After my first visit to the “City” (The locals don’t call it NYC or New York City, it’s just City and I have got their lingo now) 😉 I realised it’s only wise to plan multiple visits. For the City is far too big and diverse for a couple of visits. So, this time it was Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building.
I always start my tour from New York Penn Station. With a mental to-do list, I either walk or take the Subway depending on how far my destination is. The only means of transport from the City to Liberty Island is through a ferry from Battery Park. As we had to spend a lot of time in queues to buy tickets and board the cruise, we thought of taking the Subway to South Ferry Station, which is the closest Subway station to Battery Park, to save some time. From the Battery Park, you can either take the Statue Cruise or Statin Island Ferry. A roundtrip on Statue Cruise would cost $18.5 per person. Whereas the Staten Island Ferry is free of cost and does not dock at the Liberty Island. As this was my first visit, I wanted to get up-close-and-personal with Lady Liberty so, we took the Statue Cruise. Liberty Island can also be reached from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.
The Statue of Liberty, representing the Roman goddess is a gift from France to the USA. The copper statue was constructed in France and reassembled in the USA. The imposing figure stands as an icon of freedom. On arriving at the Liberty Island, we picked up our audio guides which gave out a detailed information of the Statue. The Information Center offers brochures chronicling the story of the Statue of Liberty.
Few interesting facts: The torch flame is covered with gold. The Statue holds a tablet in her left hand which has the US Independence day (July 4, 1776) inscribed in Roman numbers.The crown has seven rays, symbolic to each continent. A broken chain at her feet symbolises broken tyranny. The present colour of the Statues is the result of oxidation of copper. There are steps from the pedestal on which the statue is erected, leading to an observatory in the crown!
The island has a cafeteria and a souvenir shop. Construction of a museum is underway which will open to visitors in 2019. We took a stroll around the island admiring the Statue and the panoramic view of Manhattan and Jersey City before taking the ferry back to Battery Park.
After seeing the Manhattan skyline from sea level, we wanted to enjoy the bird’s eye view as well. What better place than from atop the Empire State Building! The ESB offers a 360° view of the New York City and beyond from three different levels of its total 103 levels. We had to stand in a serpentine queue to buy our tickets and board the elevator to the observation deck. Tickets are priced differently based on the deck you choose. A ticket for an adult to the main deck at 86th floor would cost $34 whereas, the top and main deck, which are 102nd and 86th respectively, costs $55. Both the tickets have a common admittance to the 80th floor. It takes less than a minute by elevator to get to the 80th floor, which contains a gift shop and an exhibit detailing the building’s construction and how energy-efficient the building is. Although ESB is not the tallest building in the world, one title can’t be taken away is the fact that it was the first building in the world with more than 100 floors. I was amazed to learn the time taken for construction was just a little over a year! From the 80th floor, visitors can either climb the stairs or take another elevator to the 86th floor, where the Observation deck is located. Apparently, you can see five neighbouring states from the Observatory. Honestly, we could not tell one from the other. The 102nd floor has another observatory but without an outdoor promenade, unlike the 86th which has both indoor and outdoor promenades.
We could find little fun facts all over the observatory such as the ESB being the most photographed building in the world; that its topmost floor is used for broadcasting majority TV and Radio stations in the City; Linkedin, Coty, Walgreen are among the many other tenants of the Empire State Building; that the building has its own Zip Code and NYC has seven area codes!
No visit to NYC is complete without experiencing the top of the Empire State Building. One might not prefer to pay a visit every time as the tickets are highly priced, but once in a lifetime should not hurt.