Visiting the Statue of Liberty

I’m sure most tourists to New York City would have visiting the Statue of Liberty on their list of ‘must-see’ destinations.

From Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty appears so much smaller than the image that has made appearances in so many films and been featured in so many tourism brochures.  It was only when I boarded the ferry from Battery Park to Liberty Island that when we neared the landmark I was able to appreciate the full scale of the sculpture.

Being a tourist

Being a tourist

Created in 1886 and as a gift of friendship from the French to the people of the United States, Frederick Bartholdi’s incredibly large and impressive copper sculpture is recognised as a symbol of freedom and democracy.  The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertus, the Roman Goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tablet evoking the law upon which is inscribed the date of American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776.   It was designated as a National Monument in 1924. 

Best to leave your arsenal at home - Restrooms at Battery Park where you queue for tickets to Liberty Island

Best to leave your arsenal at home – Restrooms at Battery Park where you queue for tickets to Liberty Island

I pre-booked our tickets ($25.00), to the Statue of Liberty from Sydney.  When you book on-line, it gives you the times that are available to see the Statue as well as Ellis Island, the place where thousands of migrants went through immigration on their arrival to the USA.  Because I was travelling during peak-season, the earliest time we could book the ferry to Liberty Island was 3pm.  This is a little late in the day and if possible I would advise visiting the Statue earlier in the day to avoid a build-up of crowds.

Battery Park in the summer

Battery Park in the summer

Booking at short notice, I wasn’t able to buy tickets to enter the crown of the Statue however, I was able to obtain tickets to venture up as far as the pedestal; that part of the bi-partisan landmark that was built by the USA.

Relaxing at Battery Park not realising we needed to be queuing for the ferry to Liberty Island

Relaxing at Battery Park not realising we needed to be queuing for the ferry to Liberty Island

On the day we were a party of three.  Arabella’s friend’s boyfriend’s cousin’s friend (try to keep up), was a 21-year old chap on a holiday in New York at his girlfriend’s insistence.  Unfortunately, as soon as they arrived in New York the girlfriend moved on, leaving him all alone.

Arabella, being the friend of the girl whose boyfriend had a cousin with a friend in need, was contacted to see if she could spend some time with him.  So Pete met us at the 9/11 Memorial and we walked to Battery Park from there.

Aboard the ferry

Aboard the ferry

I naively thought that because we had our tickets, we would walk onto the ferry just like walking onto any Manly Ferry.  Wrong!  While we could see the ferry, we had to find the end of the snaking queue to board and it went from the ferry through a permanent tent structure and so many metres beyond that I couldn’t see the end of the line.  With so many people it looked like we would have a two-hour wait in the heat and full sun just to make it to the tent structure.

Approaching Liberty Island

Approaching Liberty Island

I found a security chap (there are many) and I showed him our tickets and asked if we had to wait in line at the end of the queue.  He said, ‘I’ll let you in here’, and he opened a gateway short-tracking us to the tent structure.  Inside the tent was security like LA airport security.  It was, ‘Take off your shoes, take off your belt, take everything out of your pockets, put your cell-phone on the counter’, so once we had been through that we then formed another queue for the ferry.  I was exhausted before we got there!

View from the ferry

View from the ferry

We made it onto the three-tiered ferry and were fortunate to have seats on the top level where you have an excellent view of the Statue as you approach and as you look behind you, the Manhattan skyline.

Manhattan from Liberty Island

Manhattan from Liberty Island

Liberty Island is one of the smallest islands on New York Harbour.  Beautifully presented with landscaped grounds, the focal point can only by the Statue; however, while visiting the Island there are places where you can buy refreshments and there are even restrooms.  On the day we were there it was heavily crowded and I found the crowds overwhelming.

Such an iconic image

Such an iconic image

I went through security (again) to walk up to the pedestal of the Statue and surprisingly, there weren’t that many people.  You can take the elevator up to the pedestal or the stairs and while a large group of people queued for the elevator, I took the stairs and was the only person in the stairwell – bliss!  I had to walk up about six flights of stairs and then I walked out onto the pedestal where you look up and suddenly realise the scale of the Statue; it’s enormous and it’s so hard to believe that something so weighty and large was able to make the sea-voyage from France to the USA all those years ago.

