Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola (New York City, U.S.A.)

The very first mass we attended in the US, on the eve of the Feast of St. John the Baptist, was held at the beautiful Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. It was officiated by the very friendly and welcoming Fr. Dennis J. Yesalonia, S.J.

Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola

This Roman Catholic parish church, under the authority of the Archdiocese of New York, is administered by the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). The church is part of a Jesuit complex on the block that includes Wallace Hall, the parish hall (beneath the church), the rectory (at the midblock location on Park Ave.), the grade school of St. Ignatius’s School (on the north midblock location of 84th St., behind the church) and the high school of Loyola School (also 980 Park Ave.) at the northwest corner of Park Ave. and 83rd St. The Regis High School (55 East 84th St.), another Jesuit high school, occupies the midblock location on the north side of 84th St..

Established in 1851 as St. Lawrence O’Toole‘s (a twelfth-century bishop of Dublin) Church, a wooden church was erected in 1852 but was replaced, in 1853, by a modest brick structure. In 1886, it was entrusted to the care of the Society of Jesus  the Jesuits’ first major apostolate in the Yorkville area of New York.  In 1898, it was granted permission by Rome to change the patron saint of the parish to St. Ignatius of Loyola.

The church’s foundation was built from 1884 to 1886 and the present German Baroque-style church, designed by Arch. J. William Schickel of Schickel & Ditmars, was built from 1895 to 1900. On December 11, 1898, it was dedicated by the Most Reverend Michael Corrigan, third Archbishop of New York. On March 4, 1969, the church was declared as a New York City Landmark and, on July 24, 1980, the church was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The beautiful church interior

Notable people whose funerals were held here include:

This 90 ft. high and 87 ft. wide architectural gem has a Classical Park Avenue exterior that is not static, with the central division raised in slight relief beyond the side divisions.  Its façade has 2 unbroken vertical orders, a Palladian arched window and a tri-part horizontal division which suggest the central nave and side aisles beyond. Directly beneath the pediment are inscribed the words “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” (“To the Greater Glory of God”, the motto of the Society of Jesus,  and the Great Seal of the Society (composed of a cross, three nails, and the letters I H S, the first three letters of Jesus’ name in Greek which later became a Latin acronym denoting Jesus the Savior of Humankind).

The altar

The varying intervals between the symmetrically positioned pilasters create a subtly undulating dynamism that introduces a note of syncopated rhythm reminiscent of the exterior of Il Gesù, the Jesuits’ mother church in Rome. Two copper-capped tower bases, on either side of the central pediment, are hints of the abandoned grander scheme of a pair of towers designed to reach 210 ft. above the ground. The church’s intricate marble work, executed by the firm of James G. Batterson, Jr., and John Eisele of New York, includes American (pink Tennessee), European (yellow Siena, veined Pavonazzo and white Carrara) and African (red-veined Numidian and pink Algerian) marble. The soaring ceiling was beautifully crafted and the intricate stained glass windows tells the story of Jesus life, death and resurrection.

The high ceiling

The marble mosaic Stations of the Cross panels were designed by Professor Paoletti for Salviati & Company of Venice.  The great 12-panel bronze doors, located at the sanctuary end of the side aisles, were designed by the Rev. Patrick O’Gorman, S.J. (pastor from 1924 to 1929) and were crafted by the Long Island Bronze Company. The Carrara marble Jesuit statues (including St. Francis Xavier and St. John Francis Regis) were carved by the Joseph Sibbel Studio of New York.  The church organ, built by N.P. Mander of London, was dedicated in 1993 and is New York City’s largest mechanical action (tracker) pipe organ.

The semicircular wrought-iron baptistery screen of gilt flaming swords, in the Chapel of John the Baptist, was wrought by Mr. John Williams to the designs of William Schickel. The Carrara marble baptistery font, set above the marble pavement, was designed “by Heaton, Butler & Bayne of London, with slight modifications made by Mr. John Buck of the Ecclesiastical Department of the Gorham Company of New York (also responsible for the cutting and installing the mosaic’s tesserae – the pieces comprising the mosaic).

The baptistery’s altar and the surrounding curved walls, designed and executed under the direction of Mr. Caryl Coleman of the Ecclesiastical Department of the Tiffany Glass and Decorating Company (who also executed the baptistery’s semi-dome), were made with Pavonazzo marble inlaid with mosaics (composed of that company’s justly famous opalescent Favrile glass, as delicate as the Venetian glass mosaics above are bold).

