Pros: A major stop for all visiting NYC, A Glorious site in New York Harbor
Cons: Due to security concerns you may not climb inside.
Having lived in the NY area all my life I have had the opportunity to see this great lady up close a number of times, most recently this week. She continues to be an amazing site.
I wonder what my grandparents felt when they came to the USA as immigrants? They too crossed the ocean and set eyes on the Lady in the Harbor.I have seen old news reels of people who came from foreign lands to the USA with hopes and dreams of a good and better life. As they looked at Miss Liberty I could see awe in their faces and tears in their eyes. What an inspiring site she must have been!!
We today, unlike those who came across oceans, can take a two mile, fifteen minute ferry ride right up to her. Departures are from New Jerseys Liberty Park and from the southern shore of lower Manhattan at Castle Clinton in Battery Park. This old fort, that has gone through many changes and uses over the years, is a National Historic Site itself. Be sure to take some time to explore it and learn more about it too. Battery Park is also the temporary memorial site of the WTC 9/11 Tragedy. Be sure to see the Sphere and Eternal Flame.
I suggest getting downtown by subway. Get a map or ask at a booth. There is a great double Pop-Up-Map of New York available at many souvenir stores. It's very compact, folds out and in easily, and besides being a street map it also shows the subway line routes and stops.
You will find many subway lines stop nearby Battery Park. The 1,9,4,5,n, and r trains have stops at or near the park. Have the map out and look for places of interest in lower Manhattan. As you get out from the subway you may be just feet from a very interesting site and not even know it.
You can go by car also. Parking is very limited and fairly expensive. Lower Manhattan can also be hard to navigate if you haven't been there before. If you take this option, try the FRD Drive on the east side. This can get you down there pretty quickly. When you come out of the tunnel that goes under the castle look immediately for the PARKING signs. You can try approaching the area from the west side of the island too. Follow West Street all the way down. Do not park on the streets unless you know it is not an illegal spot or a tow away zone! There isn't much free parking downtown. Especially on weekdays.
Taxis are another option getting down town. Getting one going back can sometimes be difficult. Buses run down town too.
TICKETS AND TIMES
Inside the fort is where tickets are purchased from a private boating company. The charge is $10.00 for adults. You may want to consider getting head phones for an audio tour. The package deal brings it to $16.00. Children and seniors get discounted tickets. Admission is $8.00 Seniors and $4.00 children 12 to 4. National Parks Passes are not necessary as Liberty Island, Ellis Island and all tours are free. You are only paying for the private ferry.
The first boat out is at 9:30 am. The last leaving the islands were about 5pm. Boats leave continuously all day. They do have a schedule posted telling of departure times from Battery Park, The Statue of Liberty, and Ellis Island. All were pretty much on the half hour.
THE STATUE OF LIBERTY AND ELLIS ISLAND
The fact is that the boarding fee is for both sites. Obviously they are two different islands. They are just minutes apart. The first stop is the statue. You do not have to do it in that order however.
The day can be as short as one and a half to two hours for just a walk through to say "I've been there" or six or seven hours if you take the available free tours, films, really investigate all the offerings, have something to eat, and just relax a while on a beautiful day.
Everyone goes through a security check just outside Castle Clinton. After purchasing your tickets follow your way to the white prefab buildings. They look like domed tents and the material of the walls is canvas.
Be sure to bring only essentials with you in all your site seeing travels. Back packs are not allowed in many venues. The Statue of Liberty is one of them.
As you go in you will have to take everything out of every pocket. Again travel light. No pocket or Swiss Army knives! Belts must be taken off too.
I was there on a fairly cool day. The security area was hot and stuffy. There are fans but they were not on. This was the only unpleasant part of the trip. It took about fifteen minutes to get through on a fairly quiet day. Do know there is hope in that on busier days of summer more boats run and there is more security there to help get you through.
