La-la-lady Liberty is trending! The iconic Statue of Liberty is making noise on Twitter today as the city—and international community—join together to celebrate its 130th year.
Properly named Liberty Enlightening the World, the Statue has become an iconic landmark for the United States since being given from France to the U.S. at the end of the 19th century.
Having stood at the foot of Manhattan—at the converging point of the East and Hudson Rivers—welcoming visitors and immigrants to New York City since 1886, the Statue of Liberty is indisputably one of the most recognized statues in the world. Despite commencing construction in ’84 and being named in ’86, New York City is already recognizing Lady Liberty’s 130 years of greatness.
Not as tall as you might expect—especially, if your only depiction of her was in Titanic—the Statue of Liberty (SOL) measures 93-metres from the ground up to the top of the torch. Weighing in at 204 metric tonnes, the statue was the first imagined by Edouard de Laboulaye and, later, designed by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi. Laboulaye thought that a grand monument should be offered to the United States, by France, in celebration of the American Revolution and the abolition of slavery. The statue, which quickly became a welcome beacon for the flood of immigrants arriving to America by boat, is arguably one of the greatest gifts bestowed to the United States. At the time it was erected, Laboulaye simply hoped that the statue would spark a moment towards democracy among the French people—who, at the time, were subject to the repressive monarchy of Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (Napoleon III).
Today, at 130, Lady Liberty has more blockbuster film credits under her name than half of the actors on a SAG red carpet (notably: Titanic, Planet of the Apes, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow—the list goes on and on). Attracting around 4 million visitors each year, more than the London Eye and just a couple million less than the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty might be old (well, older than Betty White), but she is not going anywhere.
For aspiring SOL experts, below are 10 fun facts to share with friends—and bonus tidbits for a chuckle or two.
10 fun facts on Lady Liberty
1. At the time of its creation, in 1886, the Statue of Liberty was the tallest iron structure in the world.
2. The statue’s robed figure is meant to represent the Roman goddess of freedom, Libertas.
3. There are replicas of the Statue in more than 20 countries, the most notable of which are found in Paris, France and on the Las Vegas Strip.
4. Andy Warhol’s painting of the “Statue of Liberty” from his Pop Art series is estimated to be worth more than $35 million.
5. Although it is not visible to those up-close, it is said that Lady Liberty’s feet are stepping out of broken shackles and chains; meant to symbolize her moving away from slavery.
6. The statue originally doubled as a lighthouse, guiding boats from as far as 24 miles away until 1902.
7. In 1916, German saboteurs set off an explosion in the statue which resulted in the torch-bearing arm being severely damaged. Since then, the stairs to the torch have been closed to the public.
8. In 1944, SOL’s crown flashed the Morse code equivalent (dot-dot-dot-dash) of V—signalling victory for the Allies.
9. When winds are strong (around 50 miles-per-hour), Lady Liberty can sway up to 3 inches with her torch swaying up to 5 inches.
10. It is believed that Lady Liberty is struck by lightning around 600 times each year.
1. With a size 879 shoe, the Statue of Liberty might just have the largest feet on earth.
2. Lady Liberty’s waist stretches a lengthy 35-feet; jogging pants are her only option.
3. Miss America (yes, from the comic book of the same name) was given superhuman powers from the statue.
4. The statue is basically an OG-selfie. Its face is said to have been modelled after the sculptor’s mother, Charlotte.
Fact you didn’t want to know
Two people have committed suicide by jumping off the SOL; the first instance was in 1929 and the second in ’32. Others have since attempted the jump but survived.
How to get there
The Statue of Liberty, Ellis and Liberty Islands and the nearby Ellis Island Immigration Museum are the perfect places to bring the family when visiting New York. As private boats are prohibited from docking on the island, the best way to see the statue up-close is by ferry—boarded at the tip of Lower Manhattan in Battery Park. Lines can be rather lengthy at times, and ferry passengers must pass through intense airport-style security, so plan the visit with enough time to get over to the islands (the entire trip can last around 3-4 hours in high season).
Staying downtown? Cab over to the park. Uptown or midtown? Try subway lines 4 or 5 to Bowling Green.
Tip from the editor
If looking to enjoy more than one attraction while in NYC, get a CityPASS—it offers remarkable savings on the top tourist attractions in the Big Apple and lets you skip the line at a handful of places (very handy when trying to climb Empire State or Top of the Rock during high season).
CityPASS can be ordered online or purchased at any of the participating attractions; in New York City, for $114, travellers can enjoy access to the Empire State Building (two times in one day!), American Museum of Natural History, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Top of the Rock or the Guggenheim, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island or a Circle Line sightseeing cruise and access to either the 9/11 Memorial and Museum or a visit to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on the Hudson River.