Church of St. Ignatius of Loyola: 980 Park Ave. cor. East 84th St., New York City, New York 10028.  Tel: +212-288-3588. Website: Mass Schedule: Mondays-Fridays, 8:30 AM, 12:10 PM and 5:30 PM; Saturdays, 8:30 AM an 5:30 PM; Sundays, 8 AM, 9:30 AM, 11 AM (Solemn Mass) and 7:30 PM.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum (New York City, U.S.A.)

The National September 11 Memorial & Museum (also known as the 9/11 Memorial and 9/11 Memorial Museum), located at the former location of the Twin Towers (destroyed during the September 11 attacks) at the World Trade Center site, are the principal memorial and museum, respectively, that commemorate the September 11, 2001 attacks, which killed 2,977 victims, and the World Trade Center bombing of 1993, which killed six.

September 11 Memorial Plaza

The memorial was designed by Israeli architect Michael Arad (whose Reflecting Absence, on January 2004,was selected as the winner, from among 5,201 entries from 63 countries, of the World Trade Center Site Memorial Competition) of Handel Architects, a New York- and San Francisco-based firm, who worked with landscape-architecture firm Peter Walker and Partners on the design.

Layout of Memorial Plaza

Featuring a forest of trees with two square pools in the center where the Twin Towers stood, its design was consistent with the original Daniel Libeskind master plan which called for the memorial to be 9.1 m (30 ft.) below street level (originally 21 m./70 ft.) in a plaza. Started on August 2006, the memorial was dedicated on September 11, 2011, the tenth anniversary of the attacks, an was opened to the public the following day. The museum was dedicated on May 15, 2014 and opened on May 21.

South Pool

Two 4,000 m2 (1 acre) pools, with the largest man-made waterfalls (intended to mute the sounds of the city, making the site a contemplative sanctuary) in the United States, comprise the footprints of the Twin Towers, symbolizing the loss of life and the physical void left by the attacks. Delta Fountains engineered the fountain. Many parts of the memorial were planted by Walker with white oaks while almost 400 sweet gum and swamp white oak trees fill the remaining 24,000 m2 (6 acres) of the Memorial Plaza, enhancing the site’s reflective nature.

Parapet on wall with bronze plates inscribed with victims’ names

The parapets of the walls of the memorial pools are attached with 76 bronze plates inscribed with the names, arranged according to an algorithm, of 2,983 victims – 2,977 killed in the September 11 attacks and six killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Flower offering for one of the victims

Around the perimeter of the North Pool are the names of the employees and visitors in the North Tower (WTC 1), the passengers and crew of American Airlines Flight 11 (which struck the North Tower), and the 5 employees and a visitor, all adults, of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, all memorialized on Panel N-73.

North Pool

Around the perimeter of the South Pool are the names of the employees and visitors in the South Tower (WTC 2), the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 175 (which struck the South Tower), the employees, visitors, and bystanders in the immediate vicinity of the North and South Towers, the first responders (listed with their units) who died during rescue operations, the passengers and crew of United Airlines Flight 93 (which crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania) and American Airlines Flight 77 (which struck the Pentagon), and the employees at the Pentagon.

Though company names are not included, the company employees and visitors are listed together. Passengers on the 2 United Airlines and 2 American Airline flights are listed under their flight numbers. The phrase “and her unborn child” follows the names of ten pregnant women who died on 9/11 and one who died in the 1993 attack.

Survivor Tree

The “Survivor Tree,” a symbol of hope and rebirth, is a 2.4 m.( 8-ft.) tall callery pear tree (planted during the 1970s near Buildings 4 and 5, in the vicinity of Church St.) which was recovered, badly burned with one living branch, from the rubble at the World Trade Center site on October 2001. Nursed back to health by the Bronx nursery, the then 9.1 m. (30 ft.) tall tree was returned, on December 2010, to the World Trade Center site and is now a prominent part of the memorial.

September 11 Memorial Museum

The September 11 Memorial Museum, dedicated on May 15, 2014 and opened to the public on May 21, was built at the former location of Fritz Koenig‘s The Sphere, a large metallic sculpture placed in the middle of a large pool between the Twin Towers.  Designed by Davis Brody Bond, the museum, about 21 m. (70 ft.) below ground and accessible through a pavilion designed by Snøhetta,  encloses 10,000 m2 (110,000 sq. ft.) of publicly accessible space. Its exhibits include 23,000 images, 10,300 artifacts (including wrecked emergency vehicles, two tridents from the Twin Towers and pieces of metal from all seven World Trade Center buildings including the last piece of steel to leave Ground Zero in May 2002), nearly 2,000 oral histories of those killed  (mostly provided by friends and families) and over 500 hours of video.

National September 11 Memorial & Museum: 180 Greenwich St, New York City, New York 10007. Open daily, 7:30 AM – 9 PM. Admission: US$24/adult, children below 12 years old is free.

