The Statue of Liberty is very green

By skepticlawyer

It is likely impossible to say anything new about New York so I am not going to try. This post is a placeholder and an apology for not being around the blog very much, something likely to continue for the rest of this week while I see the sights.

Briefly, I attended a conference in Washington DC and rather than catch the red-eye express back to London, I am staying with a fellow BCL graduate in New York (a city I have never visited before) until Friday. Today (my first day without the effects of jet lag) was spent tramping around Liberty and Ellis Islands.

Unfortunately, the US hasn’t had a great deal of practice at responding to home terrorism (unlike the British) and watching this basically friendly and welcoming people enforcing Tower of London style security (badly, I might add) at the base of the Statue of Liberty was quite distressing. I particularly felt for the young chap from the National Parks service who had to keep shouting the same information (no water bottles, no back-packs, take off your shoes etc etc) over and over again until he was hoarse. No-one had thought to put up a sign, or prerecord the announcement. No-one had even thought to give him a megaphone.

As I mentioned in the comments to this thread, the Statue of Liberty is a rather fetching green, something I hadn’t appreciated fully until now. A photograph of her in all her greenness is therefore included in this post. 

Presumably because it is less symbolic and thus less likely to be a target for loonies, Ellis Island (the main processing centre for US immigrants between 1892 and 1924) was not overburdened with security. It is a striking piece of Victorian architecture, lovingly restored (comparable to Kings Cross-St Pancras in London). I have included a photograph of the vaulted reception hall. It also contains within a museum that I recommend to anyone with even the most passing interest in statistics.

It is one thing to present masses of data in an economics paper to an audience with some training, and another thing entirely to make that information accessible to those who can but add and subtract. The thought that has gone into conveying statistical information in a three-dimensional visual form in the Ellis Island museum is second-to-none and very informative. Highly recommended if you haven’t seen it before.


  1. Patrick
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Not over-burdened with security? The Statue’s crown was only re-opened on July 4 last year!!

  2. Posted February 23, 2010 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    I was referring to Ellis Island, Patrick. You still can’t get into the crown without booking AGES in advance (which I didn’t do).

  3. billie
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    have a great time!

  4. JC
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

    Ellis Island is quite an emotional experience, don’t you think? We took the kids there when they were quite young but I still recall how the place had an effect on me just thinking about the millions of people that trod through there including lost family ancestors from 100 years ago.

    The super power was mostly built by people going through that building. Prior to that, I don’t recall when, the US was essentially free immigration. You just stepped off the boat and you were there allowed to stay as long you wanted.

    You’re right though, they really do security badly. They have no freaking idea.

  5. Posted February 23, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    Wow… went and looked at a couple of other images on the net… can see the green, or it could be the homunculus with the coloring pencils in my brain. Never saw that before. (When you have wacky color vision, you see what you think you are supposed to see, and sometimes when told, the color of something can change before your eyes).

    Not having imagined it being the color green, I thought you might be talking about its lights being powered by a myriad of NY rats on treadmills/hamsterwheels in the basement, fed with garbage from NY restaurants, and hyperactive from the speed/cocaine dust extracted from greenbacks.

  6. Posted February 23, 2010 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Apparently the green oxidization protects the copper base underneath, which is why they don’t clean it off. It also adds character (although that may have been unintentional).

    Also, apparently 40% of the current US population is descended from people who came through Ellis Island.

  7. JC
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Yea green stuff is just copper doing what it does in salty air.

    Make sure you go to Gotham bar and grill an old haunt of mine on about 12 street I think.

    You should try Balthezar’s, a great restaurant in Tribeca.

  8. Posted February 24, 2010 at 12:42 am | Permalink

    Well, off to the Met this afternoon. I was going to go to the Empire State but it is piddling with rain and I’m likely to see doodly-squat, so something indoors is the way to go.

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