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Statue of Liberty (New York, USA)
Member Name: Gemma_C
Statue of Liberty (New York, USA)
Advantages: A very famous landmark, great photo opportunities.
Disadvantages: Queues and crowds during peak times
When I went to New York this year, we were in firm agreement that visiting the Statue of Liberty was going to be on our itinerary. It's a famous land mark and something that symbolises the USA, not just New York. The statue was a gift to the US from France, and it is an iconic symbol of not only freedom, but also the USA.
It was our first time in New York and something you have to do at least once, and we decided to go all out and book tickets to go up to the crown whilst we were there, as we were only planning on doing this the once. After the September 11 attacks in 2001, the statue was closed, and the pedestal didn't re-open until 2004, and the statue itself until 2009. There are limits on how many people can access the crown, and as a result it's recommended you book crown tickets in advance online before your visit to avoid disappointment. Before going to New York I did read reviews about accessing the crown, and I strongly recommend anyone considering going up to the crown to do the same, but I will come to that part later on.
To get to the statue you have to get a ferry from either Liberty State Park in Jersey City, or Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. The Battery Park landing is probably the most popular, and I read online about the huge queues that form there for tickets. For this reason we booked our tickets online for 9am on a weekday morning, as recommended by many on TripAdvisor. I was glad we did this as we missed the queues and crowds, and also had the rest of the day ahead of us after our morning at the statue. We also bought tickets for the crown, and the total came to $15 each so not a bad price at all. If you only wish access to the pedestal then it is cheaper, and you can view the different prices on StatueCruises.com
We took along our print out in the morning to the ticket booth to collect our tickets, we also had to show ID however they accepted our UK Driving Licences, a good thing as we didn't feel comfortable walking around with our passports all day. There were no queues, and it was quiet, although the weather that day was terrible and it was raining quite a bit. After collecting our tickets we had to go through airport style security before getting on the ferry. The ferry goes to the Statue of Liberty monument first, before going onto Ellis Island where you can explore the museum.
After getting off the ferry at the statue, we immediately made our way to a building to get our wristbands off a park ranger; again we had to show our ID and tickets. After getting these the ranger explained how to get to the area with the lockers. As we had access to the statue we had to pay $1 for a locker, which didn't have a key, you had to scan your fingerprint to gain access! You are only permitted to take a camera and medication up to the crown and so all other belongings must go into a locker. I should point out the park rangers are extremely helpful and always direct you to the next area clearly, so you know exactly what to do. Once we were inside the pedestal of the crown, another ranger greeted us and explained to meet back at the bottom of the staircase in 10 minutes to begin our climb to the top. In the meantime we were free to view the museum and the original torch from the statue in the entranceway.
When it was time to begin our climb, we gathered on the staircase with around 8 other people who also had crown access. The ranger explained the climb to the top, and also explained that it's not easy and if you feel at all unwell then you can stop at anytime and leave. I had researched this part and I knew the climb to the top would be hard, but some people in the group clearly hadn't. In particular there was a rather large couple there, who didn't actually make it to the top. The climb to the top of the statue is hard, and as you get nearer the top the winding staircase becomes steeper and tighter, there really isn't much room to move around. When we eventually reached the top, gasping for air, we were greeted by 2 park rangers and a very small platform. The windows of the crown are quite small, but you do get a good view out of them. The ranger pointed out the torch, and showed where to look down on the statue to see the 'book.' Not long after this a group of 3 girls finally reached the top behind us, and as it was rather crowded we decided to make our way back down. This was just as hard as coming up, the stairs are very steep and also a tight squeeze, which meant by tall boyfriend had to duck whilst climbing down! It was difficult, but we made it back to safety at the bottom. I am glad I went to the crown, though I would never do it again!
After this we were free to wander around the statue's pedestal outside, and then we made our way down to the area in front of the statue to take the obligatory photos. It wasn't too crowded here, as it was still morning time, but as we were leaving it was starting to get busy. There is a cafe on the island but we decided to press onwards to Ellis Island, though we did look around the gift shop. I didn't realise you could put the statue of liberty on so many things!
I do think the Statue of Liberty is well worth a visit, though I do recommend going very early in the day to miss the queues and crowds. If you are planning on going to the crown, then please make sure you are fit enough to do it, and that you aren't claustrophobic! You can book your tickets online before you go from Statue Cruises, and I highly recommend doing this.
Summary: An essential must-see landmark.
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