Ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Duration 3 hours approx.
- Adults………………………………. $ 25.50
- Adults over 62 ………… .. $ 21
- Children between 4 and 12 years old ……… .. $ 16
By Ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island, with access to the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.
- Adults ……………………………… $ 25.50
- Adults over 62 …………. $ 21
- Children between 4 and 12 years old: ……… $ 16
Access to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty + access by ferry to Liberty Island and Ellis Island.
- Adults …………………………… .. $ 28.50
- Adults over 62 ………… $ 24
- Children between 4 and 12 years old ……… $ 19
NOTE: If your ticket says “Statue of Liberty – Grounds Only”, you will only be allowed to visit the island, it does not include entrance to the Statue.
New York is full of art and culture everywhere, it is a city where hundreds of artists have gathered and have left their mark to give it that special touch that attracts us. To get to know all the corners of the city, you can take a New York City night tour that will allow you to see up close each facet of the city, its districts, its colors, its people and its customs. Dare to visit one of the most important and memorable cities in the United States.