Arriving at Liberty Island

Arriving at Liberty Island

And, more incredibly, that it was assembled by workmen without the use of scaffolding (something so common in New York City today), and the workmen put together the Statue by dangling off ropes many, many metres off the ground.

The crowds

The crowds

I was so pleased to finally be in such close proximity of an iconic landmark I have known about for so long and seen in so many movies.  I was disappointed we didn’t have time to visit Ellis Island but that’s just another reason to plan another holiday to New York.

An image from the pedestal

An image from the pedestal

Like all the world’s iconic landmarks, the Statue of Liberty is definitely worth visiting.  It costs less than $25.00 and you can spend an entire day exploring Liberty Island, the Statue and then Ellis Island on the return journey.  Pre-booking your tickets on-line will give you the opportunity to not only walk around the Island and climb to the Pedestal but perhaps also have the opportunity to view Manhattan from the Statue’s crown.  

It's the copper that makes the Statue green

It’s the copper that makes the Statue green

Statue of Liberty:  Liberty Island, New York.

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  1. Ahhhhhhhh…. This post is THA best! I actually squealed in delight looking at your pics. The Statue of Liberty is top top top of my US travel bucket list, when I drove through NYC it was cloudy and hazy and I couldn’t see it, sad faces.

  2. What beautiful photos of the statue – esp the one with manhattan behind it. My two new york trips were pre-9/11 which may be why I don’t remember any of the security palaver but I remember it being impressive – and I think the view from the crown was out some really small smudgy window. My best memories are of Ellis Island which really give so much background story of new york. Am sure it is much changed now. Though I hope the statue will never change.

  3. My mother used to tell us how they donated dimes (ten cents) when she was a kid to pay for the base to the statue.

    I’ve probably been to New York 100 times or more and I’ve never been to the Statue of Liberty. I’ve looked at it from Battery Park, flown over it in a helicopter but never got on the ferry. I keep saying, “Next time!” I’m glad you went.

  4. Awesome, Charlie!!

  5. I’ve been to New York once, while in college, but never took the ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. And with those crowds, I’d stay away.

    How nice that you befriended the friend of the cousin of the…whatever.

  6. Charlie your photos capture New York’s skyline and Lady Liberty so well! I have been to NYC so many times, but never to the Statue of Liberty!
    So nice of y’all to let Arabella’s friend’s boyfriend’s cousin’s friend tag along!

  7. It’s nice to get a different view of lady liberty. I am not surprised that there is a long waiting line but I am surprised about the ticket price. Not sure if it would make sense for me… However, if one goes to new york for the first time, you would be nearly forced to see the statue of liberty I guess. Thanks for sharing!

  8. Hi Charlie, sounds like a great time> I was there about 15 years ago and was amazed by the craftsmanship sheer size. Great post.

  9. I’ve never actually visited the Statue of Liberty! And I lived in the NYC area for over a decade. Worse, my first couple of months there I lived in Staten Island, and took the ferry to Manhattan — so twice a day I sailed past it! Sounds like a fun time — thanks for sharing.

  10. Getting an appreciation of the true size of the statue IS all about perspective. I’m glad you made it into the tent and onto the ferry. I’m a bit paranoid so I always get in lines early … just in case. But things worked out for you and your group, as they seem to do. You’re a lucky lady. 🙂

  11. Ahahaha! Whereas I’ve been to NYC something like nine times (I can’t even remember exactly how many) in the past seven years, and have never bothered to go see this statue.

  12. The one time I was in NYC, we did go to see the Lady Liberty. Truly an impressive site and the view from the ferry back towards Manhattan is spectacular Our trip was before 9/11 and the sight of Manhattan without the Twin Towers still chokes me up. We didn’t visit Ellis Island or get to go up into the crown, either, but well worth another trip!