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (New York City, U.S.A.)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum

The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, often referred to as The Guggenheim, is the permanent home, of a continuously expanding collection of Impressionist, early Modern and contemporary art and also features special exhibitions throughout the year.

Museum Lobby

Overlooking Central Park, the site’s proximity to the park afforded relief from the noise, congestion and concrete of the city and nature also provided the museum with inspiration.  In 2013, nearly 1.2 million people visited the museum, and it hosted the most popular exhibition in New York City.


Established in 1939 by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation  (established in 1937, it fosters the appreciation of modern art) as the Museum of Non-Objective Painting.  The museum adopted its current name in 1952, after the death of its founder.

The skylight

In 1959, the museum moved, from rented space, to its current Modernist, distinctively cylindrical building, a landmark work of 20th-century architecture designed by Frank Lloyd Wright who experimented with his organic style in an urban setting.

It took him 15 years, 700 sketches, and six sets of working drawings to create the museum. The museum underwent extensive expansion and renovations in 1992 (when an adjoining tower was built) and from 2005 to 2008.

Three sculptures by Edgar Degas

Three sculptures by Constantin Brancusi

The building was conceived, by Rebay, as a “temple of the spirit” that would facilitate a new way of looking at the modern pieces in the collection.

The Studio (1928,oil and black crayon on canvas, Pablo Picasso)

Accordionist (1911, oil on canvas, Pablo Picasso)

Woman With Yellow Hair (1931, oil on canvas, Pablo Picasso)

The only museum designed by Wright and his last major work (he died six months before its opening on October 21, 1959), the appearance of the building, viewed from the street, is in sharp contrast to the typically rectangular Manhattan buildings that surround it (a fact relished by Wright).

Bend in the Road Through the Forest (Paul Cezanne)

Still Life Plate of Peaches (Paul Cezanne)

Still Life Flask, Glass and Jug (Paul Cezanne)

It looks like a white ribbon curled into a cylindrical stack, wider at the top than the bottom, and displaying nearly all curved surfaces.

Circumcision (oil on canvas, 1946, Jackson Pollock)

Plate from Poor Richard suite (1971, Philip Guston)

Internally, Wright’s plan for the viewing gallery was for the museum guests to ride to the top of the building by elevator, to descend, at a leisurely pace, along the gentle slope of the unique, continuous helical ramp gallery, extending up from ground level in a long, continuous spiral (recalling a nautilus shell) along the outer edges of the building and ending just under the ceiling skylight at the top.

The Antipope (December 1941–March 1942, Max Ernst)

Polyphonic (1945 Oil on canvas, Perle Fine)

The atrium of the building was to be viewed as the last work of art. The open rotunda afforded viewers the unique possibility of simultaneously seeing several bays of work on different levels and even to interact with guests on other levels.

Black Lines (Vassily Kandinsky)

Striped (1934, oil with sand on canvas, Vassily Kandinsky)

Wright’s spiral design, embracing nature, with continuous spaces flowing freely one into another, also expresses his take on Modernist architecture’s rigid geometry.

Dining Room on the Garden (1934-35, oil on canvas, Pierre Bonnard)

Invention (Composition No. 3) – 1933,oil on canvas, Rudolf Bauer

To reduce the cost, the building’s surface was made out of concrete, inferior to the stone finish, with a red-colored exterior, that Wright had wanted and which was never realized.

Men in the City (1919, oil on canvas, Fernand Leger)

The Smokers (1911-12, oil on canvas, Fernand Leger)

Also largely for financial reasons, Wright’s original plan for an adjoining tower, artists’ studios and apartments also went unrealized until the renovation and expansion.

Eiffel Tower (1911, oil on canvas, Robert Delaunay)

Portrait of Countess Albazzi, (1880, Pastel on primed canvas, Edouard Manet)

Wright’s carefully articulated lighting effects for the main gallery skylight had been compromised when it was covered during the original construction but, in 1992, was restored to its original design.

In the Vanilla Grove, Man and Horse (Paul Gaugin)

The Kiss (1927, Max Ernst)

The “Monitor Building” (as Wright called it), the small rotunda next to the large rotunda, was intended to house apartments for Rebay and Guggenheim but, instead, became offices and storage space. In 1965, the second floor of the Monitor building was renovated to display the museum’s growing permanent collection.

Nude Model in the Studio (1912-13, oil on burlap, Fernand Leger)

With the 1990–92 restoration of the museum, it was turned over entirely to exhibition space and christened the Thannhauser Building, in honor of art dealer Justin K. Thannhauser, one of the most important bequests to the museum. Much of the interior of the building was restored during the 1992 renovation.

