The Top 100 Greatest New Yorkers — #92
Today, one of the most visited and recognized icons in the world is the Statue of Liberty. Gifted to the US from France on the condition that we would pay for her pedestal during an economic depression that almost resulted in scrapping the whole project, the statue was rescued by fundraisers in a great effort to pay for the elusive base. Of all the people who were influential and instrumental in generating enthusiasm for this effort, the best remembered is Emma Lazarus, the young Jewish poet whose brilliant sonnet, The New Colossus, contributed to the push toward the unveiling of the monument, and was among the first on record to say anything about the statue welcoming immigrants. Also an activist who donated her time and work to Jewish immigrant aid societies, Lazarus lived in the relative comfort of a posh street in Greenwich Village where a plaque commemorates her residence on West 10th Street.
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