on November 1, 2013
When the US Government went on shutdown on October 1, 2013 we thought that surely it would be over within a week or ten days. When it lingered on into a second full week, we started to worry that our 10/21/13 visit may be at risk. Fortunately, the State of New York and the US National Park Service came to a five day agreement to reopen the Statue of Liberty through 10/18/13 which wouldn't have been of any benefit to us. Finally, the government got their act together and all of the US National Parks were reopened just in time for our scheduled date.When visiting the Statue of Liberty, you must buy a ticket with Statue Cruises from one of two ferry departures . . . Battery Park in NYC or Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ. We chose for the New Jersey option, in spite of many suggestions on Trip Advisor to use the Battery Park departure option. Once at the Statue of Liberty and after seeing the hundreds of people arriving and departing through New York, it was clear that we made the right choice. I think our ferry over to Liberty Island had around 25 people while our return trip had a few more, but nothing like what we saw on the boats going back over to NYC.During the 20 minute ferry trip, from the New Jersey departure point, we enjoyed the view of Manhattan and several of the notable landmarks including the Empire State Building and the One World Trade Center aka Freedom Tower. As we passed by Ellis Island, we lamented about it still being closed after last year's Hurricane Sandy that destroyed so much of the coastal areas of New Jersey and New York. The good news for future visitors, Ellis Island reopened earlier this week (10/28/13).When buying your tour tickets, you will have the option to buy the ferry + island only; the ferry + monument (aka "pedestal") or the ferry + crown. "Crown tickets" sell out months in advance and are specific to the person for whom it was purchased. David was the only one in our group physically able to climb the 350+ stairs to the statue's crown; while his mom and I bought the monument/pedestal tickets. We bought our tickets back in August to give folks an idea of how far out you should be looking to buy, especially since we were in the "off" season. I imagine that tickets for the summer tourist season probably sell out at least three months in advance.Tickets for the monument/pedestal can sell out so it is advisable to purchase your tickets in advance. Further, while "reserved" tickets (no monument/pedestal or crown access) are available at the ferry offices in both New York and New Jersey, visitors are warned about long lines and a possible sell out for those buying tickets on the day they hope to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Currently tickets are $17 for adults and $20 for adults wishing to climb to the crown.Upon arrival on Liberty Island, visitors are encouraged to pick up a audio tour receiver, which is included with the price of all Statue of Liberty Tour tickets. Guests are also encouraged to take one of the ranger led tours that are offered throughout the day. Inside the Statue of Liberty on the second floor is a very interesting museum with a number of exhibits telling the story of Lady Liberty. The ranger led tours and museum are also included in all tickets.After we walked through the museum, we headed UP to the pedestal level which is the fifth floor. For those with a physical disability, there is an elevator to take you from the lobby level up to the museum level (2P). Another elevator will take you from the 2p level up to 5P. For those able bodied, you are expected to walk the stairs, a total of 377 stairs from the lobby level to the top of the crown. The walk from 5P up to the crown represents 146 steps . . . one way!The views from the observation area of 2P and the lookout at the pedestal level of 5P were awesome. David said the hike up the extra 146 steps to the crown was worth it, although the photo ops were a challenge looking through the small windows of her crown.We decided to have a late lunch at the Crown Cafe located on Liberty Island adjacent to the gift shop. The food was decent but a bit on the pricey side. Our total check came to $40 for a burger with fries, two fish baskets with fries and three soft drinks. I suppose that was to be expected since tourists are a captive market upon arrival on Liberty Island.To purchase tickets, Statue Cruises is the only authorized vendor. Visitors are encouraged to buy directly from them to avoid paying additional fees or risking purchasing bogus counterfeit tickets. They can be purchased online at: http://www.statuecruises.com/ or by calling 1.877-LADYTIX (877-523-9849).
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