Know how to visit Liberty Island and Ellis Island!

Historical facts.

25 October 2022

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Who doesn’t dream of visiting the great Statue of Liberty? Many New Yorkers have never been to Liberty Island, still, they see the statue every day. I think every visitor of the city must take a ferry to approach this undeniable symbol of New York.

Liberty Island is one of the cheapest things to do in New York. The tour also includes a visit to Ellis Island, a reception center of emigrants during the mass migration from Europe. For only $24 you will visit both islands and the museums on them. The ferry to the islands departs from two ports – New Jersey and Battery Park. When we visited the islands in September 2022, the highest point open to tourists was the pedestal of the statue. The next month, the crown also opened, although with limited access, check out the calendar to find available days and reserve a ticket in advance.

When you board the ferry, everything seems just amazing. On the one hand, you contemplate the skyscrapers of Manhattan, on the other, you are approaching this great woman for the first time, and you cannot resist grabbing your phone to take a selfie with her. Moments like this are remembered for a lifetime. So why is the statue so famous and what makes it so great?

Historical facts about Liberty island

Lady Liberty represents the concept of an American dream, what thousands of emigrants came here for, leaving their homes forever. This light emanating from her is the first thing that people saw from the ships when they arrived in the promised land. The statue itself was inspirated by the Roman goddess of freedom Libertas. Lady Liberty is a genuine symbol of equality, patriotism and human rights.

The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French people to the United States. An ardent supporter of America, Eduardo de Laboulet wanted to commemorate the centenary of the Declaration of Independence, as well as to celebrate close relationships between France and America. Creation of a masterpiece was entrusted to the sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi. During the construction process, the sculptor asked for help from the well-known Gustave Eiffel, who designed the tower in Paris and the bridge in Porto. Eiffel’s task was to build a metal structure that would hold the entire statue. The statue was completed in 1884 and it was expecting a long journey across the Atlantic.

Museum of Liberty island

In the museum, we can see the statue’s original torch, which was forced to be replaced in 1984 due to the impossibility of repair, as time and corrosion damaged it. We can also find a replica of the statue’s face of its original color, which turned green over time.

Pedestal of Lady Liberty

You can lift the pedestal on foot or by elevator, by making a long queuing. In 2022, a small number of people were allowed into the elevator at the same time, apparently still due to Covid-19. The views from the pedestal are simply amazing.

Views from the pedestal

Ellis island

Finally, we arrived at Ellis Island, feeling the same way as the emigrants felt who arrived in the second half of the 1800s. The history of this place is impressive. In my opinion, the Ellis Island Museum is one of the most worthwhile museums in New York.

Ellis island

Historical facts about Ellis island

In the 1800s, the largest mass emigration from Europe in history began due to political and economic instability and religious persecution. An immigration office was opened in Manhattan’s Battery Park, operating from 1855 to 1890. Immigrants were met in New York and then redistributed to other states of America.

Ellis Island served as a medical and legal checkpoint. Those people who traveled in first or second class were not subject to inspection at Ellis Island, as it was believed that a person who could afford first or second class would not be a troublesome society member in America for medical or legal reasons. However, if a person was obviously sick, regardless of class, he/she would be inspected and, if necessary, quarantined at the Ellis Island Immigration Facility.

Ellis Island Registry

People who arrived at Ellis Island were subjected to many hours of inspection, and the island was called the “Isle of Tears”. Despite its reputation, all immigrants were treated with respect, and only two percent of people were sent back for reasons of dangerous contagious diseases or their criminal record.

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