Liberty Island
Overview
 
Liberty Island is a small uninhabited island in New York Harbor
Port of New York and New Jersey
The Port of New York and New Jersey comprises the waterways in the estuary of the New York-Newark metropolitan area with a port district encompassing an approximate area within a radius of the Statue of Liberty National Monument...

 in the United States, best known as the location of the Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...

. Though so called since the turn of the century
Turn of the century
Turn of the century, in its broadest sense, refers to the transition from one century to another. The term is most often used to indicate a non-specific time period either before or after the beginning of a century....

, the name did not become official until 1956. In 1937, by proclamation 2250, President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 expanded the Statue of Liberty National Monument to include all of Bedloe's Island, and in 1956, an act of Congress officially renamed it. It became part of the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 site Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island
Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island
Statue of Liberty National Monument is a national monument comprising Liberty Island and Ellis Island in New York Harbor. It includes the Statue of Liberty, situated on Liberty Island , and the former immigration depot on Ellis Island . The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886...

 in 1966.
According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the island has a land area of 59,558 square meters, or 14.717 acres, which is the property of the federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

.
Encyclopedia
Liberty Island is a small uninhabited island in New York Harbor
Port of New York and New Jersey
The Port of New York and New Jersey comprises the waterways in the estuary of the New York-Newark metropolitan area with a port district encompassing an approximate area within a radius of the Statue of Liberty National Monument...

 in the United States, best known as the location of the Statue of Liberty
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty is a colossal neoclassical sculpture on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, designed by Frédéric Bartholdi and dedicated on October 28, 1886...

. Though so called since the turn of the century
Turn of the century
Turn of the century, in its broadest sense, refers to the transition from one century to another. The term is most often used to indicate a non-specific time period either before or after the beginning of a century....

, the name did not become official until 1956. In 1937, by proclamation 2250, President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

 expanded the Statue of Liberty National Monument to include all of Bedloe's Island, and in 1956, an act of Congress officially renamed it. It became part of the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 site Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island
Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island
Statue of Liberty National Monument is a national monument comprising Liberty Island and Ellis Island in New York Harbor. It includes the Statue of Liberty, situated on Liberty Island , and the former immigration depot on Ellis Island . The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886...

 in 1966.

Geography and access

According to the United States Census Bureau
United States Census Bureau
The United States Census Bureau is the government agency that is responsible for the United States Census. It also gathers other national demographic and economic data...

, the island has a land area of 59,558 square meters, or 14.717 acres, which is the property of the federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

. Liberty Island is located in the Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay, or Upper Bay, is the traditional heart of the Port of New York and New Jersey, and often called New York Harbor. It is enclosed by the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island and the Hudson County, New Jersey municipalities of Jersey City and Bayonne.It...

 surrounded by the waters of Jersey City, New Jersey
Jersey City, New Jersey
Jersey City is the seat of Hudson County, New Jersey, United States.Part of the New York metropolitan area, Jersey City lies between the Hudson River and Upper New York Bay across from Lower Manhattan and the Hackensack River and Newark Bay...

, but its built portions and docks fall under the jurisdiction of the City of New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

.
. The historical developments which led to this construction created the rare situation of an exclave of one state, New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, being situated in another, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

. The island is operated by the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

, and since September 11, 2001
September 11, 2001 attacks
The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks The September 11 attacks (also referred to as September 11, September 11th or 9/119/11 is pronounced "nine eleven". The slash is not part of the pronunciation...

, guarded by around-the-clock patrols of the United States Park Police Marine Patrol Unit. Liberty Island is 2000 feet (600 m) east of Liberty State Park
Liberty State Park
Liberty State Park is located on Upper New York Bay in Jersey City, New Jersey, opposite the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The park opened in 1976 to coincide with bicentennial celebrations and is operated and maintained by the New Jersey Division of Parks and Forestry.-Geography and...

 in Jersey City
Jersey City, New Jersey
Jersey City is the seat of Hudson County, New Jersey, United States.Part of the New York metropolitan area, Jersey City lies between the Hudson River and Upper New York Bay across from Lower Manhattan and the Hackensack River and Newark Bay...

 and is 1-5/8 statute miles (2.6 kilometers) southwest of Battery Park
Battery Park
Battery Park is a 25-acre public park located at the Battery, the southern tip of Manhattan Island in New York City, facing New York Harbor. The Battery is named for artillery batteries that were positioned there in the city's early years in order to protect the settlement behind them...

 in Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan
Lower Manhattan is the southernmost part of the island of Manhattan, the main island and center of business and government of the City of New York...

