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The other lady with the lamp!
Statue of Liberty (New York, USA)
Member Name: garymarsh6
Statue of Liberty (New York, USA)
Advantages: Superb experience to visit the island and get close up to the great lady herself!
Disadvantages: Queues, queues and more queues.
Think of America and one can immediately conjure up an image of one of the most popular associations of America that being the Statue of Liberty in New York. The statue of Liberty is synonymous with everything about the United States and represents freedom, America being the land of the free.
Where is the Statue of Liberty?
The Statue of Liberty was erected on a small island originally called Bedloe's Island opposite Manhattan Island and Straten Island. It is now called Liberty Island. It is situated in the harbour of New York and she was one of the first sights to greet immigrants to the New Land and the processing centre on the next island known as Ellis Island. Throughout its history the island has been used as an oyster farm by the native Americans, a Private residence, a quarantine island for arriving people, a prison, a hospital amongst some of the uses of the island. It is currently a national Park.
The statue of Liberty was a gift from the French to the people of America and was designed and built by an engineer called Frederic Bartholdi. He began building it in France but faced difficulties with the structure however he enlisted the very skilful Gustav Eiffel to assist him in building a supporting structure that is inside the Statue. The statue was built in sections and then shipped over to New York where it was finally erected and in 1886 it was finally inaugurated.
I was aware of and have seen a smaller version of the Statue of Liberty which can be found on the River Seine in Paris but at a mere 39 metres high it is tiny in comparison. I was unaware of how many copies of the statue can be found around the world there are literally hundreds one being outside the New York, New York hotel in Las Vegas but there are hundreds alone around the USA. We even have one here in Great Britain a tiny 17 foot high Statue in Liberty Park, Leicester.
My trip to the Statue of Liberty.
We pre-booked our tickets to the Statue of Liberty and I think it wise that you should do so to avoid the massive queues to buy tickets. Tickets are available for $13 which not only gives you access to Liberty Island but also to Ellis Island and includes your boat transfer there and back which I think represents excellent value for money. You can book the date and approximate time you want to go. We had just completed our helicopter tour over Manhattan and wandered down to Battery Park to join the queue at the check in area and security area. All bags are checked by x ray and you go through an airport type body scanner machine. Although the queue was quite long it moved quite rapidly as there were people available to get you prepared for the search to avoid hold ups. Once through this we boarded one of the waiting cruisers that take you across the bay to Liberty Island.
The boat trip.
The boat gives you fantastic views of the Manhattan sky line as you sail across the bay passing Governors island on the left and Ellis island on the right. There are large panoramic windows either side of the boat and you can even sit on the top deck at times. During our cruise this was not an option. Your eyes darting from side to side to try and take in all the sights. Approaching the Island with the Lady standing proudly holding her torch in her right hand you sail around the island to the landing stage. Disembarkation is fast.
On the Island.
As you alight from the boat there is an open air cafe area and Liberty museum to the right of you. The island is quite big and there are cafe and toilet facilities and a small park area to wander around. You walk up an small tree lined avenue to a large circular area at the rear of the statue which is on your right hand side.
If you wish to go up the statue of Liberty you have to go through another stricter search where you are not permitted to take any bags with you at all and have to deposit them in a locker. The queue here seemed to take much longer because not only are you searched you also pass into a booth where squirts of air are blasted at you from all directions in order to detect explosives. Once through this check you can mount the pedestal the great lady is standing on.
Approaching the pedestal you enter the vast structure of the pedestal which takes you to the observation deck of the statue which is 89 feet high. The pedestal is square shaped and on three sides there are two triangular shapes that jut out. On the side where the Statue of Liberty looks out towards Manhattan there is one giant sized triangle. Once inside there are brass replicas of the face and one of the feet inside the great hall. Standing in the middle of the hall is one of the original lamps that the great lady held in her hands which had to be replaced due to corrosion from the sea and salty air.
There is a glass viewing section in the ceiling which gives you a view of the internal structure that holds the great lady up. It's very interesting to look at all the girders and spiral staircase in the centre of the actual statue. You mount a staircase to reach the viewing deck. From this vantage point you get fantastic views of Manhattan and New York, Ellis Island and Governors Island. You can walk full circle of the pedestal to view the statue and the rest of the island. If the sky is blue it's an advantage but just being there is quite exciting. I imagine that it would be beautiful any time of the year minus any fog of course!
We then wandered around the island taking in different views not only of the statue but also the surrounding scenery lapping up the sunshine and generally feeling great. It really is a mind blowing experience actually being there and enjoying the Statue close up. After about an hour and a half of wandering around the park we then boarded the boat that takes you to Ellis Island but as we had spent so much time on Liberty Island we could not get off and had to head straight back to Battery Park.
Would I recommend a visit to Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty?
Absolutely yes! It is well worth a visit however we spent too long just soaking up the views and atmosphere and you could spend a whole day here and visiting Ellis Island. The next time I go to New York I would definitely make this a day trip on its own spending the morning on Liberty island then head over to Ellis Island before returning to Manhattan. Do not underestimate how long you will be there as although Liberty Island is quite small you underestimate how much you are drawn to just taking in the sights and for $13 you can't go wrong. There is also an audio tour you can take for an extra payment but we did not take that option.
Tickets are available from the following web site and I would really advise you to pre book your ticket. http://www.statuecruises.com/
Summary: A fantastic and worthwhile day out for a very reasonable price.
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