20 Jan Taking the Ferry to the Statue of Liberty
Every time I told a New Yorker that I was going to visit the Statue of Liberty, they admitted they had never actually taken the ferry to Liberty Island. In fact I didn’t meet a single New Yorker who had set foot on the island. I found this quite curious since it’s one of the city’s most famous landmarks, but I guess it is just a touristy thing to do.
Celebrating her 125th year, the Statue of Liberty isn’t just any old statue. Holding a torch in one hand and a tablet inscribed with the date of the American Declaration of Independence in the other, she’s become a symbol of freedom and hope for many people around the world. When immigrants arrived on ships to America, the Statue of Liberty was seen as a welcoming beacon, reassuring them that everything was going to be OK.
The ferry to the Statue of Liberty leaves from Battery Park, which you can get to by taking the subway and getting off at Bowling Green. The Statue Cruises ferry is the only way to get to Liberty & Ellis Islands and the departures in December ran every half hour from 09:30-03:30.
As with most of the landmarks in New York City, you have to pass through airport-style security before you are allowed to board the ferry. Once on-board, I sat on the top deck so I could get a good view of the Statue on our way to the island and since I suffer from motion sickness, I was hoping they would start the engines ASAP. A seagull was perched on the railing and some tourists were trying to feed it and take its picture, which I thought was highly amusing since it looked rather threatening. Having spent half my childhood by the seaside in England, I try my best to avoid the vicious creatures at all cost.
Approaching Liberty Island, I couldn’t decide whether Lady Liberty was smaller or bigger than I thought she’d be. She appeared quite small from the ferry, but then when I was stood at the base of her plinth, she looked enormous.
Unfortunately the Statue of Liberty is closed to the public for a year while it undergoes renovations, so I was unable to go inside, which is a shame since it would have been nice to see the museum exhibits and climb to the top of the pedestal. Instead I walked around the base of Lady Liberty and had my picture taken with her.
The island itself is rather small and takes only a few minutes to walk around, but it’s quite relaxing and if you look across the water there’s a great view of the lower Manhattan skyline.
There are a LOT of seagulls on the island, so watch out if you decide to grab something to eat from the cafe!