Statue of Liberty is tourists’ favorite
NEW YORK — New York City is on par with Paris, Rome and London among the most frequently visited cities in the world.
It’s no surprise that, along with those three cities, New York also has an iconic monument that makes it attractive as a tourist destination. Paris has the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triumph and the Cathedral of Notre Dame.
Rome has the Vatican with its Sistine Chapel, the Roman Coliseum and the Catacombs. In London, we find Buckingham Palace with its royal family, the Tower of London and Saint James Cathedral.
In New York, of course, we have the first skyscraper ever built, the Empire State Building, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty.
|The Statue of Liberty sits on what is called Liberty Island at the entrance of New York Harbor. It is a 151-foot figure that can be seen from as far away as Brooklyn, through the space between the very tall buildings that line the Manhattan skyline. (Photos by Mari Centeno).|
The Statue of Liberty sits on what is called Liberty Island at the entrance of New York Harbor. It is a 151-foot figure that can be seen from as far as Brooklyn, through the space between the very tall buildings that line the Manhattan skyline. Even from one mile away, you can admire this unique monument.
This monument was designed and constructed in France by two very famous men; the sculptor Frederic Bartholdi and the engineer Gustave Eiffel. It was brought to America in hundreds of pieces that were later assembled on site. The project was paid for by the French people and donations from all over the world.
However, the pedestal upon which it stands was designed by the American architect Richard Morris Hunt and paid for by donations of the American people.
It is interesting to note that initially, the American public was not very interested in contributing to this construction, but thanks to the strong media involvement and promotion, particularly the influence of Joseph Pulitzer, owner of the World newspaper, donations increased and the pedestal was completed as planned.
This monument was dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886, by then President Grover Cleveland and designated as a national monument in 1924. It was completely renovated for its centennial celebration on July 4, 1986.
The Statue of Liberty is not only a unique example of architectural dimensions. Some of the details are part of our heritage. The tablet Liberty holds in her left hand has the inscription in Roman numerals of July 4, 1776, the date of our Declaration of Independence. On her feet, she has broken chains that represent the abolition of slavery.
There are many theories about why the Statue of Liberty sits on this island in New York and even more theories about what she represents. The most accepted is that the French government wanted to give the United States a unique present in celebration of its 100th anniversary of Independence and of the strong ties that existed between the two nations.
|Liberty Island offers visitors an area to relax or have a quick lunch with direct views to the back of the Statue of Liberty.|
The statue would represent the fact that our country was the symbol of liberty for the entire world to see carrying out the principles of their revolution: Liberty, Equality and Brotherhood. The idea that the sculpture should be of a female is thought to have come from the fact that in history, early America was represented by a female figure; the Roman goddess Liberty adorned early American coins.
The other strong theory, one that seems to be prevalent even today, is the idea that her outstretched arm carrying a torch is the welcoming to all of those who come to this land in search of a better life.
Emma Lazarus wrote her poem, “The New Colossus,” as part of the fundraising campaign for the pedestal, and the lines of her poem can be found engraved on the pedestal:
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-toast to me; I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
The Statue of Liberty is seen as the promise to immigrants that this country opens its doors to them, and as they come in through Ellis Island, Lady Liberty welcomes them across the New York Harbor waters.
|At right, in order to get a close-up look of the statue, there are ferries that you can take from Battery Park in New York City and Liberty State Park in New Jersey. Below, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated on Oct. 28, 1886, by then President Grover Cleveland and was designated as a national monument in 1924.|
The Statue of Liberty is an obligated visit for any tourist that wants to say they’ve visited New York City. In order to get a close-up look of the statue, there are ferryboats that you can take from Battery Park in New York City and Liberty State Park in New Jersey. Some of the rides take you around the island, or you can choose to actually visit the statue.
Taylor Mason, a student from Gainsville, Fla., speaks about her experience visiting the Statue of Liberty.
“Although I’ve visited New York before, this is my first time checking out all the tourist attractions New York City has to offer. As a history major at the University of Florida, visiting the Statue of Liberty was exciting, and nothing I’ve read in books can compare with actually seeing it in person,” he said.
Private vessels cannot dock at Liberty Island. Looking at this enormous monument from across the harbor is nothing compared to when you are at her feet and raise your head and look at her right arm holding the torch. It’s a powerful feeling and you don’t know if it’s because of its size or because you have heard so much about her.
Once on the island, when the monument is open for visits, if you purchase a special pass you can climb to the top of the statue by walking up the stairs all the way to the crown.
Also, if you want to increase your knowledge about the Statue of Liberty, make sure to check out some of the guided tours they offer. The tours provide historic and anecdotal information pertinent to the monument and Liberty Island.
If You Go
- The Statue of Liberty inside crown tour is currently closed and will reopen in 2013.
- Liberty Island continues to be open for visitation along the outside grounds.
- You can purchase Statue of Liberty tickets online by visiting http://www.statuecruises.com.
- For more information on the Statue of Liberty visit the National Parks website http://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm