Raising the Torch: The Statue of Liberty Museum

By Suz Pathmanathan

Since she was unveiled in 1886, the Statue of Liberty has been a source of inspiration worldwide. American poets such as Henry van Dyke observed her symbolic importance to the values of the nation. And as of today, she's sure to be a muse to many more. The Statue of Liberty Museum opened its doors to the public today, allowing visitors to see and learn about this iconic attraction first-hand through an immersive, multi-sensory experience.

What is The Statue of Liberty Museum?

Five years in the making, the new museum offers sightseers the convenience of being able to bypass crowds at the pedestal. Around 4.3 million people visited the attraction in 2018 - that can equal a lot of congestion! What's more, visiting the crown requires advance planning, tickets sell fast and being 305 feet in the air doesn't appeal to every visitor.

So what's inside?

A relatively short exhibition - a length chosen due to high footfall - allows sightseers to view the Statue of Liberty in an entirely different way. Guests can stop by a model of French artist Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi's Parisian studio - the creator of the Statue. Visitors can also reach out and touch a copper replica of the Statue's face. They can even see the original torch, which has been in storage since the 1980s.

Image courtesy of Liberty Ellis Foundation

The brand-new museum allows its visitors to literally walk through the Statue's history in a three-part video. This is before emerging into the proclamation that formally ended slavery. This poignant multimedia experience depicts the events that inspired Bartholdi to create what now stands as a globally-recognised symbol of freedom in America.

Who's the museum for?

To make this museum as accessible as possible to its visitors, it features kiosks. As well as being a place where visitors can share their ideas about liberty, the kiosks have been placed at a level that makes it easier for wheelchair users. This has been combined with a wide turning radius throughout the space. Custom headsets feature videos with audio narration for blind visitors. Deaf and hard-of-hearing guests can use hand-held devices to watch an ASL tour throughout the museum.

With accessibility at the forefront of their design, the museum has also ensured that you don't even need to be there to experience the Statue!

The launch of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation's iOS app, named the Statue of Liberty app, uses augmented reality to open the experience up globally. See what she sees through a time-lapse view of the city. Watch media about her signature green tinge - the result of being buffeted by wind, pelted by rain and warmed by the sun for decades. Then look at her in all her stunning, three-dimensional glory, courtesy of high-resolution, helicopter photography. And if you haven't had your fill of all things Miss Liberty, tune in to Raising the Torch. This podcast features historians discussing the Statue's history and her continued impact on the collective imagination.

Why not complete your day out with a free ferry ticket and entry to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum?

Location: 1 Liberty Island - Ellis Island, New York, NY 10004, USA
Opening hours: 8.30am – 6pm daily