Orphism (Robert Delauney)

Also in 1992, a new, adjoining rectangular 10-storey limestone tower, taller than the original spiral and designed by the architectural firm of Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects, expanded the exhibition space with the addition of four additional exhibition galleries with flat walls.

Knight Errant (1916, oil on canvas, Oskar Kokoschka)

Yellow Bar (Rolph Scarlett)

Between September 2005 and July 2008, the museum underwent a significant exterior restoration to repair cracks and modernize systems and exterior details. It was completed on September 22, 2008.  On October 6, 2008, the museum was registered as a National Historic Landmark.

Improvisation 28 (second version) – Vassily Kandinsky

In 2001, the museum opened the 8,200 sq. ft. (760 m2) Sackler Center for Arts Education (a gift of the Mortimer D. Sackler family), a facility located on the lower level of the museum, below the large rotunda.

Woman with Parakeet (1871, oil on canvas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir)

Listening (1920, oil on canvas, Heinrich Campendonk)

It provides classes and lectures about the visual and performing arts and opportunities to interact with the museum’s collections and special exhibitions through its labs, exhibition spaces, conference rooms and 266-seat Peter B. Lewis Theater.

Paris Through the Window (1913, oil on canvas, Marc Chagall)

The Flying Carriage (1913, oil on canvas, Marc Chagall)

The Soldier Drinks (1911-12, oil on canvas, Marc Chagall)

Beginning with Solomon R. Guggenheim‘s original collection works of the old masters since the 1890s, the museum’s collection (shared with the museum’s sister museums in Bilbao, Spain, and elsewhere) has grown organically, over eight decades. It is founded upon several important private collections. Here’s a chronology of the museum’s acquisitions:

Personage (1925, oil on canvas, Juan Miro)

  • In 1948, the collection was greatly expanded through the purchase of art dealer Karl Nierendorf’s estate of some 730 objects, notably German expressionist.

Mountains at Saint Remy (1889, oil on canvas, Vincent Van Gogh)

Landscape with Snow (1888, oil on canvas, Vincent Van Gogh)

Before the Mirror (1876, oil on canvas, Edouard Manet)

Arc of Petals (Alexander Calder)

Adam and Eve (Constantin Brancusi)

Little French Girl (Constantin Brancusi)

On Brooklyn Bridge (1917, oil on canvas, Albert Gleizes)

Woman with Animals (1914, oil on canvas, Albert Gleizes)

  • In 1992, the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation donated 200 of Mapplethorpe’s best photographs to the foundation, an acquisition that initiated the foundation’s photography exhibition program.  Spanning his entire output, it includes early collages, Polaroids, portraits of celebrities, self-portraits, male and female nudes, flowers and statues, mixed-media constructions and included his well-known 1998 Self-Portrait.

  • In 2001, a large collection of the Bohen Foundation was gifted to the foundation. It consists of commissioned works of art (Pierre Huyghe, Sophie Calle, etc.), with an emphasis on film, video, photography and new media.

The building has been widely praised and inspired many other architects. However, the design polarized architecture critics who believed that the building would overshadow the museum’s artworks.

Alchemy (Jackson Pollock)

Some artists have also protested the display of their work in such a space. The continuous spiral ramp gallery, tilted with non-vertical curved walls, presented challenges to the museum’s ability to present art at all as it is awkward and difficult to properly hang paintings in the shallow, windowless concave exhibition niches that surround the central spiral.

The Neighborhood of Jas de Bouffan (Paul Cezanne)

Bibemus (Paul Cezanne)

Canvasses must be mounted raised from the wall’s surface. Paintings hung slanted back would appear “as on the artist’s easel.” There was also limited space within the niches for sculpture.

The Break of Day (1937, oil on canvas, Paul Delvaux)

Landscape Near Antwerp (1906, oil on canvas, Georges Braque)

The slope of the floor and the curvature of the walls also combined to produce vexing optical illusions. Three-dimensional sculpture or any vertical object appears tilted in a “drunken lurch.”

The Sun in Its Jewel Case (Yves Tanguy)

To compensate for the space’s weird geometry, special plinths were constructed at a particular angle, so that pieces were not at a true vertical would appear to be so.

The Red Bird (1944, oil on canvas, Adolph Gottlieb)

Fruit Dish on a Checkered Table Cloth (Juan Gris)

However, this trick proved impossible for an Alexander Calder mobile whose wire inevitably hung at a true plumb vertical, “suggesting hallucination” in the disorienting context of the tilted floor.

The Fourteenth of July (Pablo Picasso)

Bird on a Tree (Pablo Picasso)

Three Bathers (Pablo Picasso)

Some of the most popular and important art exhibitions held here include:

  • The first season “Works and Process,” a series of performances at the Guggenheim begun in 1984, consisted ofPhilip Glass with Christopher Keene on Akhnaten and Steve Reich and Michael Tilson Thomas on The Desert Music.
  • “Africa: The Art of a Continent” (1996)
  • “China: 5,000 Years” (1998)
  • “Brazil: Body & Soul” (2001)
  • “The Aztec Empire” (2004)
  • The Art of the Motorcycle– an unusual exhibition of commercial art installations of motorcycles.
  • The 2009 retrospective of Frank Lloyd Wright – the museum’s most popular exhibit (since it began keeping such attendance records in 1992), it showcased the architect on the 50th anniversary of the opening of the building.

Dancers in Green and Yellow (1903, pastel and charcoal on tracing paper mounted to paperboard, Edgar Degas)

In The International, a shootout occurs in the museum. A life-size replica of the museum was built for this scene. 

Tableau No. 2, Composition No. VII (1913, Oil on Canvas, Piet Mondrian)

Composition 8 (Piet Mondrian)

Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum: 1071 Fifth Avenue corner East 89th Street, Upper East Side, Manhattan, New York City, NY 10128, USA. Tel: +1 212-423-3500. E-mail: Open 10 AM – 5:45 PM. Admission: US$25 for adults, US$18 for students and seniors (65 years + with valid ID), children below 12 years old is free.

Statue of Liberty National Monument (New York City, U.S.A.)

The iconic Statue of Liberty

Our visit to New York City wouldn’t be complete without visiting its iconic Statue of Liberty.  After breakfast at our hotel, we all took a taxi to Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, our gateway to Liberty Island, in Upper New York Bay. Though entrance to the national monument is free, we had to pay the cost (US$25.5 for adults and US$16 for children 4 – 12 years old) for the ferry service that all visitors must use.

A Statue Cruises ferry

Since 2007, Statue Cruises has been operating the transportation and ticketing facilities, replacing Circle Line, which had operated the service since 1953. The ferries also depart from Liberty State Park in Jersey City.  After paying up, we all boarded our ferry that would take us to Liberty Island. 

L-R: Cheska, Kyle (partly hidden), Grace, Jandy and the author at the third level of the ferry

Our ferry would also stop at  Ellis Island, north of Liberty Island, making this a combined trip. Both islands, which comprise the Statue of Liberty National Monument, were ceded by New York to the federal government in 1800. To have best views of the Statue of Liberty, we all sat at the third level. Our sailing time to the island took approximately 15 mins.

Check out “Ellis Island Immigration Museum”

This colossal, Neo-Classical copper sculpture, a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States, was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built by Gustave Eiffel. An icon of freedom and of the United States, this statue’s foundation and pedestal was aligned so that it would face southeast, greeting ships entering the harbor from the Atlantic Ocean. Thus, it was a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad as vessels arriving in New York had to sail past it as they proceeded toward Manhattan.

Liberty Island

Here are some interesting trivia regarding the statue:

