The Statue of Liberty

From Idea to Reality

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The most picturesque views of New York City and the surrounding harbour were not possible before Frenchman Edouard de Laboulaye, a French political intellectual and authority on the U.S. Constitution, proposed the idea to build the Statue in 1865. The belief was that the honouring the United States would also strengthen the cause for democracy in France. A figure of a robed woman representing Libertas, a Roman goddess, as she holds a torch above her head came from the sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. He also made a tabula ansata or tablet inscribed in Roman numerals with "JULY IV MDCCLXXVI" (July 4, 1776), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Together with Gustave Eiffel, the same man who engineered the world-famous Eiffel Tower, French began building the Liberty Enlightening the World in Paris, to later disassemble and ship to Bedloe's Island (renamed Liberty Island during President Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration in 1956). Only when the 87-feet-high, granite-faced, concrete pedestal – designed by architect Richard Morris Hunt was completed – was completed in 1885 the workers began reassembling the iconic statue. It was officially finished on October 23rd, 1886, welcoming immigrants arriving from abroad. Click to book your Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Guided tour.

History

In 1924, The Statue of Liberty became a National Monument and 41 years later added to the National Park Service together with Ellis Island nearby, which became part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. In 1982, President Ronald Reagan set to restore Lady Liberty for her centennial. Changes included the replacement of the rusted iron, the removal of multiple coatings, and the construction of a new torch covered with gold leaf. Today, a full-scale replica of the Statue's face, the original 1886 torch and foot are on display at the Statue of Liberty Exhibit. Those items will be moved to the new Statue of Liberty Museum, which is scheduled to open in May 2019. Over the years, the American people contributed more than $700 million for the restoration and preservation of the landmark, aided by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation (SOLEIF) founded in the 1980's. In the wake of 9/11, all exhibitions to the National Monument were put on hold until August 3, 2004, after the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior made critical safety and security upgrades.

Statue Cruises and Excursions

The only way to visit the Statue of Liberty National Monument is via the official, authorized organization Statue Cruises. This includes self-guided audio tours with a ferry ticket, which come in twelve languages, an American Sign Language (ASL) version and an Audio Descriptive (AD) version.. The excursion lasts for about 40 minutes as you explore the grounds and enjoy the panoramic views of Ellis Island, New York, New Jersey and the New York Harbor from the pedestal. Note that there is no additional fee for pedestal access, but tickets must be obtained before boarding the ferry for Liberty Island, which also include access to the Liberty Island Museum and Ellis Island. There are three tickets available for reservation: reserve, pedestal and crown. While they are all affordably priced, due to very high demand visitors are recommended to make their reservations weeks or months in advance. Moreover, those with the crown ticket must be fit enough to set on a difficult journey that encompasses 393 steps. Tickets may also be purchased at the ferry departure points in The Battery or Liberty State Park.
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