Located in Jersey City, NJ opposite of Ellis Island, Liberty State Park is bordered by water on three sides: on the north by the Morris Canal Big Basin and on the south and east by Upper New York Bay. As such, it offers daily ferries to Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island. Check out their website for more info.
This was one of the first things we really visited after landing in Newark. We spent part of the day with some work friends and they took us to one of their favorite places, the Liberty State Park. It is one of the most amazing and peaceful parks I have been to. It felt very tranquil. They have two paths for strolling called Freedom Way and Liberty Walkway. Freedom Way goes through the center and serves as a barrier between the area closed to the public, to its west, and the area that is open to the public, to its east. It has many bike paths, walkways, and fields.
Liberty Walkway is a crescent-shaped promenade which stretches along the waterfront south to the Statue of Liberty overlook, bridging two coves along the way. It is part of the longer Hudson River Waterfront Walkway. Halfway along Liberty Walkway is a bridge to Ellis Island, but only authorized vehicles are allowed. The southeastern corner of the park contains the Statue of Liberty overlook, picnic facilities, a playground, the U.S. Flag Plaza and Liberation Monument, the Public Administration Building, and a memorial to the Black Tom explosions.
Picnicking and barbecuing facilities are also located at the southern end of the park. Originally called “Liberty Walk”, this part of the project won a landscape award in 1995. The name “Liberty Walk” was already associated with Philadelphia such as through a booklet The Liberty Walk Through Historic Old Philadelphia published by the American Wax Museum, Philadelphia (before 1969) which listed a walk round 23 sites of historic interest.
As I said earlier, it felt very tranquil and I would have loved to have set around and hung out longer, but it was a little cool in October. However, the best part of this park is being able to see the Verrazano Bridge and the Statue of Liberty. We did do a tour to visit this great lady during our trip. Below is the info about this amazing statue.
According to the National Park Service website, “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States and is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886. It was designated as a National Monument in 1924. Employees of the National Park Service have been caring for the colossal copper statue since 1933. It was so amazing to finally see it in person. Read more info on their website.
The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet. The statue is an icon of freedom and of the United States, and was a welcoming sight to immigrants arriving from abroad.
The original construction of the statue was started by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, with help from Gustave Eiffel. They were focused on the statue itself, while committees here in the United States worked on obtaining funds for the construction of the pedestal. There was criticism both of Bartholdi’s statue and of the fact that the gift required Americans to foot the bill for the pedestal. In the years following the Civil War, most Americans preferred realistic artworks depicting heroes and events from the nation’s history, rather than allegorical works like the Liberty statue. However, fundraising events were held and work on the pedestal was eventually completed.
On June 17, 1885, the French steamer Isère, laden with the Statue of Liberty, reached the New York port safely with the crates holding the disassembled statue on board. Two hundred thousand people lined the docks and hundreds of boats put to sea to welcome the Isère. A ceremony of dedication was held on the afternoon of October 28, 1886. President Grover Cleveland, the former New York governor, presided over the event.
On the morning of the dedication, a parade was held in New York City; estimates of the number of people who watched it ranged from several hundred thousand to a million. President Cleveland headed the procession, then stood in the reviewing stand to see bands and marchers from across America.
Today the Statue of Liberty remains a very powerful symbol, embodying a wide range of meanings and adapted every day to represent new ideas. After 9/11, people in New York once again called upon the Statue to express their grief, horror, and rage. It is so much more than just a statue. It is definitely a symbol of freedom and democracy. It was such an amazing experience to go up the pedestal and look out at New Jersey on one side and New York on the other side. It is something I will not soon forget.
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