Like many visitors to New York, we decided to visit some of the iconic sights of New York. Probably one of the most iconic is the Statue of Liberty which stands on Liberty Island, just off the southern tip of Manhattan.
On a warm and sunny day, we went on the subway system to take us from Midtown down to Battery Park where the ferries take the thousands of passengers to Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Arriving in Battery Park, we were directed to Castle Clinton from where we could pick up our tickets for the ferry.
Although most people ignore Castle Clinton, it has a remarkable history. Castle Clinton or Fort Clinton was previously known as Castle Garden, is a circular sandstone fort which was America’s first immigration station (it predates Ellis Island), where more than 8 million people arrived in the United States from 1855 to 1890. The original fort was built between 1808 and 1811 on a small artificial island just off shore. When Battery Park was extended the fort was incorporated into the mainland of Manhattan.
Liberty Island and Ellis Island are run by the National Park Service who use Statue Cruises as the official ferry boat service to the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island Memorial Museum. Like most of the major American attractions, once you have your ticket, you have to go through airport style security screening prior to boarding the vessel.
Depending on the time of day you may find large queues to board the ferries, however the ferries do run very frequently and eventually it was our time to board the crowded ferry. There is little doubt that the best way to approach the Statue of Liberty is from the water and many of the people on board had their camera’s ready for that iconic photograph.
The statue resides on Liberty Island, although the island was known Bedloe’s Island up to the 1950s.The Island is located nearly a couple of miles southwest of Battery Park, so the ferry ride is very short.
There is little doubt that the Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous statues in the world, however when you see it in real life, its size comes as a bit of a surprise. In all it stands over 300 feet high and towers over the small Liberty Island.
The Statue of Liberty or Liberty Enlightening the World which is the correct name was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel. The statue was dedicated in 1886.
The statue quickly became an icon of New York and the United States, and was always a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving by sea.
You can get tickets to go inside the statue but we were quite contented to get an ice cream and wander around the statue. The island also gives great views of Manhattan, New Jersey and Brooklyn.
The statue’s location is interesting because in some ways it is influenced by the large statues of antiquity like the Colossus of Rhodes which stood in a harbour entrance. In 1984, the Statue of Liberty was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and welcomes over 3.5 million visitors each year.
As we made our way back to the ferry, we saw the crowds of excited visitors making their way to the statue. The Statue of Liberty has been attracting the crowds for over 100 years and is still as popular as ever.
Old Fogies Travels are the adventures of two elderly Londoners (The Old Fogies) as they explore their home town and travel around the world looking out for the strange, unusual and absurd.
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