A date with Lady Liberty – touring Liberty Island

It had been about 20 years since my last trip to Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty and I honestly wasn’t quite sure what to expect.  I’d heard the stories of ridiculously long lines, onerous security screening and other reasons not to deal with the hassles of the island.  Still, I wanted to take a look at the statue up close when I would finally actually remember the visit a little better.

We got to Battery Park an hour and a half before our scheduled ferry time.  After a short wait in line to collect our tickets.  There are two types of tickets available for tours of the island – with or without access to the pedestal.  The pedestal tickets are harder to come by as they are much more limited in number, and when we booked we could not reserve those in advance.  So it was rather surprising when we stopped by the ticket booth that we actually received pedestal access tickets anyways.  I have no idea why we got them, but we did.  Bonus!

The security wait on shore was rather annoying – like at an airport but much of it spent standing outside rather than in a terminal.  Then it was on to the ferry – 90 minutes ahead of our officially ticketed time but no one seemed to be checking that.  A short 20 minute ferry ride out to the island and we were finally able to get up close with the statue.

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The statue is truly impressive, both up close and from afar.


IMGP4635The pedestal line was even more ridiculous than the line to get on the ferry.  It took over an hour and involved a second security screening, pretty much just like the first, though with the added bonus of the “puffer” trace detection machines.  At that point I was pretty sure that whatever we saw wouldn’t be worth the extra wait, and I think that was true.  The museum at the base of the pedestal was very impressive.  The original torch is in there, and that was fun to see.  There were also some of the original metal straps that used to hold the copper on to the frame and   And we got a great quick lesson on the history from one of the Park Service rangers wandering around. 

But the views from the pedestal weren’t worth the time in line.

The views from the harbor are pretty much the same from the Staten Island Ferry, so unless you really want to be up close and personal with the statue (and spend the cash), I’d skip the ride.

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Seth Miller

I'm Seth, also known as the Wandering Aramean. I was bit by the travel bug 30 years ago and there's no sign of a cure. I fly ~200,000 miles annually; these are my stories. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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