. Public access is permitted only by ferries from either of the two parks, which also serve nearby Ellis Island
Ellis Island
Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States. It was the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with landfill between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the...

 to the north.
Bedloe Island, now known as Liberty Island, was used as a military post until 1937. Then the land was added to the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

Oyster Island

At the time of European colonialization of the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

 estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 in the 17th century, much of the west side Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay, or Upper Bay, is the traditional heart of the Port of New York and New Jersey, and often called New York Harbor. It is enclosed by the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island and the Hudson County, New Jersey municipalities of Jersey City and Bayonne.It...

 contained large tidal flats which hosted vast oyster beds
Oyster
The word oyster is used as a common name for a number of distinct groups of bivalve molluscs which live in marine or brackish habitats. The valves are highly calcified....

, a major source of food for Lenape
Lenape
The Lenape are an Algonquian group of Native Americans of the Northeastern Woodlands. They are also called Delaware Indians. As a result of the American Revolutionary War and later Indian removals from the eastern United States, today the main groups live in Canada, where they are enrolled in the...

 population who lived there at the time. There were several islands which were not completely submerged at high tide. Three of them (later to be known as Liberty, Ellis Island
Ellis Island
Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States. It was the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with landfill between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the...

 and Black Tom) were given the name Oyster Islands by the settlers to the New Netherland
New Netherland
New Netherland, or Nieuw-Nederland in Dutch, was the 17th-century colonial province of the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands on the East Coast of North America. The claimed territories were the lands from the Delmarva Peninsula to extreme southwestern Cape Cod...

, the first European colony in the Mid-Atlantic
Mid-Atlantic States
The Mid-Atlantic states, also called middle Atlantic states or simply the mid Atlantic, form a region of the United States generally located between New England and the South...

 states. The oyster beds would remain a major source of food for nearly three centuries.
Landfilling
Land reclamation
Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, is the process to create new land from sea or riverbeds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill.- Habitation :...

 after the turn of the century
Turn of the century
Turn of the century, in its broadest sense, refers to the transition from one century to another. The term is most often used to indicate a non-specific time period either before or after the beginning of a century....

, particularly by Lehigh Valley Railroad
Lehigh Valley Railroad
The Lehigh Valley Railroad was one of a number of railroads built in the northeastern United States primarily to haul anthracite coal.It was authorized April 21, 1846 in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and incorporated September 20, 1847 as the Delaware, Lehigh, Schuylkill and Susquehanna Railroad...

 and Central Railroad of New Jersey
Central Railroad of New Jersey
The Central Railroad of New Jersey , commonly known as the Jersey Central Lines or CNJ, was a Class I railroad with origins in the 1830s, lasting until 1976 when it was absorbed into Conrail with the other bankrupt railroads of the Northeastern United States...

, eventually obliterated the beds, engulfed one island and brought the shoreline much closer to the others.

Bedloe's Island

After the surrender of Fort Amsterdam
Fort Amsterdam
For the historic fort on the island of Saint Martin, see Fort Amsterdam Fort Amsterdam was a fort on the southern tip of Manhattan that was the administrative headquarters for the Dutch and then British rule of New York from...

 by the Dutch
Netherlands
The Netherlands is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, located mainly in North-West Europe and with several islands in the Caribbean. Mainland Netherlands borders the North Sea to the north and west, Belgium to the south, and Germany to the east, and shares maritime borders...

 to the British
Great Britain
Great Britain or Britain is an island situated to the northwest of Continental Europe. It is the ninth largest island in the world, and the largest European island, as well as the largest of the British Isles...

 in 1664, the English governor Richard Nicolls
Richard Nicolls
Richard Nicolls was the first English colonial governor of New York province....

 granted the island to Captain Robert Needham. It was sold to Isaac Bedlow December 23, 1667. The island was retained by his estate until 1732 when it was sold for 5 shillings to New York merchants Adolphe Philipse and Henry Lane. During their ownership, the island was temporarily commandeered by the city of New York to establish a smallpox
Smallpox
Smallpox was an infectious disease unique to humans, caused by either of two virus variants, Variola major and Variola minor. The disease is also known by the Latin names Variola or Variola vera, which is a derivative of the Latin varius, meaning "spotted", or varus, meaning "pimple"...

 quarantine station.

