Trust us, even if your blood doesn’t run red, white and blue you will not be underwhelmed or disappointed by either of these two major New York landmarks. Note that, contrary to some mistaken notions, the mother of all American statues is not actually on Ellis Island, though that historic place and its resident Ellis Island Immigration Museum can be reached by the same ferry.
Liberty Enlightening the World, sculpted by Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi and a gift from the people of France, was unveiled in 1886. Although security concerns placed the statue off-limits after 9/11, Lady Liberty’s insides were reopened for guided tours (reservations required; call 866-782 8834) in 2004. You can now climb up to the crown, and take in the carving on the pedestal, which features the 1883 Emma Lazarus poem that includes the renowned lines ‘Give me your tired, your poor/your huddled masses yearning to breathe free’.
On the way back to Manhattan, the ferry will stop at the popular Immigration Museum, on Ellis Island, through which more than 12 million people entered the country between 1892 and 1954. The exhibitions are a moving tribute to the immigrants from so many different countries who made the journey to America, dreaming of a better life. The $6 audio tour, narrated by Tom Brokaw, is informative and inspiring. After sustaining damage from Hurricane Sandy, the museum will likely remain closed throughout the rest of 2013.
|Venue name:||Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island Immigration Museum|
Liberty Island and Ellis Island
|Opening hours:||Ferry runs daily 8:30am–4:15pm|
|Price:||Ferry tickets $17, seniors $14, children 4-12 $9, children under 4 free. Purchase tickets by phone at 877-LADY-TIX or online at statuecruises.com. Crown access additional $3|
We did the climb to the crown of the statue. Not for the easily winded or faint. 10 stories of steep circular narrow stairs, it’s an accomplishment of its own! BOOK EARLY to do the crown. They sell out well in advance. But it was Ellis Island that got our real attention. The self-guided audio tour let us absorb the space and stories at our own pace. It tore down many misperception about immigration in the U S. Profound experience, topped by a very user-friendly computer lab where I located my great-grandfathers ship and manifest.