By Rich Lamb

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Statue of Liberty is celebrating her 125th birthday a little early this year so French president Nicholas Sarkozy could be there.

Sarkozy and Mayor Michael Bloomberg visited Liberty Island Thursday morning for a close-up look of the “most enduring and celebrated symbol of freedom.”

WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reports: Happy (Early) Birthday Lady Liberty!

“She is a symbol of America’s open embrace of exiles and dreamers,” Bloomberg said. “For millions who came to our shores seeking a better life, Lady Liberty was one of the first things they would see.”

“The Statue of Liberty is not simply a statue — it is a notion, an idea for all people of the world,” Sarkozy said.

He added that France will never forget the Americans’ efforts in World Wars I and II.

The statue was a gift to the United States from France. It was dedicated Oct. 28, 1886 and designated a national monument in 1924.

France paid for the statue but the American people built and paid for the pedestal.

During the visit to Lady Liberty, Bloomberg announced the founders of the Tribeca Film Festival — Jane Rosenthal, Robert De Niro and Craig Hatkoff — have been invited to participate in an effort to support media and film in France.

The project will transform an island in a river near Paris into “a world class cultural and commercial complex that would include a center for global media, fashion and technology.”

Tribeca Enterprises will partner with the French government, the Freemont Group and New York’s Park Tower Group on the project.

Sound off in our comments section below…

  1. Bobby says:

    “It was dedicated Oct. 28, 1996 and designated a national monument in 1924.”

    Try “PROOF READING” and NOT “POOFY reading”.

    10/28/1886 kids..,eighteen eighty six.

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