Is the Statue of Liberty in New York or New Jersey? Cool facts, weird theories
RuPaul, eat your star-spangled heart out!
Weighing in at a plus-size 450,000 pounds, with a 35-foot waist and 25-foot long feet (where can a girl find Louboutin heels in size 879?) — the biggest drag queen in America could be the Statue of Liberty.
The inspiration for Lady Liberty's handsome looks has long thought to be the mother of the statue's designer, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi.
But historian Elizabeth Mitchell, who wrote “Liberty’s Torch: The Great Adventure To Build the Statue of Liberty,” has put forth the theory that the face more closely resembles Bartholdi's brother than his mother.
“As I was looking at it more carefully, the structure of the face isn’t really the same. [His mother] has a more arched eyebrow, has a thinner nose, has thinner lips, even in her youth. And he was a bust-maker … and was known for his accuracy,” Mitchell told the New York Post.
Other historians seriously doubt that, though.
The female personification of liberty, by the way, comes from Libertas, the Roman goddess of liberty.
Here are some other Statue of Liberty facts to chew on while you get ready for your Fourth of July barbecue. Courtesy of the The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Foundation and the National Park Service.
New York or New Jersey? While Liberty Island is closer to the Garden State, the National Park Service says it is "located within the territorial jurisdiction of the State of New York" as per a pact between the two states and ratified by Congress in 1834. Lives in Jersey, but still says she's a New Yorker. Figures.
Merci beaucoup! Edouard de Laboulaye came up with the idea for the statue as a way for France to honor its revolutionary ally, celebrate the abolition of slavery in the United States and inspire his fellow countrymen to rise against Napoleon III, who had overthrown the French Second Republic in a coup.
Welcoming immigrants? Lady Liberty has long been associated with immigration. The statue was the first thing seen by nearly 9 million immigrants when they first arrived by ship in New York Harbor. But the statue was never intended to be about immigration.
'Give me your tired, your poor': The poem that has long helped associate the Statue of Liberty in popular culture as a beacon for immigrants was written in 1883 by American poet Emma Lazarus to promote the statue. It was largely forgotten until 1903, when it was engraved on a bronze plaque and placed inside the pedestal. The most famous lines are:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
A true beacon: The statue's torch originally was an electric lighthouse.
The color suits her: Lady Liberty looks green because her copper coat has oxidized. The green patina is just as thick as the copper itself — about the thickness of two stacked pennies — and helps preserve the landmark.
Out of reach: The torch, accessible only by a 40-foot ladder, has been closed to the public since 1916 after the arm was damaged after the Black Tom explosion by German saboteurs on a nearby Jersey City island. In 1986, the torch was replaced with one of a copper frame covered in 24K gold.
Official name: "Liberty Enlightening the World"
She's tall: The entire structure is about the height of a 22-story building. In 1886 it was the taller than any Manhattan building.
Crowdsourcing: In France, people had raised $250,000 to build the statue. But Americans still needed to raise their own funds to erect it. New York World newspaper publisher Joseph Pulitzer came to the rescue, calling on his working-class readers to chip in. The campaign raised $100,000, nearly all of it from donations of a single dollar or less.
Top to bottom: Lady Liberty's crown of seven spikes represents the seven oceans and the seven continents of the world — liberty is universal and for all. Her bare feet, meanwhile, trample on a chain representing the shackles of oppression and tyranny.
Happy Fourth of July! The tablet held in Liberty's left hand bears the date of July 4, 1776 in Roman numerals: July IV, MDCCLXXVI.