The first glimpse of the Statue of Liberty was an emotional experience remembered for life for the immigrants approaching New York Harbor. Engraved on the base of the Statue of Liberty are the words from Emma Lazarus's poem, "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free." The French sculptor, Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, designed the statue. It was intended as a monument to the freedom found lacking in his own country of France. Bartholdi said, "I will try to glorify the Republic and Liberty over there, in the hope that someday I will find it again here." Bartholdi used his own mother as the model for the statue and devoted 21 years of his life to the making of the monument. Gustave Eiffel, who later designed the Eiffel Tower, designed the frame.
The Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French commemorating the American Revolution. President Grover Cleveland made the statue public on October 28, 1886. Previously, the statue had been a fixture in Paris before it was brought to Bedloe's Island, now known as Liberty Island. In 1986 the statue underwent extensive restoration at a cost of $69.8 million dollars. A new gold torch was added replacing the corroded original (the original is on display in the main lobby). The torch was coated with 24-carat gold leaf. The Statue of Liberty is recognized as a symbol of freedom throughout the world.
When immigrants from Southern Italy came to New York, they found themselves in "dumbbell" apartments. These apartments were so close together that no sunlight ever reached the lower windows or back yards.
During the late 1800s over 40,000 people were crowded into this small 17-block area. Diseases, such as tuberculosis, were a part of daily life. Even with these hardships, the residents of Little Italy built a lively and colorful community with the sights, sounds, and flavors of their homeland.
The Italian population of New York City's "Little Italy" has dwindled to fewer than 5,000...