We recently took a trip back to the home country to visit my family. On the way back we stopped off in New York for two days. My son wanted to visit the Statue of Liberty so we made plans to take the first boat out in the morning. Tip for anyone that wants a person-free photo of the Statue of Liberty – place yourself on the starboard (right hand side when facing forward) of the first Statue Cruises ferry of the day. The first ferry leaves around 8:30 am. Visits to the crown are limited to 240 per day and sell out months in advance. We didn’t book in advance so didn’t get to the crown! Being on the first boat, however, we were among the 3,000 allowed to visit the pedestal that day.
Having walked around the exterior, my wife and daughter decided not to line up for another security check but my son wanted to see inside so I lined up with him. Inside the foyer is the original torch of 1886 with a much altered flame. Originally the flame was solid and gilded. Holes were cut in it and lights placed inside to illuminate the torch but the result was more of a feeble glimmer than of a beam. The torch was re-imagined with stained glass in the 1916 makeover (seen below) but by 1982 this was found to be severely corroded and was again replaced in 1984 with a gilded torch to the original design.
Inside the pedestal there’s an exhibit detailing the life of the statue from concept to the current day, along with a full scale replica of the face and models showing the construction. A series of flights of stairs takes you to the top of the pedestal, the base of the statue. From here you can look up inside the statue and see the spiral staircase that leads to the crown. Visits to the torch ceased in 1916 and only inspection engineers are allowed to the torch these days.
To get to the crown you have to climb up 354 steps. From the top of the pedestal to the crown is 195 steps so from the ground to the top of the pedestal is 159 steps.
As a global icon, it’s challenging to get unique views of the Statue of Liberty which is one reason I decided to present these as HDR images. However, rather than a more normal 4EV range, these are made from a 2EV range, -1EV, o, +1EV, with tone mapping in Photomatix Pro and further adjustments in Lightroom 3.
The statue will be closed from November 2011 – September 2012 to improve the stairway and elevator access within the pedestal along with some other modifications.