Liberty Island is best known as the location of the Statue of Liberty. Located in Upper New York Bay, it is part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument, which also includes Ellis Island and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Table of Contents
Key Features of the Landmark
Liberty Island is about 14.7 acres and is operated by the National Park Service. Located about 2,000 feet east of Liberty State Park in Jersey City and about 1.58 miles southwest of Battery Park in Manhattan, it is accessible only by ferries from either of these parks. These ferries also stop at Ellis Island, where it’s estimated that nearly half of all Americans can trace their family history to immigrants who passed through the Port of New York.
Liberty Island is technically located within the waters of Jersey City, New Jersey, but it’s considered part of the borough of Manhattan in New York — a rare situation where part of one state is situated in another.
Dutch settlers originally called Liberty Island, Ellis Island and Black Tom Island by the collective name Oyster Islands because of the area’s oyster beds.
History of Liberty Island
1667: Isaac Bedloe purchases the island after the Dutch surrender to the British in 1664, leading to the name Bedloe’s Island.
1732: The City of New York commandeers the island and establishes a smallpox quarantine station.
1746: Archibald Kennedy, later the 11th Earl of Cassilis, buys the island and establishes a summer home there, along with a lighthouse.
1756: Kennedy allows the city to use the island again as a smallpox quarantine station.
1758: The City of New York buys the island to quarantine people with communicable diseases such as smallpox, cholera, tuberculosis or typhus.
1776: Buildings used on the island to house Tory refugees before the American Revolutionary War burn to the ground.
1800: The New York State Legislature cedes the island to the federal government.
1811: A defensive fort named Fort Wood in the shape of an 11-point star is completed on the island. The fort’s walls later become the base of the Statue of Liberty.
1886: The Statue of Liberty is unveiled to the public.
1956: Congress officially names the island Liberty Island.
Location & Tourism
Liberty Island is accessible only through Statue Cruises, which offers a round-trip ferry to both Liberty and Ellis Island starting at $18.50 for adults, $9 for children ages 4 to 12, and $14 for seniors ages 62 and older. The ferries leave from Liberty State Park in New Jersey and from Battery Park in Manhattan from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. roughly every 20 to 35 minutes. Admission to the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum must be purchased separately.
Interesting Facts About Liberty Island
- A new $70 million Statue of Liberty museum on Liberty Island is under construction and scheduled to open in 2019. The current museum can accommodate only about 20 percent of the island’s visitors at a time.
- Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the U.S. Park Police Marine Patrol Unit guards the island around the clock.
- Although New York and New Jersey both claim the Statue of Liberty as a symbol on license plates (and the New York State quarter), the states split utilities and services to the island. New Jersey handles the electricity, water and sewage. New York delivers the mail, handles legal matters there and collects sales tax.
- There are no residences on Liberty Island, but there is a gift shop, a café and a sculpture garden. It also has coin-operated binoculars to view Manhattan and New York Harbor.
- Park Rangers provide free English-language tours lasting about 30 to 45 minutes throughout the day. An audio tour also is available in 12 languages, American Sign Language and an Audio Descriptive version.
Directions to Belluck & Fox from Liberty Island
Belluck & Fox’s NYC office is located in Midtown at 546 Fifth Ave., 5th Floor, New York NY 10036. From Battery Park, get on FDR Drive north from State Street and exit at East 42nd Street (First Avenue/United Nations Plaza). Turn right into the First Avenue Tunnel, then left onto East 47th Street and left again onto Fifth Avenue. Our law office also is accessible by taking the 4/5 subway train from Bowling Green to Grand Central.
CONTACT OUR NEW YORK INJURY LAW FIRM TODAY
With more than 20 years of experience at Belluck & Fox, LLP, we have earned a reputation throughout New York and the United States for doing whatever it takes to help our clients. Call us today to learn more!