THE BOAT RIDE
Boarding the boat was quick. A wide ramp gets you to the lower deck of the three deck vessel that has rest rooms and snack bars. The top is open air. This is a prime area on a nice day. Everybody wants to be there so the benches fill up quickly. The middle deck, though inside, still gives a good view. The lower deck has smaller windows. This also has some benches and areas designated for handicapped. Most of this is a standing area.
The name of our boat was Miss Liberty. Later when we boarded Miss Liberty again I noticed she looked different. It seems all the boats out of Battery Park have the same name.
As you pull out from the pier you will start to get some magnificent sites of lower Manhattan behind you. Everyone will start jockeying for position for a good picture. Don't bother! Instead take your pictures from Liberty Island or Ellis Island. The views are terrific and unobstructed. No people heads in pictures from here.
You can also take pictures of Manhattan on the ride back from the islands. Less people are taking pictures then and you are facing the proper direction.
Do be sure to be ready to take some pictures of the Statue as you near her. She will be facing you as you make the turn around her east side going to the dock.
The ride is a total of just under fifteen minutes from dock to dock. Disembarking is quick.
HISTORY AND QUICK FACTS
The statue was a gift from the people of France to the American people. They, at the time, were just gaining their own independence. They also saw how we survived a civil war and through it started to open the door too freedom to more oppressed people, be they slaves in America, or those seeking a new life from abroad.
For a great review and more detailed history be sure to read the review written by Barbara ifif1938. The Statue of Liberty history and much more. It is excellent.
I will give you some quick facts and other info.
The sculpture was Auguste Bartholdi a Frenchman.
The Structural work was done by Gustave Eiffel. Ever hear of the Eiffel Tower? Yup, this was the guy who built that too.
Her crown with seven points or rays represent the seven seas, and/or the seven continents.
Her toga remembers the Republic of Rome.
Her feet on iron links shows her crushing the chains of slavery.
In her left hand is a tablet with the date July 4 1776 engraved in Roman Numerals.
In her right hand is the torch. Beaming a light of "enlightenment" to all the world.
The name of the statue is "Liberty Enlightens The World"
She is 152 feet high and over 306 feet high on her pedestal that was designed and built by Americans.
At her base was placed a plaque with a sonnet written by a Jewish New York woman poet in 1883 as part of the fund raising for Americans to build the statues base.
I will edit it a bit but I'm sure you will recognize the words.
.....A mighty woman with a torch.....from her
beacon-hand glows world-wide welcome...Give
me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses
yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse
of your teeming shore.Bring these, the homeless,
tempest-tossed to me; I lift my lamp beside the
Once off the boat you I suggest you go straight and then look to the left. This large building opposite the gift shops is the Information Building. Here you can get good information from the Rangers at the desk. Ask about the tours given every hour by the Rangers. This is a must. There is ,on the north side of the island, a large circular area around the flag pole where many tours start. The rangers at the info center can tell you when.
The island is open for exploring. Some very striking pictures can be taken looking up at Miss Liberty from the areas below. For better pictures go early in the morning as the sun will not have yet moved behind her.
CAN'T GO IN
As I mentioned earlier due to security concerns people are not allowed in the base area or in the statue itself. They may open it again. They had opened the White House for tours again after 9/11 and before the war.
I do hope for your sake you do get to experience the climb first hand. Ha, it's hard, it's stuffy, and for some downright scary. But for me, I will never forget the views from looking out the windows of her crown!
RELAX SHOP or EAT
After a tour and some investigating you can just relax. There are benches and open areas all around the island. It is quite inviting on a beautiful day. There is a snack bar, actually a bit more than that, on the south side of the island. Though the prices are high they aren't intolerable. There are many tables with umbrellas available.
Be sure to check out the gift shop. They have the usual post cards, t-shirts, and little replicas of the status. They do not have National Park Service Items such as Passports and stamps. These can only be purchased at Castle Clinton.