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Video Games Set In New York

NYC’s a pretty famous place, so it’s not hugely surprising that many a video game has taken place there. And what better way to experience all the fineries the city has to offer than from the comfort of your own room, in the dark, alone. Just how nature intended. So don’t get dressed. Don’t shower. Don’t even brush your teeth. Use your eyes and join us on a reading journey through some of the many video games set in New York. Die Hard Trilogy Yippee ki yay. If it isn’t New York’s favourite fictional cop John McClane with his own trilogy of ‘maximum adventures’ (according to the box art). Die Hard Trilogy was a classic for the PS1 back in the late Nineties. Three films (we don’t talk about the other two) translated into three very different gaming experiences. The first had you playing McClane in third person, as you ran around Nakatomi Plaza, disarming threats. Die Hard 2 was an on-rails shooter akin to Time Crisis or House of the Dead (and special editions even featured a bulky plastic light gun). And finally, Die Hard With a Vengeance saw you drive around NYC in a taxi, stopping criminals. Those who played it will no doubt remember the windscreen wipers. Brutal. Max Payne Hardboiled cop Max Payne had it pretty rough. He lost his wife and daughter and was framed for his partner’s death. So what did Max Payne do? He donned his best leather jacket, that’s what. Oh, he also enacted justice on the perpetrators while wielding the uncanny ability to slow down time. The Max Payne series is often credited as the game that popularised ‘bullet time’ in the game industry, with its inspirations firmly based in Hong Kong action cinema. It’s a technique still used nearly 20 years later in all sorts of different game genres. Followed by two sequels that delved further into Max’s psyche and his decent into alcoholism, this brutal noir trilogy still holds up today as one of the best action spectacles around. They’re only surpassed by the cinematic tour-de-force that is the Max Payne movie. Lol. 50 Cent: Bulletproof The Noughties were kind to 50 Cent. ‘Get Rich Or Die Trying’ the movie, anyone? But did you also know that he starred in not one, but two video games? Thank you, whoever greenlit these. Thank you so much. In 50 Cent: Bulletproof, you play Fiddy. You run, you fight, and you throw out uninspired one-liners and edgy curse words. Inspiring stuff. When aliens eventually find the remnants of our species in a few million years, we hope that they find the very pinnacle of human achievement - this game. Marvel's Spiderman Just when you thought Marvel were content with cornering the cinematic and comic book markets, here comes the first game in another potential ‘universe’. When will they end? Thankfully, this new universe starts with a bang (pun intended, as all puns are). This fantastic game sees you take up the well-worn mantle of Peter Parker. However, unlike the high school antics of the Tom Holland-fronted movies, this is an older take on The Webslinger. You’ll swing through the city, stopping street crimes while facing off against some of Spiderman’s greatest adversary – full time employment. You can even take selfies, like an insufferable millennial. This video game set in New York is actually well worth a play. Grand Theft Auto IV No list of video games set in New York would be complete without a mention of Rockstar’s behemoth, Grand Theft Auto. Three games in the series have taken place in Liberty City, Rockstar’s fictional recreation of the Big Apple, but perhaps its most well-known is GTA IV. Players control Niko Bellic, an Eastern European immigrant who arrives on Liberty City’s shores to meet his “COUSIN!” Roman, in pursuit of the American Dream. Niko starts off small-time, helping out his idiot cousin in many of his schemes, but soon finds himself doing jobs for the criminal elite, and even working for a shady undercover government organisation disguised as a paper company. You’ll drive, and fight maniacally through 40+ hours of open-world goodness, and eagle-eyed players can even find a beating heart in the Statue of Liberty. Sadly, she doesn’t have one in real life. Don’t believe us? See for yourself. Def Jam Vendetta What do you get if you bring some of rap’s biggest names together for a video game? Pro-wrestling, obviously. With NYC as the backdrop, you can pick from a huge roster of established rap stars like DMX, Method Man, and Ludacris and...sigh...wrestle other rappers. Or you can take on the game’s story mode, which sounds hilarious. Grapple for street cred, pin your expectations on the mat, and choke-slam your disbelief as you vendetta your way to saving your girlfriend from a wrestling promoter or something. How do games like this exist? The Noughties. That’s how. Them’s just some of the many video games set in New York City. If you didn’t like this list then you are wrong, but please feel free to tell us which games you would have picked instead in the comments below! Fancy exploring New York IRL? We've got plenty of inspiration for you.
Dom Bewley

What Would The Founding Fathers Do in NYC On July 4th?

July 4th is fast approaching. A time when we all celebrate independence, and maybe re-watch a certain cheesy sci-film too. Thanks to the Founding Fathers, we have so much to be grateful for. It’s just a shame they couldn’t see what a great country America has become. But what if they could? What if we could somehow travel back to the 18th century, and bring some of the Founding Fathers to 2019? Who’d have the biggest Instagram following? Which would start their own reality show? And how would they be spending July 4th? Well, through the magic of time travel, we can tell you now. Here is a totally real list that we definitely didn’t make up. What would the Founding Fathers do in NYC this July 4th? George Washington How could we not start with the top dog himself? Hero of the War for Independence and our very first President, George Washington needs no introduction. Well known for his wooden teeth and hatred of cherry trees, he also famously crossed the Delaware River in order to land a humiliating blow against the nefarious British. And the first thing he said to us when we brought him to 2019 was “I want to see the city by sea”. Really. He really said that. That’s why we recommended he take a Circle Line Sightseeing Cruise! George marvelled at the iconic modern skyline and learnt a lot about his future (and our past) from one of the award-winning guides that accompanied us on our cruise. He loved it. Thomas Jefferson TJ was POTUS number 3, but what a lot of people don’t know about him is that he was something of a palaeontologist. He amassed a huge collection of fossils and was particularly obsessed with woolly mammoths. So after we brought him to 2019, we had a good chat, and the first thing he wanted to do was go to the American Museum of Natural History. He loved the 94-foot long blue whale and was in awe of the Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton. Benjamin Franklin Ben Franklin loved science, and is often considered the man who discovered electricity. Sadly, kite-flying isn’t as popular as it used to be, so he insisted on going to the New York Hall of Science. Ol’ Ben-Dog got his hands all over the 450+ interactive exhibits on offer, and even managed to confirm some of his 18th century hypotheses. When he goes back, he may even be able to change the course of human history. Because this is definitely real. We've mastered time travel pretty well, wouldn't you say? Alexander Hamilton Founder of the New York Post, and current Broadway star, Alexander Hamilton was humbled to see how far his renown had continued to rise over 200 years later. In disguise, we managed to sneak him onto the Hamilton Happy Hour Tour, a two-hour walking tour through New York’s oldest neighbourhood. Hamilton enjoyed how much his life and accomplishments still mean to people. And so will you. John Hancock Most famous for sporting the first, and largest, signature on the Declaration of Independence, John Hancock was also a hugely successful merchant with a thriving trade business. Secretly, though, he simply loved fireworks. That’s why he’s so looking forward to seeing Macys Fourth of July fireworks over the Brooklyn Bridge. He wouldn’t shut up about the 75,000 fireworks due to be set off, and he’s also hungry to flex his trading muscles with an 11% discount at Macy’s Herald Square. James Madison America’s tiniest president, James Madison stood at just 5’4”. So you can understand his delight when we took him on a Madison Square Garden All Access Tour. Though he didn’t know much about modern sports, he was understandably delighted that one of the most famous sporting arenas on the planet was named after him. He especially loved the VR experience showcasing some of The Garden’s biggest ever events. John Adams One of Americas greatest ever patriots, John Adams is also responsible for the country’s oldest band – the United States Marine Band. Who knew he was such a music lover? Well, we did. He told us in person when we brought him to 2019. That’s when we knew that we had to take him on a Harlem Gospel Tour. On the three hour tour, John learned a lot about the cultural roots of Gospel music, and got to see many of Harlem’s most famous landmarks like the Apollo Theater, Abyssinian Baptist Church and Striver’s Row. So if you were wondering what the Founding Fathers would do in NYC this July 4th, now you know! Want more inspiration on things to do this Independence Day weekend? Check out our blog on things to do in NY this summer.
Dom Bewley
ride nyc

