Here she is: The Statue of Liberty, one of our favorite New York attractions. Find out things you never knew (or have forgotten since second grade) about Lady Liberty by clicking through our online gallery.
The Statue of Liberty is the creation of French artist Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and was built in his Paris studio. Parisians got a sneak peek at the future New York attraction when the bust was displayed at the Paris World's Fair in 1878.
While the Statue of Liberty was made and paid for by the French, the United States agreed to pay for the construction of the pedestal. Fund-raising efforts stalled until New York World publisher Joseph Pulitzer—yes, that Pulitzer—began printing in his newspaper the names of every person who contributed to the fund. (Sounds like a Kickstarter ploy to us; dude was clearly ahead of his time.)
This iron statue of Pulitzer stands at the walkway near the left entrance to the statue, one of five pieces commemorating individuals who helped bring Lady Liberty to our shores. The full story of how the iconic New York attraction came into being is told in the museum on Liberty Island. Admission is included in the price of the ferry.
The Statue of Liberty's visage, awaiting assembly on Bedloe's Island in New York, later renamed Liberty Island in 1956.
A flotilla of boats marked the dedication of Liberty Enlightening the World on October 28, 1886, in case you were wondering where the United Kingdom nicked the idea for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee from. First that whole taxation without representation thing, then this. It really is too much.
Beginning in 1984, the Statue of Liberty underwent a face-lift. Like the funding of the original plinth, private donations entirely paid for the renovation, undertaken in the '80s by the Statue of Liberty–Ellis Island Foundation (ellisisland.org).
The Statue of Liberty's torch, before it was replaced with a new version in the '80s. The old torch used to leak when it rained, damaging the interior of the statue. It is now on display in the lobby of the monument.
The Statue of Liberty's new torch.
This photo shows the interior of the Statue of Liberty and the winding 168-step staircase that leads to the crown. The steel supports were designed by Gustave Eiffel, who later went on to use this same basic design for the Eiffel Tower.
After closing the interior of the Statue of Liberty due to the attacks of September 11, 2001, the National Parks Service resumed public access starting on July 4, 2009. It's currently closed for renovations, but ticketed entry to the crown is slated to resume by the end of 2012.
The view from one of the 25 windows in the Statue of Liberty's crown.
Here's a detail of Bartholdi's work that's not accessible to visitors: broken chains at the Statue of Liberty's feet, symbolizing freedom from oppression.
Behold a shot of Lady Liberty from the CrownCam, one of five video cameras set up by the Statue of Liberty–Ellis Island Foundation that stream live on the Internet. There's also the TorchCam, which offers a wide-angle view inside the torch and allows you to zoom in on details. Also available are views of New York from the torch, a panorama of the harbor from the torch and a vista of the Statue of Liberty from Brooklyn Harbor.
This bronze plaque of Emma Lazarus's poem "The New Colossus" was originally displayed on the interior wall of the Statue of Liberty's pedestal. You can new view it in the museum on Liberty Island. The poem reads:
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightening, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Visit the Museum of Jewish Heritage to see the exhibit "Emma Lazarus: Poet of Exiles" (through Aug 12, 2012). Presented as part of the celebrations surrounding the 125th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty's dedication, the exhibit looks at Lazarus’s life as a Jewish writer in 19th-century America.
Pictured: Jewish refugee children arriving in America, 1939.
On April 27, 2012, the Space Shuttle Enterprise piggybacked a ride on a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft to JFK, passing the Statue of Liberty. We imagine Lady Liberty was not overawed, having seen the first flying canoe, strapped to Wilbur Wright's Wright Model A Flyer as it rounded the Statue of Liberty on September 29, 1909.
The cheapest (well, free-est) way to see the Statue of Liberty is to hop a ride on the Staten Island Ferry. Plus, you can buy a beer from the bar to toast Lady Liberty as you pass. Listen closely and you may just hear her whisper on the wind: "Chug, chug, chug, chug, chug." It would be unpatriotic not to oblige.
New York Water Taxi's Statue of Liberty Express tour route circles Liberty Island as well as offering a view of other New York attractions including the Brooklyn Bridge, Empire State Building and the World Trade Center site. Departs from South Street Seaport, Pier 16, Fulton St at South St; call 212-742-1969 or visit nywatertaxi.com for details; $17–$28.
One of New York's finest viewing spots of the Statue of Liberty, Picnic Point on Governors Island (another of the best New York attractions), offers a fine vista of Lady Liberty's profile. It also offers picnic tables, swings and hammocks once you've finished gazing.
While you're on Governors Island, make sure to check out the 2012 Interactive Sculpture Garden (through Sept 23). Zaq Landsberg's "Face of Liberty" plants a full-scale replica of the Statue of Liberty's visage in the grass. The artist encourages viewers to clamber over his work: So stand astride Lady Liberty's face, throw your head back and screen the final lines from Planet of the Apes: "You Maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! God damn you all to hell!" We promise, nobody will think you're weird.
This bucolic view of the Statue of Liberty can be found at Battery Park.
Once you've chosen your perfect view of Lady Liberty, we're guessing you'll take a photo. To avoid leaving with the same image of the Statue of Liberty as everyone else, try this interesting approach, pioneered by Michael Hughes. We asked him for his tips, and he said, “First, you look for the funniest or dumbest souvenir. Then, starting from a distance, hold the item in front of the lens and move closer until the objects line up. It’s actually quite tricky, and I strongly suggest giving up coffee, so you can hold your hand steady.”
If that's too much trouble, prints of his "Souvenir" series can be purchased at hughes-photograph.eu.
At the City Reliquary, one of our favorite, quirky New York attractions, postcards of the Statue of Liberty dominate a wall. Our minds can't help but recall artist Zoe Leonard's work "You see I am here after all," which displayed thousands of vintage postcards of Niagara Falls at Dia:Beacon from 2008 to 2011. You can read more about that exhibit on Dia:Beacon's website.
This replica of the Statue of Liberty was adorned with messages and tributes by the public outside the firehouse of Engine 54, Ladder 4, Battalion 9, which lost 15 men to the attacks of September 11. This Lady Liberty replica is now on display at the 9/11 Memorial Preview Site. An interactive website (ladyliberty.national911memorial.org) allows visitors to see the artifacts in greater detail and learn about the people and stories behind them.
The Statue of Liberty sure gets around. You'll find Little Liberty, a 40-foot-tall sheet-metal replica that once stood atop the Liberty Warehouse on Broadway and 64th Street, in the Brooklyn Museum's Steinberg Family Sculpture Garden.
This is one of three replicas of the Statue in Liberty in Paris. This copy resides on the Île aux Cygnes, a man-made island on the river Seine. The tablet has the dates of both the American Declaration of Independence and the storming of the Bastille, a key event in the French Revolution.
If you happen to be in Paris, you can see Bartholdi’s original Statue of Liberty before he made the one for NYC in the Jardin du Luxembourg.
RECOMMENDED: A photo tour of New York City’s top attractions
The Statue of Liberty has stood in New York Harbor for more than 125 years and has become a symbol of the city, the USA and liberty itself. Take our photo tour of this beloved New York attraction to discover things you never knew: See Lady Liberty in her youth, rejuvenated after a restoration project in the 1980s and from afar at the best vantage points in NYC. Plus, where to see Liberty Enlightening the World's image throughout NYC.
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