In 1746 the island was purchased by Archibald Kennedy, Earl of Cassils
Marquess of Ailsa
Marquess of Ailsa, of the Isle of Ailsa in the County of Ayr, is a title in the Peerage of the United Kingdom. It was created on 10 September 1831 for Archibald Kennedy, 12th Earl of Cassillis. The title Earl of Cassillis had been created in 1509 for the 3rd Lord Kennedy. This title had been...

 for use as a summer home. In 1753 the island is described in an advertisement (in which "Bedlow's" had become "Bedloe's") as being available for rental:
To
be Let. Bedloe's Island, alias Love Island, together with
the dwelling-house and lighthouse being finely situated for
a tavern, where all kinds of garden stuff, poultry, etc., may
be easily raised for the shipping outward bound, and from
where any quantity of pickled oysters may be transported ;
it abounds with English rabbits."


In 1756 Kennedy allowed the island to again be used as a smallpox quarantine station, and on February 18, 1758 the Corporation of the City of New York bought the island for £1,000 for use as a pest house
Pest house
In the past, a pest house or pesthouse was a hospital or hostel used for persons afflicted with communicable diseases such as tuberculosis, cholera, or smallpox...

.

When the British troops occupied New York Harbor in the lead-up to the American Revolutionary War
American Revolutionary War
The American Revolutionary War , the American War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War, began as a war between the Kingdom of Great Britain and thirteen British colonies in North America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.The war was the result of the...

, the island was to be used for housing for Tory
Tory
Toryism is a traditionalist and conservative political philosophy which grew out of the Cavalier faction in the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It is a prominent ideology in the politics of the United Kingdom, but also features in parts of The Commonwealth, particularly in Canada...

 refugees, but on April 2, 1776, the buildings constructed on the island for their use were burned to the ground.

Fort Wood

On February 15, 1800, the New York State Legislature ceded the island to the federal government, for the construction of a defensive fort to be built there (along with Governor's Island and Ellis Island
Ellis Island
Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States. It was the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with landfill between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the...

). Construction of a land battery
Land battery
A land battery is a special type of gun emplacement or anti-shipping naval interdiction fortification used in coastal defense to protect areas such as anchorages, harbors, and rivers...

 on the island in the shape of an 11-point star began in 1806 and was completed in 1811. Following the War of 1812
War of 1812
The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the forces of the United States of America and those of the British Empire. The Americans declared war in 1812 for several reasons, including trade restrictions because of Britain's ongoing war with France, impressment of American merchant...

, the fort was named Fort Wood after Lt. Col Eleazer Derby Wood who was killed in the Battle of Lake Erie
Battle of Lake Erie
The Battle of Lake Erie, sometimes called the Battle of Put-in-Bay, was fought on 10 September 1813, in Lake Erie off the coast of Ohio during the War of 1812. Nine vessels of the United States Navy defeated and captured six vessels of Great Britain's Royal Navy...

 in 1813. The granite fortification
Fortification
Fortifications are military constructions and buildings designed for defence in warfare and military bases. Humans have constructed defensive works for many thousands of years, in a variety of increasingly complex designs...

 followed a star fort
Star fort
A star fort, or trace italienne, is a fortification in the style that evolved during the age of gunpowder, when cannon came to dominate the battlefield, and was first seen in the mid-15th century in Italy....

 layout with 11 prominent bastion
Bastion
A bastion, or a bulwark, is a structure projecting outward from the main enclosure of a fortification, situated in both corners of a straight wall , facilitating active defence against assaulting troops...

s. It later became the part of the base for the Statue of Liberty. The National Park Service (which had been created in 1916) took over operations of the island in two stages: 2 acres (8,093.7 m²) in 1933, and the remainder in 1937. The military installation was completely removed by 1944.

Statue of Liberty

The national monument is a gift from the people of France to mark the American Centennial. It was agreed the people of the United States were to build the base and the French people were responsible for the statue and its assembly in the States. The site was authorized by an Act of Congress on March 3, 1877. The construction of the statue was completed in France in July 1884. The cornerstone was laid on August 5, 1884, and after some funding delays, construction of the pedestal was finished on April 22, 1886. The statue arrived in New York Harbor on June 17, 1885 on board the French frigate Isère, was stored for eleven months in crates waiting for its pedestal to be finished, and was then reassembled in four months. On October 28, 1886, the Statue of Liberty was unveiled by President Grover Cleveland
Grover Cleveland
Stephen Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th president of the United States. Cleveland is the only president to serve two non-consecutive terms and therefore is the only individual to be counted twice in the numbering of the presidents...

. The name Liberty Island was made official in 1956.

Jurisdictional disputes

There have been a number of disputes of the jurisdictional status of Liberty Island.

An unusual clause in 1664 colonial land grant outlined the territory the proprietors of New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 would receive as "westward of Long Island, and Manhitas Island and bounded on the east part by the main sea, and part by Hudson's river", rather than at the river's midpoint, as was common in other colonial charters.

When the Province of New Jersey
Province of New Jersey
The Province of New Jersey was one of the Middle Colonies of Colonial America and became the U.S. state of New Jersey in 1776. The province had originally been settled by Europeans as part of New Netherland, but came under English rule after the surrender of Fort Amsterdam in 1664, becoming a...

 was separated from the Province of New York
Province of New York
The Province of New York was an English and later British crown territory that originally included all of the present U.S. states of New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Vermont, along with inland portions of Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine, as well as eastern Pennsylvania...

 in 1674 it was argued that Staten Island
Staten Island
Staten Island is a borough of New York City, New York, United States, located in the southwest part of the city. Staten Island is separated from New Jersey by the Arthur Kill and the Kill Van Kull, and from the rest of New York by New York Bay...

 belonged to the former. Then governor Edmund Andros
Edmund Andros
Sir Edmund Andros was an English colonial administrator in North America. Andros was known most notably for his governorship of the Dominion of New England during most of its three-year existence. He also governed at various times the provinces of New York, East and West Jersey, Virginia, and...

 directed that all islands in the bay that could be circumnavigated within 24 hours were part of New York. Captain Christopher Billopp
Christopher Billopp (Royal Navy officer)
Christopher Billopp was an English officer of the Royal Navy in the seventeenth century who commanded various ships of the line including in the Battle of Bantry Bay...

 sailed around it within the allotted time and was soon thereafter granted a manor at its southern tip
Tottenville, Staten Island
Tottenville with an area of approx. , is the southernmost neighborhood of Staten Island, New York City and New York State. Originally named Bentley Manor by one of its first settlers, Captain Christopher Billop , after a small ship he owned named the Bentley, the district was renamed Tottenville in...

. The border came to be understood as being along the shore of the of Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

, the Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay, or Upper Bay, is the traditional heart of the Port of New York and New Jersey, and often called New York Harbor. It is enclosed by the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island and the Hudson County, New Jersey municipalities of Jersey City and Bayonne.It...

, the Kill van Kull
Kill Van Kull
The Kill Van Kull is a tidal strait between Staten Island, New York and Bayonne, New Jersey in the United States. Approximately long and wide, it connects Newark Bay with Upper New York Bay. The Robbins Reef Light marks the eastern end of the Kill, Bergen Point its western end...

, and Arthur Kill
Arthur Kill
The Arthur Kill is a tidal strait separating Staten Island, New York from mainland New Jersey, USA, and a major navigational channel of the Port of New York and New Jersey. Kill is from the Middle Dutch word kille, meaning "riverbed" or "water channel"...

.

In 1824 the City of New York attempted to assert a jurisdictional monopoly over the growing steam
Steam
Steam is the technical term for water vapor, the gaseous phase of water, which is formed when water boils. In common language it is often used to refer to the visible mist of water droplets formed as this water vapor condenses in the presence of cooler air...

 ferry service in New York Harbor in Gibbons v. Ogden
Gibbons v. Ogden
Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. 1 , was a landmark decision in which the Supreme Court of the United States held that the power to regulate interstate commerce was granted to Congress by the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution. The case was argued by some of America's most admired and...

. It was deemed by the court that interstate transport would be regulated by the federal government. This did not resolve the border issue. In 1830, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

 planned to bring suit, but the matter was resolved with a compact between the states ratified by US Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 in 1834 which set the boundary line between them as the mid-point of the shared waterways. This was later confirmed by the US Supreme Court
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

 in a 1908 case which also expounded on the compact.

In 1987, US Representative Frank J. Guarini and Gerald McCann
Gerald McCann
Gerald McCann is an American Democratic Party politician who served two non-consecutive terms as mayor of Jersey City, New Jersey before being convicted of fraud in a savings and loan scam. When he was elected in 1981 he was the second youngest mayor in the city's history.-Biography:He was born in...

, then Mayor of Jersey City, sued New York City, contending that New Jersey should have dominion over Liberty Island because it is on the New Jersey side of the state line. By default—since the court chose not to hear the case—the existing legal status was unchanged. Portions of the island that are above water are part of New York
New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

, while riparian rights to all of the submerged land surrounding the statue belong to New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

.

A 1997 United States Supreme Court decision involved such riparian rights around nearby Ellis Island
Ellis Island
Ellis Island in New York Harbor was the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States. It was the nation's busiest immigrant inspection station from 1892 until 1954. The island was greatly expanded with landfill between 1892 and 1934. Before that, the much smaller original island was the...

. Being mostly constructed of artificial infill
Land reclamation
Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, is the process to create new land from sea or riverbeds. The land reclaimed is known as reclamation ground or landfill.- Habitation :...

, New Jersey argued and the court agreed that the 1834 compact covered only the natural parts of the island, and not the portions added by infill. Thus it was agreed that the parts of the island made of filled land belonged to New Jersey while the original natural part belonged to New York. This proved impractical to administer and New Jersey and New York subsequently agreed to share jurisdiction of the entire island. This special situation only applies to Ellis Island and part of Shooter's Island. The court chose not to comment on the precedent in the unlikely event that Liberty Island would be expanded.

Federal land

Liberty Island has been owned by the federal government since 1801, first as military installation and now as a national landmark. Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island
Statue of Liberty National Monument, Ellis Island and Liberty Island
Statue of Liberty National Monument is a national monument comprising Liberty Island and Ellis Island in New York Harbor. It includes the Statue of Liberty, situated on Liberty Island , and the former immigration depot on Ellis Island . The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886...

, listed on the National Register of Historic Places
National Register of Historic Places
The National Register of Historic Places is the United States government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation...

 since 1966, encompasses land in both states control of which is superseded by the United States. It is indisputable the boundary between New Jersey and New York is in the center of the Hudson River
Hudson River
The Hudson is a river that flows from north to south through eastern New York. The highest official source is at Lake Tear of the Clouds, on the slopes of Mount Marcy in the Adirondack Mountains. The river itself officially begins in Henderson Lake in Newcomb, New York...

 and the Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay
Upper New York Bay, or Upper Bay, is the traditional heart of the Port of New York and New Jersey, and often called New York Harbor. It is enclosed by the New York City boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Staten Island and the Hudson County, New Jersey municipalities of Jersey City and Bayonne.It...

, with Liberty Island situated well on the New Jersey side of the line and that the built portions are an exclave
Enclave and exclave
In political geography, an enclave is a territory whose geographical boundaries lie entirely within the boundaries of another territory.An exclave, on the other hand, is a territory legally or politically attached to another territory with which it is not physically contiguous.These are two...

 of the State of New York and a part of New York City, allowing the state and city of New York to serve process
Service of process
Service of process is the procedure employed to give legal notice to a person of a court or administrative body's exercise of its jurisdiction over that person so as to enable that person to respond to the proceeding before the court, body or other tribunal...

 there.

