Just ahead of her 136th birthday on October 28th, Lady Liberty has something to celebrate: the iconic crown, which has been closed since spring 2020, has now reopened to visitors. While Liberty Island and the Statue have reopened to visitors for a while, guests could only go so far as the pedestal. Now, visitors can get nearly to the top of the copper-clad statue and enjoy a priceless view of Manhattan Harbor. Read on for more information and how to plan a trip to the Statue of Liberty’s crown.
About the Crown
The Statue of Liberty was created by French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi as a gift from France to the United States. He was assisted in the construction of the statue by another famous French sculptor, Alexandre Gustave-Eiffel, who helped to frame out the interior of the structure. Her official name is Liberty Enlightening the World, and the gift is meant to honor the relationship between the two countries. The spikes in the crown are meant to imitate rays of the sun beaming outward. The crown is made up of 25 windows and seven spikes, and the seven spikes are meant to symbolize the seven continents. The statue, from the base to the tip of the torch, is 305 feet tall.
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Even though Bartholdi began designing the statue in the mid-1870s, the statue’s transit across the Atlantic, on-site construction, project funding, and other delays meant that the dedication didn’t take place until October 28, 1886. New Jersey native and then-President Grover Cleveland was present for the ceremony. The statue’s dedication was the occasion for the first-ever ticker tape parade in NYC.
Two other Bartholdi sculptures can be seen in nearby Manhattan. The first is another homage to the French-American friendship. The monument, Lafayette and Washington, is located in Morningside Park. It was commissioned by New York media magnate Joseph Pultizer after seeing Bartholdi’s work on the Statue of Liberty. The original monument is in Paris while the Morningside Park edition is a replica of the same design. The second is a solo sculpture of the Marquis de Lafayette in the center of Union Square Park. The sculpture was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette’s participation in both the French and American revolutions and his dedication to the principles of democracy.
In the early 1800’s, Liberty Island was known as Bedloe’s Island and was used as a fort, called Fort Wood. After the Civil War, it was designated as the site for the Statue of Liberty. Even though the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886, the island wasn’t officially renamed Liberty Island until 1956. The Statue was considered a lighthouse by the government for many years, until it became classified as a monument in 1924. Then, in 1933, the National Park Service took over all national monuments. The Statue is now maintained by the NPS and supported by private donors, such as The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation.
Plan A Visit
The Statue of Liberty is located on Liberty Island, just off of Liberty State Park. The Statue itself is a National Park, and while the NPS manages the site, there is only one approved concessionaire for visitors to buy tickets. Statue Citycruises offers ferry pickups in both Manhattan and New Jersey for guests to visit both Ellis Island and Liberty Island. Tickets are required and all entries are timed.
General admission is $24 per adult and includes roundtrip ferry transportation to the two islands as well as access to the grounds and museums. Pedestal or crown access tickets are also $24 for adults, but are more limited in quantity. Tickets are required for every visitor. Crown access tickets include access to the pedestal. The tickets are extremely limited and book up quickly. There is an elevator to take guests to the top of the pedestal, but access to the crown is by stairs only. From the pedestal to the crown is 162 steps.
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The Statue of Liberty Museum opened in 2019 and has exhibits about the design, history, and construction of the statue. The original torch is on display, and there are many old photos and illustrations showing the statue over the years.