Travel Report: Liberty Island, New York City.
May 2007. New York City’s Battery Park is a 12-acre oasis on the southern tip of Manhattan, home to a series of fine gardens and statue memorials. Known locally as The Battery, the park served as the city’s immigration arrival depot in the 1850s, long before the construction of the Immigration Center on Ellis Island. It’s also the place to come for ferry services over to Liberty Island for a look at America’s most famous statue, Lady Liberty. Be warned though it can be an absolute circus on the best of days and god help those not smart enough to have booked their tickets online in advance. If you insist on sorting it all out here on the day, ignore all the scammers and head to Castle Clinton to join the long queues.
May 2007. The journey over to Liberty Island is a swift one at just fifteen minutes. I remember the statue being smaller than I’d expected, but still highly impressive as it came into focus from our advancing ferry. Completed in 1884 after a long and costly construction, Lady Liberty was unveiled to honor both The United States’ centennial of independence as well as the country’s strong friendship with France. Indeed the very idea for the statue came from a French politician, Edouard de Laboulaye, while the entire structure was built in France itself and shipped over to America.
May 2007. Once on the island follow the signs to the acoustic guide booth for a set of free audio guide headphones. The Information Center is worth a look too with its brief movie on the statue’s backstory. Look out for this very cool statue of legendary French architect Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel, who was brought in as an engineer. Eiffel’s expertise was with wind stresses and his major contribution was devising a structure comprised of a four-legged pylon to support the copper sheeting that made up Lady Liberty’s main body. The full story of Eiffel’s involvement is told in the Liberty Island Museum.
May 2007. Advanced reservations are needed to access Lady Liberty’s pedestal and it’s still a minor regret of mine that I didn’t sort out the separate ticket needed for entry. It’s a similar situation to get up into the crown, though this comes at an extra cost. Crown access was actually unavailable back then in the sensitive years following 9/11. In any case it was great to simply admire Lady Liberty’s handsome exterior and enjoy the Manhattan views back across the water, especially on a fine day like this.
May 2007. It’s important to note that Statue Cruises is the ONLY authorized ferry provider to Liberty Island. Anyone else offering tickets is pulling your chain, although entry is included in the excellent New York Pass booklet that I purchased for my visit to The Big Apple. A return ferry trip includes access to Liberty Island and Ellis Island Immigration Museum and is priced at $18 for adults, $9 for kids (4-12 years).
For more on this incredible city, check out my other articles on New York City.
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