Liberty Island
GOOD FOR: All Ages
RATING:


Source:Outdoors with Kids New York City (AMC Books)
Address:Battery Park, State Street and Battery Place, Manhattan, NY (ferry departure point)
Hours:9:30 A.M. to 5 P.M. daily
Fee: Ferry: adults, $13; children ages 4 to 12, $5; children under age 4, free. Crown admission: $3 (request an additional free ticket to enter the statue museum and pedestal).
Contact:

nps.gov/stli; 212-561-4588. Tickets: statuecruises.com; 877-LADYTIX

Bathrooms: In the monument; concession area
Water/Snacks: Water fountains at the restrooms; concession area
Map:

Lady Liberty’s famous island is also a thought-provoking arboretum and a lovely place to walk and picnic.

An arboretum featuring trees from Asia and Europe is an eloquent backdrop for Lady Liberty.
Photo by: Cheryl and William de Jong-Lambert

The islands of Upper New York Bay have developed in ways that Henry Hudson couldn’t have imagined upon his arrival in 1609. Today, hiking around the islands and considering the views from each direction will enrich your understanding of New York City’s natural world.

New York Harbor is where the freshwater Hudson River meets the salty Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. Back when the area was relatively untouched by humans, oysters thrived in the beds off the islands we now know as Liberty and Ellis, which were named the Oyster Islands by America’s first Dutch settlers.

Liberty Island now receives an average of 15,000 visitors per day. Since only 3,000 people per day can enter the fabled statue—an 1886 gift of international friendship from the people of France to the people of the United States—the majority of visitors come to enjoy the island and its arboretum. Begin your half-mile walk at the ferry dock, on the southwest side of the 13-acre island. No native trees remain on Liberty Island, but the southern half is landscaped with about 400 trees that originated in Europe or Asia. Given the international significance of the island, this is apropos. Tree species are indicated by plaques, and include little-leaf linden, horse chestnut, Norway maple, Kwanzan cherry, and London plane.

From the ferry terminal with the statue on your left, New Jersey will be behind you, Brooklyn in front of you, and Staten Island to your right. The Verrazano Narrows separates Brooklyn and Staten Island and leads to Lower New York Bay. As you walk counterclockwise, the tree garden ends, giving the Statue of Liberty a clear stage. Governors Island (Trip 72) will come into view; farther north, you will see Manhattan’s Battery Park coast (Trip 23).

As you pass the statue to your left, you are greeted by the cherry tree grove. This is a wonderful place to settle down and bask in the beauty of the statue, which is a World Heritage site and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Remember: Liberty Island is very popular on warm-weather weekends. Try to visit on a weekday or during late fall, winter, or early spring.

Plan B:

You might be able to fit in a trip to Ellis Island (Trip 71) on the same day. Alternatively, head back to mainland Manhattan to complete your appreciation of the harbor by traveling west up the Battery Park City Esplanade (Trip 24), or heading to East River Park (Trip 29).



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