NEW YORK -- The Statue of Liberty has finally reopened to visitors for the first time since Superstorm Sandy. But for those who just want a photo op with the statue, there are many other vantage points, from Red Hook, Brooklyn and Governors Island to a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge. The Staten Island ferry takes you right past the statue for free, while those on bigger budgets can reserve a room with a view at the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel.
Here are 10 ways to get a great look at the Statue of Liberty, starting with the cruises that resumed service to Liberty Island on July Fourth.
Statue cruises to Liberty Island: Statue Cruises -- statuecruises.com -- is the sole operator for boats that take visitors to Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty is located. Boats are once again departing from the Battery in Lower Manhattan for the first time since Superstorm Sandy last October. The statue itself was not damaged by Superstorm Sandy, but landing docks and infrastructure, including electrical, phone and sewage systems, required months of repair work by the National Park Service, which operates the statue.
Ellis Island was also damaged by the storm and no reopening date has been set, so cruises to the Statue of Liberty will not be stopping there yet as they did in the past, NPS spokesman John Warren said. But Warren added that the park service is "hopeful" that boats to Liberty Island will soon resume departures from Liberty State Park in New Jersey.
You can buy Statue Cruises tickets in person at the Battery, but the cruises do sell out, so advance online purchase is strongly recommended. There are three types of tickets: Access to the statue's crown, $20 ($17 for seniors, $12 for ages 4-12); or access to the pedestal of the monument or the grounds of Liberty Island, $17 ($14 for seniors, $9 for ages 4-12).
Visit nps.gov/stli/planyourvisit/statue2012reopening.htm for more information.
Staten Island ferry: Take the subway to Bowling Green or South Ferry and hop on a Staten Island ferry for a free ride across New York Harbor. The boats run 24 hours a day. There's always a crowd of tourists on deck taking photos as the boat passes the Statue of Liberty.
Other cruises: Many vessels offer sightseeing cruises of New York Harbor and Manhattan that sail right past the Statue of Liberty. They include the Circle Line, Manhattan by Sail's schooners, Hornblower Cruises, Spirit Cruises, New York Water Taxi and Bateaux New York. Some offer live music or fancy lunch or dinner cruises that can top $100.
Battery and Lower Manhattan: To see the Statue of Liberty without getting on a boat, just head to the southern tip of Lower Manhattan, an area known as the Battery (subway to South Ferry or Bowling Green).
While you're there, consider exploring other parts of Lower Manhattan, which includes the financial district and the Sept. 11 memorial. NYC & Company, the city's official tourism agency, offers a guide at nycgo.com/lower-manhattan.
Brooklyn Bridge: A walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is one of the classic New York experiences. In addition to giving you a close look at the bridge's Gothic arches and delicate filigree of cables, it offers a magical view of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. To get the full impact of the skyscraper canyon coming into view, take the subway to the Brooklyn side (A or C to High Street) and walk back across the bridge.
Governors Island: A former Coast Guard facility now used for public recreation, Governors Island offers inviting lawns, old forts, concerts, art exhibits and food vendors, along with great views of Lower Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty. Get there by ferry, weekends through Sept. 29 from Manhattan or Brooklyn, then walk or bike around the island, govisland.com/html/visit/directions.shtml.
Red Hook, Brooklyn: One of the best views of the Statue of Liberty is from Red Hook, an up-and-coming waterfront neighborhood in Brooklyn. A cruise terminal where the Queen Mary 2 homeports is located in one corner of the neighborhood, and lots of popular eateries like the Fort Defiance Bar and Red Hook Lobster Pound line the main street, Van Brunt.
Oddly enough, one of the best spots for viewing the Statue of Liberty is from the parking lot of the local Fairway supermarket, 480-500 Van Brunt, as well as from Fairway's rear patio, which sells ready-to-eat fare. Another great vantage point is from Red Hook's Louis Valentino Jr. Pier and Park, on Ferris Street between Coffey and Van Dyke, one of the few places where you can get a rare head-on view of the statue, instead of from the side.
A free ferry runs weekends this summer to Red Hook from Pier 11 in Lower Manhattan, nywatertaxi.com/tours/redhook. Red Hook is also fun to explore by bike, and it's one of those rare neighborhoods where you can often find street parking.
Museum of Jewish Heritage -- A Living Memorial to the Holocaust: The museum at 36 Battery Place has tall picture windows that look directly out onto the Statue of Liberty. While you look, you can listen to the museum's "Voices of Liberty" sound installation, in which Holocaust survivors, refugees and others discuss why they chose to make the U.S. their home, mjhnyc.org/.
Ritz-carlton New York, Battery Park: The majority of guest rooms at the Ritz-Carlton's Battery Park hotel offer views of the Statue of Liberty, and they even come equipped with telescopes for an up-close look. ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/NewYorkBatteryPark/Default.htm.
Liberty State Park, N.J.: This waterfront park on the New Jersey side of the harbor offers the closest view you can get of the statue without sailing past on a boat or stepping onto Liberty Island. There are three ways to get there: Drive; take the PATH train from Manhattan, followed by a light rail and a half-mile walk into the park; or take a ferry from the World Financial Center in Lower Manhattan, libertylandingferry.com. While you're there, check out the Liberty Science Center, a great museum for kids, lsc.org.