Kathleen Jay/Special to The SF ExaminerPerfect symmetry: Located on the 12-acre Liberty Island between lower Manhattan and New Jersey

Kathleen Jay/Special to The SF ExaminerPerfect symmetry: Located on the 12-acre Liberty Island between lower Manhattan and New Jersey

Celebrate the Statue of Liberty turning 125 in New York

At the end of October, the Statue of Liberty — a gift from France to symbolize the friendship between the two countries and a shared love of liberty — celebrated its 125th anniversary. The American icon known as as Lady Liberty was dedicated in 1886 by President Grover Cleveland, and receives millions of visitors every year.

Access to the interior of the monument is temporarily limited due to long-planned, $27.25 million facility upgrade of the statue’s interior. Visitors can still enjoy the outdoor grounds of Liberty Island — a federal property within the territory of New York state, even though it is closer to New Jersey — and enjoy many of Lady Liberty’s new, high-tech perks that the National Park Service has recently implemented.

Virtual views
Three webcams that stream views of the Manhattan skyline, the Hudson River and Liberty Island have been installed on the statue’s torch. On clear days, each camera provides a different view: One camera provides unobstructed panoramas and live views of the famed New York City skyline, Hudson River and the New York Harbor; another camera provides an a ultrawide-angle interactive view of the famed golden torch; and the final camera looks downward. Known as the Torchcam, views can be accessed via ellisisland.org/torchcam.

Things to know
Getting to Liberty Island may take only 25 minutes via ferry from either New York City or New Jersey, but waiting to board the ferry and going through security is where visitors should be prepared to wait.

First, visit the National Park Service website for updated details on visiting the Statue of Liberty. Currently, the National Park Service advises visitors of a wait time of more than 90 minutes to board ferries. The wait time includes security clearance. For visitors choosing to arrive on the final ferry departure from mainland at
3:30 p.m., they will only be able to visit one of the two islands — either Liberty or Ellis islands.

In terms of security, visitors should be prepared for airport-style security screening before boarding vessels. Note: No large bags are allowed on Liberty Island; there are no locker facilities for large bags at either the New York and New Jersey embarkation points.

Next, decide from where you are going to get a ferry to Liberty island: Either from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan — easily accessible by subway — or from New Jersey’s Liberty State Park, which is accessible via Hudson-Bergen Light Rail system. For those driving, Liberty State Park also has ample parking and easy access to the New Jersey Turnpike.

Finally, purchase ferry tickets in advance. Trying to get a ticket the morning you want to go can be almost impossible, as many of the timed ferries are pre-sold out. Statue Cruises is the only provider of ferry service to Liberty Island.

IF YOU GO

Statue of Liberty website and Torch Cam: www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm
Facebook: www.facebook.com/statuelibrtynps
Twitter: www.twitter.com/statuelibrtynps
Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/statuelibrtynps
Statue Cruise ferry tickets to the Statue of Liberty: www.statuecruises.com

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