New York, United States

Statue of Liberty & Liberty Island

August 10 – 12, 2019 

Tuesday was my last day in NYC as part of my short three-day trip. I started the day by packing up my small bag of things and heading down to the lobby of the hotel for breakfast and a leisurely cup of coffee.

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Today’s adventures were going to the Statue of Liberty/Liberty Island and Ellis Island. For this, you buy a ferry ticket for Statue Cruises which provides you a roundtrip ferry ride and entrance onto both islands and both islands’ museums. Entrance into the Statue of Liberty pedestal or crown is separate, though. I purchased pedestal access. Crown access was not available (typically, you need to purchase this 4-6 months in advance). Something important to note is that Statue Cruises is the only legitimate place to buy tickets for the ferry and the islands. There’s plenty of scammers on the streets. statue

The ferry route looks like this:

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Photo courtesy of Statue Cruises

After arriving in Battery Park and crossing through Battery Place, the security screening to enter the ferry was pretty intense and similar to airport security. One thing I did not realize was that the 10:00 AM referred to my entry into the pedestal, not my ferry time. I was still able to get into the Statue, thankfully. The ferry leaves every 20 minutes from New York’s Battery Park and a bit less frequently from New Jersey’s Liberty State Park (see departure schedule).

There were strict regulations on the size of bags (thankfully I packed light because I had all my luggage with me after checking out of the hotel that morning). Even so, you couldn’t bring any bags/purses/etc into the Statue, but there were lockers available (make sure to bring quarters!). No food or drinks were allowed, and they searched for anything relatively sharp or weapon-like. They also had metal detectors. After the three-part screening process, you were able to board the ferry.

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It was perhaps 15 minutes until arriving at Liberty Island. This island has an extensive history and most recently was Fort Wood, a defensive fort that was constructed with an 11-point star to mark the perimeter. It was completed in 1811 in preparation for British invasion. It received its name following the War of 1812 after Lt. Wood who was killed in the Siege of Fort Eire.

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Arriving at Liberty Island

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In the 1880s, it was selected to be used to house the Statue of Liberty, a gift from France that was delivered to the US in pieces and formally unveiled on October 28, 1886, to mark the American Centennial. The stone walls of the fort were used as the base for the Statue, but the rest of the military fort was removed. The 11-point star base outline is still present and can be seen clearly when one is atop the Statue pedestal or crown.

The statue was designed by Frederick Bartholdi, a French sculptor, and framed by Gustave Eiffel (who also designed the Eiffel Tower).

I had a ticket to go up to the pedestal, which is 89 feet (27 meters) tall. It’s 215 steps from the lobby to the pedestal, but an elevator is available to the pedestal, not to the crown. From the pedestal to the crown, it’s 154 spiraling steps! Only for the brave at heart to make the trek up there.

Looking up at the Statue from the pedestal. Check out this video.

Views from atop the pedestal.

There is also a Statue of Liberty Museum on the island which shows the history and also holds the original torch (which has since had to be replaced) as well as a few other pieces of the Statue that have been restored over the years. There is a small museum in the lobby at the base level of the Statue, which is where the original museum was. Now, there is a larger museum that exists on one edge of the island with more artifacts, displays, and history about the Statue.

Replicas of the face and foot.

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Other cool facts:

  • The seven spikes on the crown represent the seven continents and oceans.
  • The tablet in the left hand is inscribed with Roman Numerals with the date of the Declaration of Independence.
  • The Statue of Liberty is now a green color due to oxidization.
  • The Statue weighs 450,000 pounds (204,116 kilograms).
  • The full name is Liberty Enlightening the World.

After exploring the museum, I went over to the ferry line, realized I forgot my bag, ran back to the lockers, and back to the ferry line, and still had a good amount of time before the next ferry arrived. As it came into port, I got excited for the next adventure: Ellis Island and the Immigration Museum!

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Skyline of Manhattan, NY, departing Liberty Island and heading to Ellis Island. Perhaps my favorite photo from the trip!

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