Recently I went to the Statue of Liberty with my girlfriend and her family. Her Dad and Step Mom came into town and wanted to visit the monument so they invited me along.
What first struck was me the incredible organization of the park. As soon as I stepped off the subway there were people guiding me around and giving directions to the ferries and buses used to get to the island. Next we all had to pass through airport style security complete with metal detectors, X-rays, and my slipping down because I had to take off my belt. This really made me consider the different ranges of being a park ranger. For example: Here at the Statue of Liberty a ranger isn’t too concerned about grizzly bears, but at places like Glacier or Denali, they’re not on as high alert about national security threats since their park isn’t a target.
The sheer efficiency of the park was incredible! Visitors were ushered onto and off of ferries that ran at regular twenty minute intervals, shuttling hundreds of people per ferry back and forth across the Hudson to this tiny island. Everything ran on a tight schedule, and it has to if the park is going to accommodate the thousands of people who come here daily.
Once on the island we decided to rent free audio tours. I tuned into the Peregrine falcon guided kid’s tour instead of the adult tour audio that included depressing and morbid stories about the immigrant poor, which wasn’t what I was trying to hear on a sunny afternoon, meeting my girlfriend’s Dad and Step-Mom for the first time.
One of the really cool parts was the museum in the base of the statue that detailed the history of it. The museum covered everything from the life of the architect and original blue prints, to more contemporary perceptions and interpretations which included a whole section on the use of the statue in popular culture and advertising, like this old Peace Corps poster:
One thing I found fascinating was the list of repairs, alterations, and additions made to the statue. While a lot of national parks will highlight trail work done or improvements made, so much work has had to go into the statue through out the years that they have it displayed on a engaging and colorful wall space.
After the museum, we began our climb up. It wasn’t too bad of a stair hike and for those who can’t make the walk there’s an elevator which makes the monument accessible to everyone. And the effort is definitely worth the view!