A Guide to The RIDE & Tips for your Trip

The RIDE is a new way to see New York. This theatrical experience puts a twist on the age-old bus tour format thanks to the hilarious commentary of two comedic hosts, the stadium-style seating on the bus providing you with 360 degrees of amazing views, and even the chance for a spot of impromptu karaoke! And, of course, you'll have the chance to see all the biggest landmarks that New York has to offer, and with the unrivaled freedom courtesy of floor-to-ceiling windows inside the vehicle, your phone better have enough memory for the countless snaps you'll be taking! How to get The RIDE discount tickets? We’ve got you covered – The RIDE admission is available with the below money-saving options, so you can choose the attraction pass that’s right for you: 1. All-Inclusive Pass – All you can do. Includes admission to dozens of attractions. 2. Explorer Pass – Choose as you go. Includes admission of up to 10 attractions. Tips for riding The RIDE As one of the newest, hottest attractions in New York, The RIDE is incredibly popular. As such, we recommend you book it far in advance of your trip - we wouldn't want you to miss out! You'll be spending around 75 minutes on your ride sitting down. So, be sure to wear something you're comfortable sitting in for that long! Perhaps leave those high-waisted jeans at home... Make sure to pack a camera with plenty of film, or make sure you've got enough space on your phone - you'll be taking lots and lots of photos, and you won't want to miss any of the surprising sights and sounds you'll see! When is the best time to experience The RIDE? Since you're in a sealed vehicle, really you can check out The RIDE at any time of year! However, you're likely to see more activity going on outside the bus when the weather's good, so think about hopping on from the beginning of spring to the end of summer. What is there to see and do on The RIDE? Take your seat on the three-tiered, stadium-like bus seats, and buckle up for a ride you'll never forget. Listen to the guides as they weave hilarious tales of Big Apple Hijinks, look on as you see street performers strutting their stuff, and snap pics of all the biggest highlights of New York's skyline. The RIDE highlights Be on the lookout for New York's most iconic landmarks, such as Times Square, the Chrysler Building, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Carnegie Hall, and many more! Enjoy 360-degree views of the city thanks to the floor-to-ceiling windows across the whole of the bus. Split your sides thanks to the hilarious running commentary provided by your two comedic guides. See all the city's hotspots in under 2 hours. What attractions are near The RIDE? The famous Times Square is right around the corner, if your RIDE by gave you the itch to see more. You'll also find Madame Tussauds and the MOMA a stone's throw from the pick up point. Where is there to eat nearby? If you're in the mood for an authentic New York slice, Pizza 42 is right across the street. For fast food lovers, there's an Applebee's, Dave & Busters, Chick-fil-A, and Mcdonald's a short walk from the pick up point. If you're in the market for something heartier, you're in New York! Go explore and see what you find! Need to Know For the full schedule of operation for The RIDE, visit their website here. Tours will be canceled for severe weather or mechanical issues. Directions and Address Departs from 259 West 42nd Street near 8th Avenue. New York, NY 10036 United States Closest Subway Stops A, C, E, or S trains to Port Authority/42nd Street; 1, 2, 3, N, R, Q, or 7 trains to Times Square/42nd Street. Save on Tickets with a pass Remember, Go City is the best choice for maximum savings and flexibility, which can include The RIDE tickets, plus admission to your choice of other top attractions. You'll make great savings on entry to top museums, tours, and activities vs. paying at the gate. Visit multiple attractions for one low price.
Dom Bewley

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