National Parks in New York

March 10, 2023

One of the most recognizable symbols in the world, the Statue of Liberty has come to represent freedom, democracy and justice that societies around the world have sought to emulate.

The statue is a gift from the people of France and was erected in 1886 to celebrate the centennial of American independence.

The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty, a gift from France to the United States, is a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. Originally created to symbolize friendship between the two countries, it has since become an iconic image in New York Harbor and a worldwide symbol of liberty, peace, and hope for those seeking a better life.

The colossal copper statue was commissioned by French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and designed by Alexandre Gustave Eiffel. It was completed in France and shipped to New York in June 1885, arriving aboard the French frigate Isere.

The 214-foot (62-meter) copper statue was then disassembled, packed into 350 crates, and transported across the Atlantic Ocean to New York City where it was reassembled on the pedestal on Bedloe’s Island, now Liberty Island. It was dedicated by President Grover Cleveland on October 28, 1886.

Stonewall National Monument

Stonewall National Monument is the first National Park in New York to focus on LGBTQ history. It encompasses Christopher Park and is the site of a riot that occurred on June 28, 1969, when police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village.

The riots were a major milestone in the fight for gay rights in the United States, and they paved the way for future activism. At the Stonewall Inn, a group of protesters broke down parking meters, threw rocks at the police, and lit fires.

The bar has changed hands many times since 1969, but it still operates as a gay club and event venue. In 2016, President Obama designated the area around the Stonewall Inn as the first National Monument to commemorate LGBTQ history.

Gateway National Recreation Area

Located in the outer New York-New Jersey Harbor, Gateway National Recreation Area is one of the first urban parks in the National Park Service. Established in 1972, it preserves green spaces and beaches alongside historic structures and cultural landscapes.

It also protects habitat for hundreds of species of plants and animals. Many species, like American Oystercatchers and Killdeer, can be spotted year-round at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Floyd Bennett Field’s North Forty, Great Kills Park, and Sandy Hook.

While visiting Gateway, be sure to take proper precautions and stay safe. The area has a history of UXOs, which can pose a danger if you come into contact with them.

Federal Hall National Memorial

Built in the 1840s, Federal Hall National Memorial sits on Wall Street. It is the site where George Washington was sworn in as the first president of the United States, and where all three branches of government began their official offices.

Today, the building is a museum and monument to America’s beginnings and serves as the center of civic life in New York City. It has been the site of many important events, including an important gathering in September 2002, when 300 members of Congress came together to demonstrate their support for the city after 9/11.

The Neoclassical structure is modeled after the Parthenon in Athens and the interior rotunda resembles the Pantheon in Rome. It also represents two North American ideals — democracy and capitalism — that are still central to the USA’s form of government.

Castle Clinton National Monument

Castle Clinton National Monument is a circular sandstone fort in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island. It was built in 1808-1811 to defend New York Harbor from British attacks.

Over the years, this site has served many different roles--a fort, a music hall, an opera house, an immigration station, and even an aquarium! In 1946 it was saved from demolition and designated as a National Monument.

Today it serves as a ticket office for the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island ferry, as well as a small museum that exhibits the building’s storied history. It’s a great way to learn about how one location can adapt to so many changes over the centuries!


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