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Chronicles: The Statue of Liberty

Novum_EboracumIs Liberty Island, whereupon the Statue of Liberty sits, in New York or New Jersey? The neverending debate rages on but according to geographers, a sadly for New Yorkers, the island that is one of the city’s greatest tourist attractions, for which people will wait for hours to see and allow themselves to be patted down and searched, is in fact in New Jersey; a fact that led New York state to redesign their license plates a few years back in order to edit out the statue. Though some solace may be found in the fact that despite being in New Jersey, the island is under the jurisdiction of the City of New York.
Whomever the island may belong to does not mitigate the fat that the history and positioning of the island has greatly impacted the culture and lore of New York City. For many immigrants coming into America, seeing the Statue of Liberty meant freedom, the possibility of wealth and New York City, where the streets were paved with gold.

The Statue of Liberty was conceived of and designed by Frédéric Bartholdi after being inspired by the words of French law professor and politician Édouard René de Laboulaye, who at a dinner party they were both attending in 1865 commented that any monument raised to American independence would properly be a joint project of the French and American peoples. Work began on the statue in 1870 with the French financing the statute and America providing the pedestal.
Bartholdi completed both the head and the arm bearing the torch before funding could be raised for the rest of the body. The arm and torch were put on display in Madison Square Park from 1876 to 1882 and the head and crown were shown at an exhibit in the Paris World Fair of 1878. The full statue was completed and erected in 1886 and was marked by New York’s first ticker-tape parade and a ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland.
After being closed for the years post-September 11th, the statue and crown is now open to the public but the number of visitors is restricted. In late 2011, the statue will be closed for repairs and for the installation of a second staircase to ascend to the crown.

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