New York City's iconic Statue of Liberty is celebrating its125th birthday with a new gift: webcams on her torch that will allow viewers to gaze out at New York Harbor and read the tablet in her hands. They will also allow viewers to peek down at visitors on the grounds of Liberty Island in real time.
There will be five torch cams in total and they will switch on this Friday during a commemoration of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty. The ceremony will cap off a week of events centered on the beloved Lady Liberty.
According to Stephen Briganti, the president of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, the webcams will offer views from the torch that have been unavailable to the public since 1916.
The webcams, generously donated by New Jersey-based Earthcam Inc. and the National Park Service, will be on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The views will include a high-quality, 180-degree panorama of the harbor and shots of Ellis and Governors Islands. Viewers can also watch ships go through the harbor and witness the construction of the Freedom Tower at the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan. At night, viewers can catch a fish-eye view of the glowing torch.
A new exhibit on Emma Lazarus, whose famous sonnet helped bring the monument renown as the Mother of Exiles, will open at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in lower Manhattan on Wednesday to coincide with the anniversary of the statue's dedication. Initially, Lazarus' sonnet in the voice of the statue asking for your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, did not appear on Lady Liberty. The New Colossus was placed on the pedestal at 1903.
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Lazarus died in 1887 at the age of 38, never having known that her words would be inextricably united with the Statue of Liberty.
The 125th birthday of the statue will be bittersweet.
On Oct. 28, the National Parks Service, which manages the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, plans to close the monument for a $27.25 million renovation to make the interior safer and more accessible. The renovations will include updating the statue's mechanical and electrical systems, adding new fire suppression equipment, replacing elevators and enclosing one of the staircases for safety.
Liberty Island will remain open.
An enduring symbol of freedom for all, the stern-faced, torch-carrying Statue of Liberty was once the city's best-known and most-visited tourist attraction. However, in the decade since the 9/11 attacks, the statue has only recently reopened in full.
A present from the people of France, Lady Liberty arrived on June 17, 1885 in New York Harbor in more than 200 pieces. Assembly of the Frederic Auguste Bartholdi-designed statue was completed and the statue opened to the public on Oct. 28, 1886 with a dedication ceremony by President Grover Cleveland.
As Ellis Island opened in 1892, the Statue of Liberty came to symbolize freedom for the 12 million immigrants that passed by as they entered the U.S.
The events this Friday include:
8:45 a.m.-9:30 a.m.: Naturalization ceremony
125 people from more than 40 countries will be naturalized.
10 a.m.-noon: National Park Service ceremony
The main ceremony, which will feature a reading of Emma Lazarus' famous poem The New Colossus by Sigourney Weaver and the giving of a gift of friendship to a French representative.
1:30 p.m.: Ladies Auxiliary of the Veterans of Foreign Wars
The group will present a donation to the Statue of Liberty National Monument for the 75th year.
7:45 p.m.: Macy's Fireworks Grand Finale
Two barges behind The Statue of Liberty will launch a 12-minute pyrotechnic display synchronized to patriotic music and an original song.
You can view the webcams at EarthCam beginning on Friday, Oct. 28.