  13. Trust you to be the Good Samaritan and pick up some random person in need Charlie! I hope he felt a little less forlorn by the end of the day- by the photo of him with his arm around Arabella, I’m sure he seemed to be recovering nicely 🙂
    I do like the photo looking up from the base, it’s a great perspective indeed. Lucky you found a friendly security guard and didn’t miss the ferry, it looks spectacular, although I hate crowds too. I’m so short that when crowded together like that, the only view I get is of other people’s backs! Xox

  14. Always wanted to visit this statue, it is so wonderful! 😀
    Seems like you had an amazing time!

    Choc Chip Uru

  15. Fantastic!… I think another trip is definitely on the cards… Reading all you post is making it hard for me as I have want to go to New York for sooooooo Long… I know I will get there and will definitely take your advice re a day on Ellis island! Thanks so much for sharing!
    liz x

  16. I have only physically been to see the ‘Lady’ once: in my early 20s – no Qs, no pre-booking, only the ferry fare to pay, no check of any kind . . . . more imposing from far away actually we all thought . . . .somehow glad I ‘did it’ then . . .

  17. She is definitely a must on a trip to New York. I don’t remember any crowds 25 years ago. Perhaps because it wasn’t high Summer. Pre booking is such a great idea. I am finding that alot with the UK as well. Unless you book early you miss out.

    Looks like it was a fab trip and poor Pete.

  18. Thank goodness you asked about skipping the boat queue! I haven’t ever made it to the statue, but have admired it from the Staten Island ferry. Well done on braving the crowds – and taking the stairs!

  19. Oh, what a queue! But I think it’s all worth the wait 🙂

    Gourmet Getaways

  20. We didn’t make it out there when we were in NYC. Sadly we missed quite a few things. In my preggas state I could only handle one big thing a day then needed my giant nap in the arvos.

  21. So glad that you made it to Liberty Island, Charlie. For many of us, our grandparents spoke of their first glimpses of the Statue from the decks of ships as they arrived in New York harbor. My grandparents — and Dad — entered the US through Ellis Island and I’ve been able to locate their names and those of other relatives among US Immigration records. Your wonderful posts have made me want to return to New York. It’s been too long. 🙂

  22. I loved your photos! I’m so disappointed that I wasn’t able to visit New York during our stay on the east coast. That is definitely on my bucket list. I too would have walked the stairs choosing for that, or not going at all, over cramming into a claustrophobic elevator like sardines. No thank you! I’ve often wondered about the construction and even the travel of such an amazing gift to our country.

  23. What beautiful photos you got – it looks like you were the only ones there! New York is definitely on our wish list. Mind you I don’t like the sound of all that lining up and waiting.

  24. My husband and my youngest are going tomorrow.

  25. Fun post, and your description of the security check made me laugh…and sympathize.

  26. Great photos Charlie, especially the last one!

  27. JT and I (and a friend from Germany) climbed the stairs to the crown when it was allowed about 30 years ago. So many tiny stairs we all got Charlie-Horse in our thighs! It teamed with rain that day and we got soaked walking through the financial district (which was deserted on a weekend in those days). Makes me feel old. Very old.

  28. Looks like the weather was perfect for your visit to the Statue of Liberty! Now you have wonderful memories to be cherished!

  29. I’ve spent one day in NY and made it to the top of the Empire State building but didn’t have time to see the lady. Thanks for sharing your experience and great pictures!

  30. I remember the long line… I am not sure which is better – waiting in cold or hot as we visited several days after Christmas. I thought I was going to die from cold on a ferry and waiting outside in a long line… Haha. You wrote a very good review!

  31. Can you believe I have never been to the Statue of Liberty?? I have however visited Ellis Island, and it is definitely worth the trip (more than the SoL I would imagine), because you learn so much about the immigration to the US and see the places these people sometimes stayed for weeks, their personal belongings and a lot of photos and documents… really interesting.

  32. It looks like you had fabulous weather on this trip. I’m enjoying sightseeing through your eyes Charlie!

  33. Awww I’m missing NYC so much!!! I totally agree the Statue of Liberty is so much smaller in real life and it’s so meaningful to go to Ellis Island I didn’t get the chance last time but definitely want to next time 😀


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