One place is at the top of the list of all New York tourists: the Statue of Liberty. Lady Liberty was inaugurated more than 130 years ago in the port of New York. Today it is more than just an attraction – it has become a symbol of the free world. Here are 11 curious facts about the most famous statue of liberty.
1. It is actually not green at all
Actually, the green lady with the torch in her hand wasn’t green at all. Researchers believe that it was originally dark brown. The statue consists of an iron frame. Around it is a layer of copper – and that was actually brown. But the color only lasted about 20 years, the scientists believe. Then the outer skin of the statue has weathered and rusted and has gradually turned green.
2. She was 10 years late
The statue with the full name “Liberty Enlightening the World” was a gift from France to the United States, but only partially. France was responsible for the statue, the USA for the base. Because the fundraising was extremely slow on both sides of the Atlantic, the gift came ten years too late – it was actually supposed to be inaugurated on the 100th anniversary of American independence in 1876.
3. It was completely disassembled
In 1878 the head was still shown at the World Exhibition in Paris. Then the statue was dismantled into 350 parts and transported in 214 boxes with the freighter “Isere” through stormy weather across the Atlantic. It was reassembled within four months. On October 28, 1886, the then US President Grover Cleveland inaugurated the statue in front of thousands of spectators in the port of New York.
4. Liberty Island was actually called differently
The Statue of Liberty has its own island called Liberty Island, which is about 2.5 kilometers from the southern tip of Manhattan. Although the water around the island already belongs to the state of New Jersey, the state of New York is responsible for Liberty Island. There used to be a fortress on the island and it was originally called Bedloe Island. It wasn’t until 1956 that it was officially renamed Liberty Island.
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5. She once had roommates
People have lived on the island for more than 200 years, though never many. “Lady Liberty” has been living there alone since the beginning of 2014 after her last neighbor, the supervisory officer David Luchsinger, retired. Luchsinger and his wife Debbie had lived in a small building on the famous island for four years and worked as caretakers of the statue. Cyclone “Sandy” destroyed the couple’s house so badly in 2012 that the Luchsingers had to be temporarily removed. The statue’s caretakers no longer live on Liberty Island.
6. It rocks back and forth
The Statue of Liberty itself was slightly damaged by “Sandy”, but has since been repaired and is ready to be visited. In strong winds, the statue can swing back and forth almost eight centimeters, the torch even twelve.
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7. Your role model is a goddess
The statue was designed by the Frenchman Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi. It represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. Bartholdi allegedly modeled the face on that of his mother.
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8. The torch should actually shine
The torch was originally intended to serve as a lighthouse. Scientists tinkered with it for years, but just couldn’t get it bright enough. Therefore the torch has no function. 100 years ago, the right arm was also damaged in an explosive attack by German saboteurs. Since then, only the caretaker has been allowed to climb the torch over a long, shaky ladder.
9. Every point of the crown has a meaning
The statue is 46 meters high without a base and the nose is 1.37 meters long. “Lady Liberty” is wearing a robe, has a plate with the date of American independence in her left hand and holds up her right hand with a torch. She wears a seven-pointed crown on her head – one for each continent. The crown is made of foam rubber and is a popular tourist disguise.
10. It doesn’t stand
Even if it appears that the Statue of Liberty is standing – “Lady Liberty” is not standing, it is going. Your right foot is raised. Broken chains around the feet symbolize liberation.
11. She has twin sisters
The statue has many twin sisters in other cities, including one in Alsace. However, the replica in the city of Colmar is made of synthetic resin and is only 12 meters high. Like her big sister in New York, she stands at the city entrance and has welcomed those arriving since 2004. Why in Colmar? Designer Bartholdi was born in 1834 in the Alsatian town. While Bartholdi worked on the statue for years, the replica was completed over 100 years later within nine months.