If you are planning a trip to New York City in June keep these dates in mind!
If you are going to visit New York in June it would be good to remember the date of June 19, 1885. For it is on this day under a cloudy sky that New York celebrates the Statue of Liberty’s arrival from France.
The first completed portion of the statue, her three-story tall arm and torch, spent nine years as a tourist attraction in Madison Square Park (Madison Ave & 5th Avenue between 23rd and 26th Streets). When the body was finished, the arm and torch returned to France and the completed statute was shipped to New York.
The statue consists of 300 copper plates riveted to a steel frame. The steel skeletal frame was designed by none other than Gustaf Eiffel, who would then go on to build the famous Eiffel Tower in Paris. The shackles at her feet represent freedom from tyranny, the seven spikes on her crown represent the seven continents and the seven seas, the torch represents enlightenment and the tablet in her left hand has inscribed upon it the date of July 4, 1776, the year we declared our independence.
The Statue of Liberty’s dedication was delayed until October 1886, because of a shortage of funds for her pedestal. We were responsible for raising the money to build the pedestal upon which the statue would stand. However, New Yorkers were not very forthcoming in sending in their donations and it wasn’t until newspaperman Joseph Pulitzer wrote a letter in his newspaper asking New Yorkers to come forward with their support and promising to print the names of every single person who made a donation no matter how small, did the residents of our city finally send in their pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters.
It is important to remember that the statue was not a gift from the government of France to the government of the United States, it was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States honoring our freedom and democracy that they so desperately wanted.
Although the Statue of Liberty will not be opening until July 4th you can get great views by taking a Harbor tour around the waters of New York surrounding the statue. I recommend New York Water Taxi, I love their boats and their guides for the most part are very good. They have tours that depart from the South Street Seaport as well as Pier 83 on the Hudson River, near the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum.
Also this month in June, Coney Island presents the first roller coaster on June 6, 1884.
On June 25, 1906 architect Stanford White is shot and killed on the roof of the Madison Square Garden he designed by the husband of showgirl Evelyn Nesbitt, Mr. White’s former mistress. That Madison Square Garden was built on the corner of Madison Avenue and 26th St., but today is the location of a prominent feature of the Manhattan skyline, the New York Life Insurance Company building.