  • This robed female figure, representing Libertas (the Roman goddess of freedom), wears a stola and pella (gown and cloak, common in depictions of Roman goddesses) and holds a torch aloft above her head.  In her left arm, she carries a tabula ansata (used to evoke the concept of law) inscribed in Roman numerals with “JULY IV MDCCLXXVI” (July 4, 1776), the date of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. A broken chain, lies at her feet, half-hidden by her robes and difficult to see from the ground.
  • The statue is one of the earliest examples of curtain wall construction, in which the exterior of the structure is not load bearing, but is instead supported by an interior framework.
  • The pedestal’s poured concrete walls, up to 20 feet (6.1 m) thick (the concrete mass was the largest poured to that time), was faced with Stony Creek granite blocks (from the Beattie Quarry in Branford, Connecticut).
  • New York’s first ticker-tape parade was held during the statue’s dedication.   The parade route, beginning at Madison Square, proceeded to Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan by way of Fifth Avenue and Broadway, with a slight detour so the parade could pass in front of the World building on Park Row. As the parade passed the New York Stock Exchange, traders threw ticker tape from the windows, beginning the New York tradition of the ticker-tape parade. Estimates of the number of people who watched it ranged from several hundred thousand to a million.
  • Originally, the statue was a dull copper color but, shortly after 1900, a green patina (also called verdigris) caused by the oxidation of the copper skin, began to spread and, by 1906, had entirely covered the statue.  The Army Corps of Engineers studied the patina for any ill effects to the statue and concluded that it protected the skin. The statue was painted only on the inside. The Corps of Engineers also installed an elevator to take visitors from the base to the top of the pedestal.
  • In 1917, during World War I, images of the statue were heavily used in both recruitment posters and the Liberty Bond drives that urged American citizens to support the war financially. This impressed upon the public the war’s stated purpose—to secure liberty and served as a reminder that embattled France had given the United States the statue.
  • The statue sustained minor damage (mostly to the torch-bearing right arm) on July 30, 1916, during World War I, when German saboteurs detonated carloads of dynamite and other explosives that were being sent to Britain and France for their war efforts, on the Black Tom peninsula in Jersey City, New Jersey, in what is now part of Liberty State Park, close to Bedloe’s Island. Seven people were killed, the statue was closed for ten days and the cost to repair the statue and buildings on the island was about US$100,000. Since 1916, the narrow ascent to the torch was closed for public safety reasons, and it has remained closed ever since.
  • In 1929, the only successful suicide in the statue’s history occurred when a man climbed out of one of the windows in the crown and jumped to his death, glancing off the statue’s breast and landing on the base.
  • The statue was only illuminated every night, all night, beginning in 1957. During World War II, the statue, though open to visitors, was not illuminated at night due to wartime blackouts. It was lit briefly on December 31, 1943, and on D-Day, June 6, 1944, when its lights flashed “dot-dot-dot-dash,” the Morse code for V, for victory. From 1944 to 1945, new, powerful lighting was installed and, beginning on V-E Day, the statue was once again illuminated after sunset. The lighting then was for only a few hours each evening.
  • In 1946, the interior of the statue within reach of visitors was coated with a special plastic so that graffiti could be washed away.
  • In 1984, when the statue was closed to the public for renovation, workers erected the world’s largest free-standing scaffold,which obscured the statue from view.
  • The Statue of Liberty was one of the earliest beneficiaries of cause marketing. Its fundraising arm, the Statue of Liberty–Ellis Island Foundation, Inc., raised more than $350 million in donations.
  • The statue and the island was closed to the public a number of times. From May to December 1938 and from 1984 to 1986 it was closed for renovation and restoration. Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the statue and the island was again closed to the public.  The island reopened at the end of 2001, the pedestal in August 2004 and the statue on July 4, 2009 (however, only a limited number of people would be permitted to ascend to the crown each day). The statue, including the pedestal and base, closed on October 29, 2011, for installation of new elevators and staircases and to bring other facilities, such as restrooms, up to code. The statue was reopened on October 28, 2012 but closed again a day later due to Hurricane Sandy.  The statue and Liberty Island reopened to the public on July 4, 2013. For part of October 2013, Liberty Island, along with other federally funded museums, parks, monuments, construction projects and buildings, was closed to the public due to the United States federal government shutdown of 2013.
  • The current torch, installed in 1986, has a flame is covered in 24-caratgold which reflects the sun’s rays in daytime.  It is lighted by floodlights at night.
  • is a frequent subject in popular culture. In music, the statue has been evoked to indicate support for American policies, as in Toby Keith‘s song “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American).” In protest and opposition of the Reagan administration, it appeared on the cover of the Dead Kennedys‘ album Bedtime for Democracy.
  • In 1942, the torch is the setting for the climax of director Alfred Hitchcock‘s movie Saboteur. In the 1968 picture Planet of the Apes, the statue makes one of its most famous cinematic appearances in which it is seen half-buried in sand. In the 1996 science-fiction film Independence Day, it is knocked over while in the 2008 film Cloverfield, the statue’s head is ripped off.
  • In Jack Finney‘s time-travel novel Time and Again, the right arm of the statue, on display in the early 1880s in Madison Square Park, plays a crucial role.
  • Hundreds of replicas of the Statue of Libertyare displayed worldwide. A smaller version of the statue, one-fourth the height of the original and standing on the Île aux Cygnes, facing west toward her larger sister, was given by the American community in Paris to that city. A 9.1 m. (30 ft.) tall replica, which once stood atop the Liberty Warehouse on West 64th Street in Manhattan for many years,  now resides at the Brooklyn Museum. From 1949–1952, in a patriotic tribute, the Boy Scouts of America, as part of their Strengthen the Arm of Liberty campaign, donated about 200 replicas of the statue, made of stamped copper and 2,500 mm. (100 in.) in height, to states and municipalities across the United States. During the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, a statue known as the Goddess of Democracy, though not a true replica, was temporarily erected.  Similarly inspired by French democratic traditions, the sculptors took care to avoid a direct imitation of the Statue of Liberty. A replica of the statue, as well as other recreations of New York City structures, is also part of the exterior of the New York-New York Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
  • The Statue of Liberty, as an American icon, has been depicted on the country’s coinage and stamps. It appeared on commemorative coins to mark its 1986 centennial and New York’s 2001 entry in the state quartersIn 1997, an image of the statue was chosen for the American Eagle platinum bullion coins  and was placed on the reverse (or tails) side of the Presidential Dollar series of circulating coins. Two images of the statue’s torch appear on the current ten-dollar bill. However, the statue’s intended photographic depiction on a 2010 forever stamp  instead proved to be the replica at the Las Vegas casino.
  • Between 1986 and 2000, New York State issued license plates with an outline of the statue to either the front or the side of the serial number. The Women’s National Basketball Association‘s New York Liberty used both the statue’s name and its image in their logo (however, the torch’s flame doubles as a basketball). Beginning in 1997, the New York Rangers of the National Hockey League depicted the statue’s head on their third jersey. The National Collegiate Athletic Association‘s 1996 Men’s Basketball Final Four, played at New Jersey’s Meadowlands Sports Complex, featured the statue in its logo. The Libertarian Party of the United States also uses the statue in its emblem.

