STATUE OF LIBERTY
Petit Futé's opinion on STATUE OF LIBERTY
This great lady is the emblem of New York. Shivers are guaranteed when the boat approaches it to dock on Liberty Island.
No matter how much you feel you already know the statue, no matter how many times you repeat that it is not that big, the thrill is inevitable when you approach the building by boat. Everyone on the ferry, brandishes his camera to capture the moment. This great lady is to New York what the Eiffel Tower is to Paris. Especially since France is closely involved in its history, the statue having been offered, as a sign of brotherhood, to the American people by the French people. The idea for this gift came from Edouard Laboulaye, a politician and lover of American history. While the United States promulgated the amendment prohibiting the use of slavery in 1865, Edouard Laboulaye and the sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi discussed the possibility of offering a huge statue to encourage America in its drive for democracy and freedom, and to establish friendship between France and the United States. A proposal that is no coincidence since the young sculptor Bartholdi had recently worked on a very similar project for Egypt: he had imagined a statue that he intended to name The East Lighting the World and which would have acted as a beacon north of the Suez Canal. After reworking the plans, Auguste Bartholdi imagined a statue representing the Roman goddess Libertas, with a torch and a table of laws on which is inscribed the date of the declaration of independence of the United States, 1776. Several hypotheses have been put forward to find out which face would have inspired the sculptor Bartholdi. Many believe that he was inspired by his mother's to represent the features of Liberty. Standing on its small island (Liberty Island), in the middle of New York Harbour, it has become one of the most endearing monuments in the United States and the symbol of freedom around the world. It was built between 1874 and 1884, its steel structure benefiting from the lights of the great Gustave Eiffel. And it took all the efforts of the press magnate of the time, Joseph Pulitzer, to raise the necessary funds for its construction on his lonely islet, not far from Ellis Island. In 1986, after several years of restoration work, the statue celebrated its centenary with great pomp and ceremony, attracting more than 15 million visitors. Seen from close up, it is gigantic. Perched on a 30 m high pedestal resting on 20 m high star-shaped ramparts, there are 354 steps to climb to access its crown. The statue itself weighs 225 tons. Few people know this, but at the foot of the statue are broken chains, a symbol of the struggle for freedom and against tyranny. The crown of the statue has 7 rays, symbol of the 7 continents. From toes to head, the statue is 33 meters long. Inside the pedestal is a plaque on which is engraved a sonnet of Emma Lazarus, called The New Colossus. The end of the sonnet is the most famous part: "Send me your tired, your poor, send me your cohorts who aspire to live free... ", etc.! The ferry takes you to the foot of the statue and then to Ellis Island where the Immigration Museum is located. The 354 steps of a circular staircase (there is also an elevator) will take you under Madame's tunic and to the observatory on the tenth floor, in the crown, from where you can admire New York Harbour and the skyline. Please note that if you do not wish to stop at Liberty Island, you can simply take the free ferry to Staten Island. The latter voluntarily passes near the statue for tourists.
Access to the statue had been closed following the attacks of 11 September 2001. The reopening of the Crown has been effective since 4 July 2009, the anniversary of Independence. However, its access is limited to a maximum of 10 people at a time, and the visit is carried out by a ranger from the National Park Service. However, this one must be earned, and to have access to the crown, you will sometimes have to do it months in advance! Internet reservations required. When buying your ticket online, choose the option that gives access to the pedestal. It is necessary to pay a small surplus to visit it, in the order of a few dollars, but it is well worth it! In addition, you will automatically have access to the pedestal. Access to it is free, it can be booked alone, for example if there is no more space to visit the crown during your stay. For the pedestal too, you have to do it well in advance. According to current world events, the Crown is sometimes closed for long periods of time, for example as part of anti-terrorism plans or during major storms (such as Hurricane Sandy in 2012).
In May 2019, a new museum dedicated to the history of the statue was opened on Liberty Island. The visit of the latter is included in the normal price. The futuristic building has been integrated into the collection of the former small museum already dedicated to the statue at the foot of it, but which was small. The new museum, very complete, looks back at the process of making the statue, thanks to an immersion in the workshops of Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, then on its influence through the centuries and its heritage. As a highlight of the show, you can admire the original torch, with its glass panels that are not very resistant to the vagaries of the weather, installed in 1886 and replaced in 1985.
Information on STATUE OF LIBERTY
Ferry departures from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm. Ferry trip, visit Liberty Island and Ellis Island Museum: US$ 19.50.
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