”Love of all the world is the most important thing, and liberty. Without liberty, there is no love”
On this post I will share some facts and information that I found quite fascinating about the Statue of Liberty the day I decided to take the 354 stairs to The Crown. I believe that it has a valuable history in spite of being a touristic attraction in New York.
The Statue of Liberty is probably one of the most iconic symbols that’s most recognized around the world that helps represent the Independence of America. It’s a gift from the French people to the US for the Declaration of Independence. Thus her classical face and drapery symbolizes the Roman goddess of Freedom, Liberta. Meanwhile, The crown represents the shedding light on the seven seas and continents. On the tablet she holds, it is inscribed ”July IV, MDCCLXXVI”, which means July 4th, 1776.
The location of the Statue of Liberty is Bedloe’s Island, most recently known as Liberty Island. Although, other cities courted the project, New York was the right place to be, considered the gateway to America. For Auguste Bartholdi, the island appeared to be a dramatic site visible from every arriving and departing ship. Before the Statue was assembled in 1876, the island had a strategic position to defend The City from enemy assault. At the time, the island already had an important existing feature, Fort Wood, a massive stone built in 1807 to protect New York from the British invasion, part of which still remains visible today at the base of the Statue. Initially, this element was considered an obstacle, but soon became a magnificent base for Bartholdi’s masterpiece.
Why the Statue is Green?
Many may wonder about the green color of the Statue of Liberty, the answer residing in the air. That said, the material used for it’s design is copper, found on many roofs around New York City, an example being the Woolworth Building. When copper is exposed to air, it undergoes chemical reactions that form layers of corrosion, known as patination. As in several occasions Bartholdi suggested gilding the Statue, he remained dissatisfied with the final result.
The Design Process
The complete process of building the Statue represented the union of the nineteenth century technology and an ancient art, of which the main task was to translate the Statue from a small scale to the next larger scale. The metalworking technique used here is called Repoussé, in which a malleable metal is shaped by hammering from the reverse side to create a design in low relief. The Statue’s copper skin weights more than 62,000 pounds (28 tons). Not only the heavy load of copper and the unusual and asymmetric shape of the Statue of Liberty with its off-balanced arm, but also the high winds of the New York Harbor made the task even more difficult. In order to overcome those obstacles, Bartholdi turned to Gustave Eiffel who devised an ingenious support system.
The Repoussé Technic was previously developed by Viollet-le-Duc who was the famed architect and restorer of Notre-Dame and other cathedrals. Surprisingly he was the man who did not build Liberty, whose plan for the Statue was curiously old-fashioned, relying on sheer weight for strength and stability.
The Statue’s Pedestal was designed by the American architect Richard Morris Hunt, while the Statue itself was designed by Auguste Bartholdi, representing the Franco-American agreement on proceeding with the development of the Statue of Liberty. The 87 foot ( 26 meters) granite pedestal is an architectural monument considered a ”Fortress of Liberty”. In the museum one can see the different models from the design process of the Pedestal. Behind the pedestal’s granite face stands a thick concrete core and massive steel beams to which the Statue’s iron skeleton is secured. The structure is considered to be so sturdy, that it has been said that to overturn the Statue one would have to overturn the island itself.
French artisans and craftsman began constructing the Statue in France under Bartholdi’s direction. The arm holding the torch was the first part to be completed and exposed at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, while the head and shoulders were completed years later and displayed at the Paris Universal Exposition. Once the Pedestal was completed in 1886, the Statue was assembled in an incredible fast pace by a crew of whom many were immigrants.
Last but not least I will share the source I used to get my ticket to the Crown of the Statue of Liberty. By accessing statueoflibertytickets.com, which is the main website, one can make a reservation and get a ticket to The Crown. I definitely recommend this option, since it cost the same and it allows you to explore not only the Crown, but it also gives you access to the pedestal, the museum on the interior of the Statue, as well as the rest of the island, the new museum on the island and the ferry trip, all included. On my first trip to the island, which was seven years ago, I only got to explore the island, not being able to visit the Statue itself, which was quite disappointing. As you need to make a reservation, usually a few months in advance, I strongly suggest anyone to plan it in advance and take the time to discover all the different areas the Statue and the island has to offer. From my own experience, that’s the only way worth every penny to discover such an iconic symbol worldwide!
I will end my so endless post with another famous quote by Miguel de Cervantes ”Liberty… is one of the greatest blessings that Heaven has bestowed upon mankind” and I hope by writing this post I will encourage everyone else in New York City to take their time to discover the beauty of the Island and the Statue of Liberty, which for many might be considered too touristy to be explored.