New York and its "Miss Liberty"
New York is the biggest city in the USA, with a population of over 17 million. It’s made up of five different boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island. The heart of the city Manhattan Island, which is surrounded by the river Hudson and the East River.
Manhattan has grown enormously as a “vertical city”. Until September 11th 2001, the date of the worst tragedy in America history, the tallest buildings were the Twin Towers, 400 metres high. Today the tallest and most famous skyscraper in New York is the Empire State Building (449 metres high), which was completed in 1931 and has 102 floors. You can enjoy a superb view of the city from its Observatory (it’s open until 23.30). Another famous tower is the United Nations Building, made of glass and steel, on the East Side.
Walking along the streets of Manhattan is like visiting the whole world: every neighbourhood has a different atmosphere. Chinatown has the greatest concentration of Chinese restaurants and shops in America; Little Italy on Mulberry Street looks like an Italian city street; Harlem, north of Central Park, is the black neighbourhood; Greenwich Village is popular with artists and students.
If you like the theatre, a musical on Broadway is a must for you. And if you like jogging, cycling, skating or playing any kind of sport, just go to Central Park. It’s the biggest city park in the world, 4 kilometres long and 800 metres wide, with lots of lakes and a zoo.
New York has got also some of the most important collections in the world: the Museum of Modern Art, the Guggenhein Museum, the Metropolitan Museum, the American Museum of Natural History and many others. Most of them are on Fifth Avenue, where you will also see some of the most exclusive shops and hotels.
And of course don’t miss the symbol of America, the Statue of Liberty, which stands on a small island at the entrance of New York harbor called Liberty Island. You can take a ferry from downtown Manhattan to go there. Another name of the Statue of Liberty is Miss Liberty. It was given to the USA by France as a sign of friendship between the two nations.
French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi began building the Statue in 1875 and engineer Gustave Eiffel, responsible for the construction of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, designed this metal frame. Public festivals and lotteries were organized in France to collect the money necessary for its construction: 250 000 dollars, then a very large sum! The statue was completed in Paris in June 1884. It was then dismantled and the following year sent to New York by ship, packed in more than 200 crates. When it arrived in New York it was mounted on a high granite pedestal and inaugurated on October 28th, 1886. At the time, it was the tallest structure in America, 46 metres high!
Miss Liberty carries the torch of freedom in her right hand and a tablet with the inscription “July IV MDCCLXXVI, Independence Day” in her left hand; at her feet are some broken chains.
By 1986 the statue had been completely restored and was ready for its centennial celebrations, which took places on a four-day week and involved parades and fireworks. The statue was closed to the public for security reasons after 11th September 2001 but has now reopened, so visitors can take lifts or go up 335 steps to reach its feet and then climb another 168 steps to the crown. It is no longer possible to get inside the torch. From the top of the statue there’s a wonderful view of Manhattan, Brooklyn and New Jersey.