A welcome sight for generations of immigrants as they arrived in New York Harbor, Lady Liberty stands as a beacon of hope and freedom to all who lay eyes on her.
Gifted to the United States of America by the people of France in 1886, the Statue of Liberty marked the friendship between the two countries and memorialised over a hundred years of American independence. It has stood in New York Harbor ever since, the first thing new immigrants fleeing famine and persecution would see as they arrived in search of a new life in the land of the free.
Reaching 92 metres at its highest point, the Statue makes for an imposing and awe-inspiring sight. It is a feat of technological genius achieved by collaboration between the sculptor Bartholdi and the engineer Eiffel. If you have an hour to spare, the National Park Service runs tours detailing the history of the Monument and the island which it calls home. Audio tours are also available if you’d prefer to make your own way around.
Having been closed for renovations, the Statue’s viewing platform is now open once more. Brave the queues and climb all the way to the Torch for an unrivalled panorama of the harbour from its twenty-five windows. Tickets are available at the ferry terminal but places are limited so you may want to book online beforehand.
Ferries to Liberty Island leave from Battery Park, which can be reached by numerous bus and subway lines from all over New York. As well as the Statue of Liberty, you can choose to visit the Immigration Museum at nearby Ellis Island where millions of immigrants were processed as they entered the USA in search of the American dream.
The processing centre itself closed down in 1954, but the museum which is now housed on the site makes for a fascinating visit. It is a touching place which documents the history of migration to the States through the stories of people’s hopes and fears, displayed in video, photographs and interactive displays.