The Crown


Everyone calls the headpiece sitting on Lady Liberty’s head her crown, but really it should be called a diadem, which is a particular kind of crown that is more like a headband. Lady Liberty’s has 7 spikes on it, which we think stand for the 7 oceans and the 7 continents because the idea of liberty is a universal concept. The spikes can also be interpreted as rays of light from the sun, like a halo or nimbus that show she is divine. In 1938 some of the supports in the crown were rusting out, so the rays were removed for a time to replace the bad supports.

Female symbols for liberty were very popular at the time. Sculptor Thomas Crawford’s Statue of Freedom is very similar, which sits atop the US Capitol Building. On her head is a military helmet with stars, an eagle head and a crest of feathers. Both Crawford and and Bartholdi (Lady Liberty’s sculptor) considered putting a pileus on the heads of both women, which was the cap given to freed slaves in ancient Rome. Bartholdi instead went with the diadem while Crawford went for a crested helmet.

Like the Pedestal, the Crown was made in such a way that you can actually go up inside of it. Once you’re there you are about 300 feet up in the air, about 22 stories up if you were in a building. There are 24 or 25 observation windows out of which you can enjoy stunning vistas of the New York Harbor and imagine ships of new immigrants coming to the US for the first time.

Climbing the statue is no laughing matter. If you take the stairs all the way from the lobby of the Pedestal building, up into the statue and all the way to the crown, there are 377 stairs to climb. There is an elevator that you can take from the lobby of the Pedestal to the top of the Pedestal, but climbing up into the statue itself can only take place by ascending the double-helix spiral staircase. Therefore, do not attempt this physical feat if you suffer from heart conditions, respiratory conditions, mobility impairments, claustrophobia, acrophobia or vertigo. About the statue’s staircase:

  • Staircase design: Double Spiral
  • Stairs: 146
  • Width of stairs: 18 inches
  • Head clearance: Approximately 6 feet

As with the Pedestal, visitation to the Crown was also overhauled in 2009. The new system now requires reservations, and there is an extra fee associated with it ($3).

When you arrive to Liberty Island, find the sign that says CROWN ENTRANCE in order to check in. As with the Pedestal building, the entrance is through the white tent just behind the statue. You will need to show both a photo ID and your valid ticket (unless you’re a minor with no ID), and it is critical that the name on the ticket and the name on your photo ID be a perfect match!

Because visiting the CROWN is so popular, the following rules must be observed:

  • When you make reservations, each order can only be for 4 (FOUR) tickets.
  • You can only make a reservation once for yourself every six months.
  • Children have to be AT LEAST 4 (four) feet tall to visit the Crown, and accompanied by an adult at all times. NO EXCEPTIONS.
  • If you place a reservation for multiple tickets, the name of each person who will be in your party must be given at the time the reservation is made because tickets are non-transferrable!
  • Each person planning to enter the Crown must show both their valid ticket and a photo ID of themselves prior to entrance. Minors with no ID will still be allowed to enter.
  • You must be in decent physical shape to make the climb up into the Crown.
  • ALL Crown tickets must be picked up at the WILL CALL window at the ferry departure points by the person who purchased them. They may not be printed at home. The purchaser who picks up the tickets must show a photo ID as well as the credit card that was used to make the purchase.
  • Crown tickets are for both a specific date and a specific time.

You will definitely need a locker because the ONLY items that you may take up into the statue itself are one camera person (no camera bags or cases) and any medications you might need along the way. Storage lockers may be rented for 2 hours at a cost of $2 in order to stow any such items during your visit to Liberty Island. Please note that lockers must be paid for in cash and only bills are accepted.

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