For most people, visiting New York will include making the obligatory trip to the Statue of Liberty. A world famous landmark, the Statue of Liberty was to the United States in 1886 France as a token of the friendship established between the two countries during the American Revolution.
The Statue of Liberty observation deck was closed following the September 11, 2001 attacks and was reopened on August 3, 2004. However, the National Park Service insists that the 168-step spiral staircase leading to the statue’s crown is a fire hazard and a terror risk and, though there is a move to reopen it, access to the crown has remained closed.
The nearest subway stops to the Statue of Liberty are Bowling Green on the 4/5 line; Whitehall Street on the N/R line; and South Ferry on the 1 (make sure to be in the first 5 cars of the subway to exit at South Ferry station). Exit the station and follow the signs to Castle Clinton where you can purchase tickets to the ferry to the Statue of Liberty.
Although there is no admission to Liberty State Park, you will have to purchase a ferry ticket to get there. Ticket prices for the ferry are as follows:
Senior Citizens (62 and over): $9.50
Children 4-12: $4.50
Children Under 4: Free
Ferry to Liberty Island
Ferries to Liberty Island run from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. The island closes at 6:00 pm and the last ferry returns to Battery Park around 6:30 pm. Ferry schedules are often changed so be sure to look at the official ferry schedule.
Statue of Liberty Tours
Once you get to Liberty Island you will be able to walk around freely. If you would like to have someone explain the area to you, the Observatory and Promenade Tours are both led my park rangers. The Promenade Tour takes you through the Statue of Liberty Museum, where you can see the original torch. It also takes you to Fort Wood and gives you plenty of time to take pictures. The Observatory Tour includes everything in the Promenade Tour plus a trip to the observation balcony, where you can see the internal structure of the statue and experience the amazing views of NY Harbor.
There is also a self-guided audio tour for people that want to experience the statue and its history at their own pace.
Security measures at the Statue of Liberty have been increased substantially since September 1, 2001. All visitors will be required to pass through metal detectors and have their bags inspected by x-ray prior to boarding the ferry to the island. You will also have to clear a second security station before entering the statue if you take the Observatory or Promenade Tour.