The Statue of Liberty seen from our ferry

Édouard René de Laboulaye, French law professor and politician, president of the French Anti-Slavery Society,  a prominent and important political thinker of his time and an ardent supporter of the Union in the American Civil War, was said to have commented in 1865 that any monument raised to U.S. independence would properly be a joint project of the French and U.S. peoples and he inspired Bartholdi to create the statue.  Due to the post-war instability in France, work on the statue did not commence until the early 1870s and, in 1875, Laboulaye proposed that the French finance the statue with the U.S. providing the site and building the pedestal.

Frederic Auguste Bartholdi

Before the statue was fully designed, Bartholdi completed the head and the torch-bearing arm. For publicity, the torch-bearing arm was exhibited at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia and, from 1876 to 1882, in Madison Square Park in Manhattan before it was returned to France to join the rest of the statue.

The torch-bearing arm

The head was exhibited at the 1878 Paris World’s Fair. To experience a changing perspective on the statue, Bartholdi gave it bold Classical contours and applied simplified modeling, reflecting the huge scale of the project and its solemn purpose. The statue was first built in France.

The statue’s head

Aside from Bartholdi, the following were also involved in the construction of the statue:

  • Architect Eugène Viollet-le-Duc, the chief engineer of the project and Bartholdi’s friend and mentor, designed a brick pier within the statue, to which the skin would be anchored. After consultations with by the Paris firm of Gaget, Gauthier et Cie (Cie is the French abbreviation analogous to Co.), the metalwork foundry, Viollet-le-Duc chose copper sheets, the metal which would be used for the skin, and repoussé, the method used to shape it, in which the sheets were heated and then struck with wooden hammers. An advantage of this choice was that the entire statue would be light for its volume. The head and arm had been built with assistance from Viollet-le-Duc, who fell ill in 1879 and soon died, leaving no indication of how he intended to transition from the copper skin to his proposed masonry pier.
  • Gustave Eiffel, the innovative designer and builder of the Eiffel Tower, and structural engineer, Maurice Koechlin, decided to abandon the proposed masonry pier and instead build an iron truss To prevent galvanic corrosionbetween the copper skin and the iron support structure, Eiffel insulated the skin with asbestos impregnated with shellac. To make it easier for visitors to reach the observation point in the crown, Eiffel included two interior spiral staircases. He also provided access to an observation platform surrounding the torch. As the pylon tower arose, Eiffel and Bartholdi coordinated their work carefully so that completed segments of skin would fit exactly on the support structure. The components of the pylon tower were built in the Eiffel factory in the nearby Parisian suburb of Levallois-Perret.
  • Joachim Goschen Giæver, a Norwegian immigrant civil engineer, designed the structural framework for the Statue of Liberty.  Working from drawings and sketches produced by Gustave Eiffel, he did the design computations, detailed fabrication and construction drawings, and oversight of construction.
  • Ferdinand de Lesseps, builder of the Suez Canal, succeeded Laboulaye (upon his death in 1883) as chairman of the French committee.
  • Richard Morris Hunt designed the pedestal on Bedloe Island. Containing elements of classical architecture, including Doric portals, as well as some elements influenced by Aztec architecture, its large mass is fragmented with architectural detail, in order to focus attention on the statue. In form, it is a truncated pyramid, 19 m. (62 ft.) square at the base and 12 m. (39.4 ft.) at the top, with four sides identical in appearance.
  • Charles Pomeroy Stone, a former army general, oversaw the construction work on the pedestal.
  • Frederick Law Olmsted, renowned landscape architect and co-designer of New York’s Central Park and Brooklyn’s Prospect Park, supervised a cleanup of Bedloe’s Island in anticipation of the dedication.
  • Gutzon Borglum, who later sculpted Mount Rushmore, redesigned the torch, replacing much of the original copper with stained glass.

