Saturday, 4 July 2009

Liberty Returns

It's good to hear that the Statue of Liberty is to re-open to the public. It has remained closed since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre on 11th September 2001, presumably because the Americans saw it as an iconic target for further attacks.

It's also good to hear that once it is re-opened visitor numbers will be restricted. I "done" the Statue in 1988, and it has to be the biggest disappointment of any tourist attraction I have ever visited anywhere, anytime. As the video below mentions visitors used to (as did I) queue for a couple of hours to get to the top. This was split approximately 50/50, an hour to get in and an hour shuffling very slowly one step at a time up a very tight 354 step spiral stairway. Once I eventually found myself at the top I was behind a small row of dirty windows that form the base of the crown. It would have offered amazing views of downtown Manhattan and the surrounding area if a) the windows had be cleaner ; and b) the pressure of hundreds of others following me up one step at a time left no choice but to have the briefest of glances before you heading back down a similar spiral stairway. By reducing the numbers to sensible levels visitors will have a proper chance to take in the view, as does the reporter in the video. More interesting than the external view was the fact that during the slow tortuous journey up and down you could - and still can - see the entire structure from the inside. A spectacular lady from outside but a structural-engineering wonder from within.

Hopefully I'll get a chance to pay another visit to New York one day. Whether I bother re-visiting the statue I'm not sure . The nearby Statten Island ferry offers far more spectacular views for much less cost and in far less time, probably the best ferry ride in the world.

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