Friday, February 22, 2013

Visiting the Statue of Liberty - The New Colossus

Picking up where I left off in my second-to-last post about our trip to New York City, this post covers the beginning of our second day in the Big Apple last August.  One of our top priorities for this trip was to visit the Statue of Liberty, so we got a relatively early start in the day and took the subway from mid-town/Chelsea down to Battery Park, then bought our tickets within an old coastal defense fort for the ferry to go to the Statue of Liberty.  It was a beautiful, sunny, hot day, and the colors and shade-shadow patterns on Lady Liberty were quite striking. Although unfortunately the inside of the Statue was not open to tourists going up into her crown due to restoration work, we still got some great photos (mainly taken by my wife) and could walk right up to the base and touch it. 

America is a very diverse country comprised chiefly (with the exception of indigenous Native Americans) of immigrants or descendants of immigrants.  For my wife, an immigrant from the Philippines, this was a particularly important and emotionally moving place to visit, as it was for me too, even though my ancestors immigrated long before the Statue was built.  When I was standing in line to buy tickets, I met a man originally from Guatemala who told me that it was his life-long dream to take his kids to visit the Statue, and now he was finally able to do it.  For many, the Statue of Liberty is an icon evocative of strong emotion, as many of the immigrants who came to the US at Ellis Island near the Statue of Liberty were escaping poverty and/or political or religious persecution... Lady Liberty became the "Mother of Exiles" referred to in the poem below. The statue is the allegory of liberty and new-found freedom, as evidenced by the broken shackles of tyranny and oppression that lie at her feet as she strides forward (she's not standing with both feet flat on the ground; the heel of her right foot is off the ground).  Few people realize this because the broken chains can only be seen from above. 
"The New Colossus" is a sonnet by Emma Lazarus (1849–87), written in 1883 (the Statue was finished and dedicated in 1888) and, in 1903, engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the lower level of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty.  The first two lines and the ninth line refer to a much older statue, the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door! 


Family photo - we're wearing audio tour gear loaned to tourists  free of charge -very informative.
From the tip of the flames of the torch to where our feet are on the ground is 305.5 feet (~93 meters)

'Celebrating 125 Years - The Statue of Liberty'.  
This is when we first arrived on the island, shortly after we got off the boat.  

As you can see, the Statue is on a small island... view of Liberty Island from the ferry

At the base of the Statue of Liberty

Statue of Liberty from the ferry

Lady Liberty under renovation

View of southern Manhattan and One World Trade Center from Liberty Island

Our daughter sporting on her chest a gold plastic "Junior Ranger" badge given (for free) by the US National Parks Ranger for answering some questions about the history of the Statue.  The Statue of Liberty Junior Ranger badge is available exclusively at the Statue of Liberty.
http://www.nps.gov/learn/juniorranger.cfm

Lady Liberty's copper exterior has been oxidized to its green color by the elements.  The thickness of this copper "skin" is 3/32 inch (2.38 mm), about the thickness of a U.S. penny coin. From the tip of the torch to the bottom-most part of the green copper base is about 140 feet (~43 meters).

JFK quote about immigrants at Statue of Liberty ferry

Striking shade/shadow of Liberty's gown folds
The tablet she holds, inscribed 'July IV MDCCLXXVI' (1776) is 23 feet, 7 inches long and 13 feet, 7 inches wide.

On the ferry to Liberty Island - you can see a bit better here that she is striding forward with her right foot behind the left. 

Touching the base of the Statue of Liberty
- the top of this photo gives you a sense of the size of the Statue



I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

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