Statue of Liberty ticket scammers preying on tourists in New York's Battery Park

ByAnthony Carlo WPVI logo
Tuesday, May 21, 2024
Statue of Liberty ticket scammers preying on tourists
Anthony Carlo has the story in Lower Manhattan.

NEW YORK -- A short ferry ride from Manhattan's Battery Park gets you to the Statue of Liberty, but what's happening in the park goes against most of what Lady Liberty stands for.

"Imagine if you're a New Yorker and somebody tried to tell you it costs $50 to get into the park. Thankfully, we know better but, unfortunately, a lot of folks don't," Matt Gill, captain at Statue City Cruises, explained.

Captain Gill has been working for Statue City Cruises since he was in high school.

He says he has never seen so many tourists who've been duped into paying double the price for tickets.

"Unfortunately, I have to say to them, 'We didn't sell you that ticket - that was from an illegal vendor inside the park,'" he explained.

It's so bad that Statue City Cruises put up scam alert signs outside its ticket booth.

Our sister station WABC met two ladies from California who never made it there.

They were stopped at the park entrance and sold tickets for a different cruise that doesn't take them to the statue.

What they were told:

"I wanted to go in and see Ellis Island," one woman said, adding that she was then told by the scammer, "Well, you can't do that. You have to get tickets in advance."

The NYC visitor said she was surprised when she was also told tickets to see Ellis Island need to be purchased three weeks in advance.

She was rightly surprised because that's not true.

The Statue City Cruises website showed plenty of available tickets the day she was there.

WABC reported that they were told this is the worst it's ever been at Battery Park for a couple of reasons. One, is ongoing construction that's essentially bottlenecking pedestrian traffic into the park.

"It's causing those vendors to try to prey on people in a much smaller location, where it was easier to get into the park prior," Gill said.

Now, with only two entry points and a lot of confusion, the plea is for the city and the parks department to step in.

"If you've made it this far to Battery Park, we want to see you to get the rest of the way," Gill said.

The Parks Department released a statement saying:

"Park Enforcement Officers patrol the area regularly and conduct joint details with NYPD to ensure that park rules are observed and enforced."

There are two ways to buy a ferry ticket out of Battery Park: Either online at the Statue City Cruises website or in person at Castle Clinton at Battery Park. Unless you are booking a special tour, the general admission price is $25.