Joan of Arc, Gertrude Stein, Harriet Tubman and Golda Meir have all have been honored with statues in New York City, but the most famous female of them all has to be Lady Liberty. While she's quite impressive in the daytime, like most ladies of a certain age, she looks dramatically beautiful in the evening, and even more so from the water.
The Statue by Night Tour by New York Water Taxi is a great way to see her up close and personal. The boat pushes off from the South Street Seaport and guests are welcomed aboard with a glass of complimentary Champagne (for guests over 21 years of age). Passengers have the option of sitting either upstairs on the open deck or inside the main cabin. The front and back decks are usually also open for standing.
The 60-minute tour heads south, dipping around lower Manhattan and then easing its way north, up the Hudson and past the World Trade Center site. Across the water, on the New Jersey side, passengers shouldn't miss a cool relic from years gone by: the octagonal neon Colgate clock in Jersey City.
The boat then turns and heads towards Ellis Island. Shadowy in the fading sunset, the buildings' Beaux Arts style is beautiful, but at the same time a little intimidating. One wonders how immigrants to the New World felt as they were beckoned inside.
Then it's on to the Statue of Liberty. While the boat doesn't actually dock there, it does slow down for photo ops and a rousing rendition of Frank Sinatra's ode to the city, "New York, New York."
As the ship turns around to make its return up the East River, all three Brooklyn-Manhattan river crossings are visible in the distance. Most tour guides will tell you, it's easy to remember the order of the bridges as long as you think of BMW, the fancy British car: Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg.
Pulling up to the marvel of engineering that is the Brooklyn Bridge, it's possible to see the Empire State Building off in the distance. The boat makes its final turn and heads back home to the South Street Seaport, where passengers can purchase a souvenir photo of themselves in front of the boat on their way back home.
Good for kids?
This relatively brief tour keeps moving and while it's not geared towards children, there's enough to keep them occupied for the duration of the tour.
Did you know?
When the wind hits 50 miles an hour (or more), the Statue of Liberty has been known to sway up to three inches. The torch, six inches!
During World War II, the bright lights of New York City made it easier for the German boats to spot and hit their targets, but the U.S. refused to follow London's lead and declare blackouts (although they did ask local amusement parks to tone it down).
After gazing at it from the Harbor, those who want to look up relatives who may have passed through Ellis Island can do so through their website.
Statue by Night Hours and Location Information