Check out “Eiffel Tower

In a symbolic act, the first rivet placed into the skin, fixing a copper plate onto the statue’s big toe, was driven by United States Ambassador to France Levi P. Morton.  The completed statue was formally presented to Ambassador Morton at a ceremony in Paris on July 4, 1884. By January 1885, after sufficient progress on the pedestal pedestal (its cornerstone was laid in 1884 and it was completed on April 1886) had occurred, the Statue of Liberty was disassembled and crated for its ocean voyage to New York City on board the French steamer Isère.

Liberty Island Pier

On June 17, 1885, the statue safely reached the New York port, with 200,000 people lining the docks and hundreds of boats putting to sea to welcome the French vessel. Upon arrival, it was assembled on the on what was then called Bedloe’s Island (officially renamed Liberty Island in 1956 by an Act of Congress).

The statue’s pedestal

A dedication ceremony on October 28, 1886, presided over by President Grover Cleveland (a former New York governor), marked the statue’s completion. Until 1901, the statue was administered by the United States Lighthouse Board  and then by the Department of War.  Since 1933, it has been maintained by the National Park Service. In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge used his authority under the Antiquities Act to declare the statue a National Monument.

Liberty Island Pavilion

Diorama of Bartholdi inside pavilion

In 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the statue transferred to the National Park Service (NPS) and, in 1937, the NPS gained jurisdiction over the rest of Bedloe’s Island. In 1965, nearby Ellis Island was made part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument by proclamation of President Lyndon Johnson. In 1984, the Statue of Liberty was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The author with grandson Kyle

At the western end of Liberty Island is a group of statues, all works of Maryland sculptor Phillip Ratner, honoring those closely associated with the Statue of Liberty.

Emma Lazarus

Two Americans— Joseph Pulitzer (publisher of the New York World, a New York newspaper, who announced a drive to raise $100,000 for the statue) and poet Emma Lazarus (whose sonnet, “The New Colossus,” is uniquely identified with the Statue of Liberty)—and three Frenchmen—Bartholdi, Eiffel, and Laboulaye—are depicted.

Grace and Jandy

Kyle and Cheska

The statue has the following physical characteristics:

  • Height of copper statue – 46 m. (151 ft., 1 in.)
  • Foundation of pedestal (ground level) to tip of torch – 93 m. (305 ft., 1 in.)
  • Heel to top of head – 34 m. (111 ft., 1 in.)
  • Height of hand – 5 m. (16 ft., 5 in.)
  • Index finger – 2.44 m. (8 ft., 1 in.)
  • Circumference at second joint – 1.07 m. (3 ft., 6 in.)
  • Head from chin to cranium – 5.26 m. (17 ft., 3 in.)
  • Head thickness from ear to ear – 3.05 m. (10 ft.)
  • Distance across the eye – 0.76 m. (2 ft., 6 in.)
  • Length of nose – 1.48 m. (4 ft., 6 in.)
  • Right arm length – 12.8 m. (42 ft.)
  • Right arm greatest thickness – 3.66 m. (12 ft.)
  • Thickness of waist – 10.67 m. (35 ft.)
  • Width of mouth – 0.91 m. (3 ft.)
  • Tablet, length – 7.19 m. (23 ft., 7 in.)
  • Tablet, width – 4.14 m. (13 ft., 7 in.)
  • Tablet, thickness – 0.61 m. (2 ft.)
  • Height of pedestal – 27.13 m. (89 ft.)
  • Height of foundation – 19.81 m. (65 ft.)
  • Weight of copper used in statue – 27.22 tons (60,000 lbs.)
  • Weight of steel used in statue – 113.4 tons (250,000 lbs.)
  • Total weight of statue – 204.1 tons (450,000 lbs.)
  • Thickness of copper sheeting – 2.4 mm. (3/32 of an inch)

Back at Liberty Island Pier for ferry to Ellis Island

Statue of Liberty National Monument: Liberty Island, New York Harbor, New York City 10004, United States.Tel: +1 646 356 2150.  Open daily (except December 25), 8:30 AM – 7 PM.

All ferry riders are subject to security screening, similar to airport procedures, prior to boarding. Visitors intending to enter the statue’s base and pedestal must obtain a complimentary museum/pedestal ticket along with their ferry ticket. You can buy tickets online at

Those wishing to climb the staircase within the statue to the crown purchase a special ticket, which may be reserved up to a year in advance. A total of 240 people per day are permitted to ascend: ten per group, three groups per hour. Large bags are not allowed on Liberty or Ellis Islands. Backpacks, strollers and large umbrellas are not permitted in the Monument. Climbers may bring only medication and cameras—lockers are provided for other items—and must undergo a second security screening.