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Statue of Liberty Welcomes Nighttime Visitors This Summer

Liberty Island is open later in the evenings during the summer of 2012.
Liberty Island is open later in the evenings during the summer of 2012.
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Statue Cruises

LIBERTY ISLAND — Goodnight, Lady Liberty.

Thanks to new extended ferry service, New Yorkers can now stay later on Liberty Island to watch the sun set against Lady Liberty's silhouette.

Every Thursday night through the end of August, Statue Cruises is running a special Summer Evenings at the Statue of Liberty cruise, with a boat leaving Battery Park at 6:45 p.m. and returning from Liberty Island at 7:45 and 8:50 p.m.

Visitors can bring their own picnic dinner or buy food from the Liberty Island concessions, enjoying the island without the usual crowds of tourists, said Michael Burke, chief operating officer of Statue Cruises.

"It's a much more calm, quiet experience," Burke said. "It's more park-like. You have less of the crush of the daytime crowd. You get the sunset. You get the New York skyline on the way back."

The Thursday evening round-trip ferry tickets cost $24.95 for adults and $19.95 for seniors — and this year, for the first time, kids age 12 and under are free. Burke recommends buying tickets in advance and arriving at Castle Clinton in Battery Park by 6 p.m.

Also for the first time this year, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island are staying open half an hour later seven days a week through Labor Day, the National Park Service announced last week.

The last daytime ferry to Liberty and Ellis islands now leaves Battery Park at 5 p.m. and returns from Liberty Island at 6:45 p.m. and Ellis Island at 7 p.m., the National Park Service said.

The regular daytime ferries to Liberty and Ellis island cost $17 for adults, $14 for seniors and $9 for children ages 5 to 12.