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Statue of Liberty

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

It's the symbol of America, as much as the stars and stripes. It stands proud for what America itself stands for. It's the gateway to America. It is one of the most famous structures in the world and without doubt the most famous statue of them all.

The Statue of Liberty stands 305 feet high on its own island in the harbor just off the southwestern tip of Manhattan Island. The first immigrants to the US, arriving by boat from all parts of the world for a better life, passed Liberty just before landing at legendary Ellis Island, where they'd either be allowed in or turned away. It's for that reason, among many, that Liberty is held in such affection by Americans.

If you want to travel to the Statue, make your way to Manhattan's southern tip. Liberty Island Ferries depart frequently throughout the day from Battery Park. If you don't like having to stand in line, then arrive as early as you can but if you don't mind what I found to be a rather jolly and entertaining wait, then allow a whole day for your visit to the Statue.

During the spring and summer months, street entertainers, quite a few abundantly talented and full of acrobatic and other surprises, will keep your attention while you wait to board the boat. It's more than well worth the tip you'll be expected to give when the show is over.

The boat ride lasts about 20 minutes or so and as well as the palpable excitement you'll feel as Liberty gets closer and closer, the views it provides of downtown and midtown Manhattan are glorious. I bet you'll use a whole roll of film just during the ferry trip!

Not only can you walk right round the statue but can climb up inside it as well, as far as the crown.

It's no longer possible to visit the torch. This is when you're likely to encounter another hour or two of waiting to see the view that Lady Liberty sees. The stairs get narrower and steeper the higher you go and if suddenly you change your mind, perhaps through exhaustion, impatience or vertigo, you'll be able to step sideways onto the down staircase.

Once you reach the top, you'll only be spared a few seconds to look out of the crown's windows and have your photo taken before feeling obliged to make way for those who are still in line behind you. During peak periods of the year, you'll have to wait in line once again, to get the ferry home. Make sure, above all, that you allow plenty of extra time and don't get stranded on the Island overnight. It makes sense now, doesn't it, to set aside a whole day for your visit to the Statue of Liberty.

The one memory from my visit, above most, I'll keep with me always is the excitement displayed by those on board as the boat neared Liberty Island, frantically taking as many photos as quickly and from as many angles as they could and reaching and stretching over each other in almost frenzied style to get the best view or photo shot. Your day will be full and long but will not be wasted.

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