the New York Harbor, less than 2,000 feet from the Statue of Liberty, Liberty
State Park has served a vital role in the development of New Jersey's
metropolitan region and the history of the nation.
During the 19th and early 20th centuries the area that
is now Liberty State Park was a major waterfront industrial area with an
extensive freight and passenger transportation network. This network became the
lifeline of New York City and the harbor area. The heart of this transportation
network was the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal (CRRNJ), located in the
northern portion of the park. The CRRNJ Terminal stands with the Statue of
Liberty and Ellis Island to unfold one of this nation's most dramatic stories:
the immigration of northern, southern, and eastern Europeans into the United
States. After being greeted by the Statue of Liberty and processed at Ellis
Island, these immigrants purchased tickets and boarded trains, at the CRRNJ
Terminal, that took them to their new homes throughout the United States. The
Terminal served these immigrants as the gateway to the realization of their
hopes and dreams of a new life in America.
Today, Liberty State Park continues to serve a vital
role in the New York Harbor area. As the railroads and industry declined, the
land was abandoned and became a desolate dump site. With the development of
Liberty State Park came a renaissance of the waterfront. Land with decaying
buildings, overgrown tracks and piles of debris was transformed into a modern
urban state park. The park was formerly opened on Flag Day, June 14, 1976, as
New Jersey's bicentennial gift to the nation. Most of this 1,122 acre park is
open space with approximately 300 acres developed for public recreation.