The statue of Liberty, is another one of those iconic monuments of New York City. In my opinion, It is a must see if you are in the city. When I saw the Statue, whilst walking across Williamsburg Bridge, I had a real “I really am in New York” moment. Sometimes for me, it takes seeing a huge icon to make me believe, I am where I am; like my first visit to Sydney in Australia, and seeing the Opera House.
History of the Statue of Liberty
The statue of Liberty is recognised as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. It was dedicated in 1883, and became a national monument in 1994. It was a gift of Friendship from the people of France (a pretty expensive gift hey?!) and has been cared for by park wardens since 1993.
Viewing the Statue
The Statue of Liberty is viewable from Battery Park, Brooklyn and Williamsburg Bridges, as well as other landmarks, such as the Empire State Building, and Rockefeller Center (though these are not the best of views – unless you have a super zoom on your camera).
If you are wanting to get right up and personal with Lady Liberty, you can do so by booking on a tour to get to Ellis Island, which is actually technically in New Jersey, so you’ll be in a new state for a while.
We were told that these tours need to be booked 3 days in advance, as Ellis Island, and the Statue is part of Federal property. This is partly true, but you can buy tickets on the day, or online.
If you want to get right up to the crown of the Statue, this needs to be booked months in advance – we’re talking 4-6 months in advance.
If you want to get into the Pedestal only, or just wander around the grounds, you can book online also.
As we weren’t aware of this booking system, we firstly went on the Staten Island Ferry, to see if for free, and planned to return, but ran out of time (such is the case with most things in New York)
Beware the ticket touts
Like in most tourist areas, there will be ticket touts, loitering and quite frankly being a menace. As soon as you step out of the subway at Battery Park, you will be hounded.
“Wanting to see the statue of liberty girls?”
is all we got for a good 5 minutes of walking. In the end, we had no idea where we needed to get tickets, so asked one of them, and we were told that tickets onto the island needed to be booked 3 days in advance (see above about ticketing) and instead were offered a boat tour of three islands, and a hop on hop off bus tour for the amazing price of $25, or some such figure. We said no, and headed on the free ferry to Staten Island.
Don’t buy into these tour guides for a boat ride around the islands; unless you really want to see 3 islands and get a hop on hop off bus tour of the city (which to be honest isn’t worth the money, as you can walk everywhere, or after you’ve figured out the subway, its easy to travel round underground).
Getting to the Ferry
Get on a subway – the 1 (red line) to South Ferry or the R line (yellow line) will also take you there. You’ll see a modern building with the words Staten Island Ferry – head in there. No tickets required, just wait and board.
Don’t be put off by the number of people waiting to board – the ferry is massive, and there is more than enough room.
Ferries leave the Whitehall ferry terminal in Manhattan, every half an hour and take 25 minutes. More information on the ferry and timetable is here.
The ferry has a number of seats inside, but there is no viewing deck, but windows open so you can get good pictures. There are toilets and a small cafe on board if you get hungry.
A view from the ferry
Staten Island was founded and named as such in 1609, and has passed down hands from Dutch to British, becoming one of the 5 boroughs of New York City in 1898. It is larger than you think, with its own train line (the Staten Island railway, which you an use your Metro pass on) and many people commute to and from the city for work this way (via the ferry).
There are a number of things to do on Staten Island, from what we read, including a Zoo, wildlife parks, sports stadiums, museums, theatres and religious buildings.
Unfortunately on the day we visited, it was freezing, and we were running out of time, and needed to get back to the city, so instead, we walked along the quay and viewed the city from afar.
This was a great morning out, and just as good as a paid tour around the Island. New York is defiantly a place I want to return to, as there were so many things I didn’t get to see, and I’d love to get right up to the Statue at a later date.