March 24, 2011

Enlightening the World

One of the landmarks that fall under "must visit in New York" is the Statue of Liberty.* Located in Liberty Island in the New York Harbor, the statue, also known as Liberty Enlightening the World,  carries some symbolism for people arriving in the United States, especially the immigrants arriving at the turn of 20th century; the  sentiment of which perhaps is best summed up by the sonnet by Emma Lazarus, part of which reads: 
"Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore."
The sonnet was engraved in a plaque and mounted inside the statue. 

Accessible via a 30-minute ferry ride that departs from Battery Park downtown, the neoclassical  statue was designed by a Frenchman, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, and was built in 1886. Most of the visitors can only access the pedestal (going up to the crown requires a special ticket that is given months ahead). To reach the top of the pedestal means walking 153 steps up the stairs (or you can wait for the elevator). The viewing deck on top offers a great view of Manhattan and the surrounding islands. 

Inside the pedestal is a small museum that displays memorabilia related to the construction of the 46-meter high statue, as well as its significance to American history.  The statue was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.

Useful info: The tour is only $13 per person and includes a visit to Ellis Island. Tickets can be purchased online. Visitors must go through an airport-style security check before entering the pedestal. 

pics, from above: the Statue of Liberty; a child inspects the massive replica of the statue's foot; a visitor takes a picture inside the museum; one of the ferries taking visitors to the island

* I guess it wasn't that a must for me because I didn't visit it the first time I was in the Big Apple.

No comments: