Apr 26, 2020

World Heritage Site in New York State

When I travel I like to visit World Heritage Sites.  World Heritage Sites are those places deemed by the United Nations as having cultural, historic, scientific or some other significance.  They are legally protected by international treaties. There are several in the United States but in New York State only the Statue of Liberty and the buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright that reflect the Wright’s organic architectural style are on the list.  There are several Wright buildings in New York State but only the Solomon R, Guggenheim Museum qualifies. 

In this time of shelter-in-place the whole family can take part in a learning experience.  Plan a trip to New York City by plane, train, and car (don’t forget the cost of NYC parking). Pick out hotels based on price and location keeping in mind that there are places like couch surfing, B&B, YMCA, and hostels.  Then plan the visit to include the two World Heritage Sites. 

The Statue of Liberty was gifted the people of the United States
from the people of France. It was designed by Bartholdi and is one of the most recognizable features in the United States. It welcomed many immigrants arriving to the United States. The original name was “Liberty Enlightening the World.” Bartholdi built one in France that faces the west and was financed by the American community in Paris, as a gift to the French people. There are several replicas of the statue around the world including some in NYS.

The statue sits on what was a former fort in New York Harbor that was built ti protect New York harbor during the War of 1812.  Funding for building the pedestal came from donations solicited by Pulitzer’s newspaper, “The New York World” that published the names of all donors. Some donations were a matter of pennies including those collected by school children. 

It is no longer permitted to walk up to the crown but decades ago I
did ascend to the crown with my family.  The space at the crown was very small with room for only a handful of people at a time.  There are a plethora of interesting facts about the Statue of Liberty.  When new the statue was like a shiny copper penny not green. Her fingernails are 13 inches long and she has a 35-foot waistline. 

The design of Guggenheim Museum is instantly recognizable. Frank Lloyd Wright’s design is what he felt would be “the best possible atmosphere in which to show fine paintings or listen to music.” The interior is as unique as the exterior.  Wright conceived of the museum as an airy, open place where visitors would not have to retrace their steps, instead entering the building on the ground level, taking an elevator
to the top, and gradually descending along the quarter-mile spiral ramp that hugs the inside wall enjoying the art on display. There is an oculus 96 feet above the huge rotunda.  The rotunda is supposed to function as a town hall where events can be held. The paintings of many famous artists including Monet, Picasso, and Gauguin are on display. 

Just because we are stuck at home doesn’t mean we have to stop learning. Both the Statue of Liberty and the Guggenheim offer virtual tours.  And, you can dream of future travels to NYC and to other World Heritage Site.  FYI: China and Italy have the most UNESCO World Heritage sites.