What Passport you ask? These are small Passport looking books where you ink stamp National Parks, Monuments, and Sites. Every one of these places has their own stamp and the date of your visit is also stamped in. I have found The National Park Passport to be a great way to collect parks and create interest in them.
This is a goldmine of stamps. You can get stamped and canceled in the Information Office at The Statue of Liberty. In Ellis Island you can get one canceled at the main desk.
Before or after departure you can get another at Castle Clinton National Historic Site. If you have some time just walk uptown about seven minutes to Federal Hall. This is another National Historic Site, just across the street from Wall Street. It is where George Washington was inaugurated as the first president of the United States.
After you are finished on Liberty Island you may board a boat back to Castle Clinton but better yet, plan time for Ellis Island. It is an amazing place with its history, films, a play, artifacts, research center, personal witness, wall of recognition, grand building and more.
The boat ride back is also very quick. Be sure to take a moment, looking first over your shoulder at the grand lady who welcomes so many, and then ahead to the vibrant Manhattan skyline built by these same people. I am proud to a descendant of immigrants whose hard work helped to build and protect our free country.
Please see that Lady in the Harbor with you own eyes.
This is one of the many great NYC sites found in this book
The Great Sights of New York: A Photographic Guide
Lower Manhattan Destinations by popsrocks
A Visitors Guide to Ground Zero, the 9/11 Memorials, the Freedom Tower and more.
National September 11 Memorial with Reflecting Pools
9/11 Preview Site...Where you may get day-of passes for the National September Memorial with the Reflecting Pools
St Paul's Chapel and it's Place and Mission After 9/11
Tribute 9/11 Memorial Visitors Center: A Place a Tour that brings those who experienced 9/11 with those who want to know and better understand
FDNY Ten House
FDNY 9/11 Memorial Wall
11 Tears; American Express 9/11 Memorial
The Sphere: The First 9/11 Memorial
The Winter Garden, a must stop near Ground Zero
Zuccotti Park. From tranquil to "Occupy Wall Street!" Avoid it for now.
Robert F Wagner Park along the Hudson With the best views of the Statue of Liberty.
Millenium Hilton Across From the 9/11 Memorial Reflecting-Pools and #1 World Trade Center with an unbelievable birds eye view of all!!
Church and Dey: A Restaurant with a View of Ground Zero
Much More site Seeing in NYC by popsrocks
The Little Chapel That Stood: Helping Children Understand and "Never Forget" 9/11
Something is Missing : An Emotional Visit To Ground Zero One week Later
The New WORLD TRADE CENTER Construction has begun on the Freedom Tower
The Lower Manhattan Tenement Museum See how immigrants lived when they first arrived
Castle Clinton National Memorial
Battery Park Home of the temporary 9/11 memorial.
SOUTH STREET SEAPORT
NY WATERWAY Tour NYC by boat.
Federal Hall National Historic SiteDowntown across from Wall Street, our first Capitol Building was there.
Jewish Heritage Museum
St Paul's ChapelA living Memorial to 9/11
Greenwich VillageIt's Hip and Happening
Millenium Hilton., directly across from ground zero. They have reopened!A great location to all that is downtown
Fraunce's Tavern George Washington ate here. You can too! Downtown NYC
More NYC reviews
The Empire State Building
Radio City Music Hall A Spectacular place to see a show!
Times Square Visitors Center You must check this out. Lot's of FREE things to do
The INTREPID Sea-Air-Space MUSEUM It's a good one!
Museum of Natural History
TKTS half price tickets to Broadway
Aida, the Broadway Play Great show at half price
Times Square, the Heart of NY
Times Square Visitors Center
ESPN ZONEa Times Square Sports Restaurant
Stardust DinerA great place for before a show in Times Square. Aspiring actors are here.
Sylvia's, a southern soul restaurant in Harlem
Something is Missing A Tribute to the good people and the twin towers that were lost on 9/11 http://www.epinions.com/content_3161628804
New York City The Greatest City in the World