13 Jan 2014 gave Statue of Liberty best visitor figures since 9/11

The Statue of Liberty may be one of the most instantly recognizable custom sculptures on the planet, but it’s certainly not become over-familiar to the millions of people who pay it a visit every year. That was certainly well evidenced in 2014, which saw 4.2 million people visit the statue and Ellis Island, the highest figure since 2000.

Indeed, last year was the third most popular year for tourism to the landmarks, only beaten by 1999 and 2000, the latter seeing 4.4 million people visit. After September 11, 2001, airport-style security measures were implemented by the National Park Service, leading to a decline in numbers. Only about 2.1 million people took a look around the island in 2003.

The increase in attendance has been largely attributed to a more streamlined security process, with Statue Cruises’ chief operating officer, Michael Burke, commenting: “We have brought the wait times down from two hours to 20 minutes on a busy day. A normal good year for us would have been 3.8 or 3.9 million visitors. This was an extraordinary year.”

Superstorm Sandy didn’t do much to help those visitor numbers either, with the damage that the October 2012 storm caused requiring a year and a half to repair prior to reopening.

Nonetheless, the Statue has always been a big draw among tourists from both elsewhere in the United States and the wider world, despite only a small fraction of the 55 million people (approximately) who visit New York City each year also making the journey across the harbor.

Construction of the Statue of Liberty – otherwise known as Liberty Enlightening the World – began in France in 1875, and on October 28, 1886, it was dedicated in New York. The colossal neoclassical statue was famously a gift from the people of France and was designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, who depicted a robed female figure bearing a torch and a tabula ansata, or a tablet evoking the law.

Upon that tablet is an inscription of the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. With the female figure herself representing the Roman goddess of freedom, Libertas, it’s fair to say that the Statue has proved a true icon of American freedom down the years, so we were delighted here at Big Statues to hear of such an uptick in visitors.

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