In response to a FAQ about whether the Statue of Liberty is in New York or New Jersey the National Park Service
National Park Service
The National Park Service is the U.S. federal agency that manages all national parks, many national monuments, and other conservation and historical properties with various title designations...

, which oversees it, cites the 1834 compact. Question 127 on a naturalization examination piloted in 2006 asks "Where is the Statue of Liberty?" The U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services gives "New York Harbor" and "Liberty Island" as preferred answers, but notes that "New Jersey," "near New York City," and "on the Hudson" are acceptable.

The Statue of Liberty itself is claimed as a symbol by both New York and New Jersey. It was featured on New York license plates
Vehicle registration plates of New York
New York first issued license plates in 1910. Plates are currently issued by the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.-Passenger baseplates 1957 to present:-1986: Statue of Liberty:...

 from 1986 through 2000 and on a special New Jersey license plate
Vehicle registration plates of New Jersey
The U.S. state of New Jersey first issued license plates in 1908. Plates are currently issued by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission.All bases of all classes of plates from 1959 to present are still valid for display in New Jersey...

 celebrating Liberty State Park in Jersey City. The Statue is also seen on the New York State Quarter
50 State Quarters
The 50 State Quarters program is the release of a series of circulating commemorative coins by the United States Mint. Between 1999 and 2008, it featured each of the 50 U.S. states on unique designs for the reverse of the quarter....

. The national monument was the symbol of the Central Railroad of New Jersey
Central Railroad of New Jersey
The Central Railroad of New Jersey , commonly known as the Jersey Central Lines or CNJ, was a Class I railroad with origins in the 1830s, lasting until 1976 when it was absorbed into Conrail with the other bankrupt railroads of the Northeastern United States...

, still used by the Raritan Valley Line
Raritan Valley Line
The Raritan Valley Line is a diesel-engine-powered commuter rail service operated by New Jersey Transit , originating out of Pennsylvania Station, located in Newark, New Jersey, with most trains terminating at the Raritan station, located in Raritan, New Jersey.Some weekday trains continue further...

. (The Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal is nearby).

Though it is uninhabited, the United States Geological Survey
United States Geological Survey
The United States Geological Survey is a scientific agency of the United States government. The scientists of the USGS study the landscape of the United States, its natural resources, and the natural hazards that threaten it. The organization has four major science disciplines, concerning biology,...

 includes it as part of New York's 8th congressional district
New York's 8th congressional district
New York's Eighth Congressional District for the United States House of Representatives in New York City. It is split into two sections. The northern portion of it includes most of Manhattan's Upper West Side, and continues south to include most parts of Hell's Kitchen, East Village, Chelsea, SoHo,...

. Both New York City and Jersey City have assigned the island lot numbers. Utility services, including electricity, water, and sewage, to Liberty and Ellis Islands are provided from the New Jersey side. Mail is delivered from the Battery.

See also

  • Liberty Island in popular culture
  • Geography of New York Harbor
    Geography of New York Harbor
    The system of waterways of the Port of New York and New Jersey forms one of the most intricate natural harbors in the world, a fact that is reflected in the diversity of place names...

  • Governor's Island
  • Prall's Island
    Prall's Island
    Prall's Island is an uninhabited island in the Arthur Kill between Staten Island, New York, and Linden, New Jersey, in the United States. It is one of the minor islands that are part of the borough of Staten Island in New York City...

  • Shooter's Island
  • Communipaw Terminal
    Communipaw Terminal
    Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal, sometimes known as Communipaw Terminal was the Central Railroad of New Jersey's waterfront passenger terminal at the mouth of the Hudson River at the Upper New York Bay in Jersey City, New Jersey.-Designation:...

  • Castle Clinton
    Castle Clinton
    Castle Clinton or Fort Clinton, once known as Castle Garden, is a circular sandstone fort now located in Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan Island, New York City, in the United States. It is perhaps best remembered as America's first immigration station , where more than 8 million...

  • Robbins Reef Light
  • List of exclaves
  • Kentucky Bend
    Kentucky Bend
    The Kentucky Bend, variously called the New Madrid Bend, Madrid Bend, Bessie Bend, or Bubbleland, is an exclave of Fulton County, Kentucky, in the United States....


External links

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