The opening of a new museum at the Statue of Liberty has temporarily turned 14-acre Liberty Island a teeming hive of billionaires and stars.
The party on Saturday night in New York harbor offered the ultra-wealthy elite a chance to rub shoulders at the foot of the 133-year-old statue.
At one table, Hillary Clinton was spotted chatting with Oprah Winfrey. Before long, billionaire IAC chairman Barry Diller, in attendance with wife Diane von Furstenberg, sat joined Clinton and Winfrey at the table.
For deep pockets, nobody could compete with richest man in the world Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, who gushed in a tweet that his Cuban immigrant father would be honored at the museum with a 'Liberty Star.'
Hillary Clinton and Oprah Winfrey attend the Statue Of Liberty Museum Opening Celebration on Saturday at Ellis Island
Clinton, Barry Diller and Winfrey mingle at the Statue Of Liberty Museum Opening Celebration on Saturday at Ellis Island
Michael Bloomberg (left), Diane von Furstenberg and Jeff Bezos take a boat to Liberty Island for the celebration
Guests attend the Statue Of Liberty Museum Opening Celebration on Saturday at Ellis Island in New York City
The festivities took on a subtle but unmistakable political bent, with attendees eager to highlight Lady Liberty's role as a sight seen by many immigrants arriving at nearby Ellis Island.
President Donald Trump declined to attend the party, instead sending Interior Secretary David Bernhardt, who runs the National Park Service, which supervises Liberty Island and Ellis Island.
The new museum at the Statue of Liberty is giving visitors another opportunity to explore its history and the impact the iconic structure has had on the world.
The 26,000-square-foot museum on Liberty Island, scheduled to open to the public on Thursday, is the new home for the statue's original torch and other artifacts which had previously been in a smaller museum space inside the statue's pedestal, which is accessible only to the fraction of the more than 4 million annual visitors who manage to get limited-availability statue entry tickets.
"We looked at this small museum and thought, wouldn't it be wonderful to ... move it out to a place where more people could experience it," said John Piltzecker, National Park Service superintendent of the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.
The new space, located somewhat away from the entrance to the statue, is open to anyone who comes to Liberty Island, with admission included in the price of the ferry ticket. From the outside, the glass walls and copper-colored roof appear to be rising out of the earth, with a giant staircase rising to a rooftop terrace at the center.
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, center left, greets David Letterman at the Statue of Liberty Museum opening celebration
Singer Tony Bennett and his wife Susan Crow arrive to the opening celebration of the Statue of Liberty Museum
Wendi Murdoch, wife of News Corp Chairman Rupert Murdoch, was spotted posing with a copper replica of Lady Liberty's face (left) and CNN fashion journalist Derek Blasberg (right)
The entire structure is meant to connect to Lady Liberty, using the same granite that's part of the statue pedestal and including copper as a nod to the material the statue is made of, said Cameron Ringness, the project designer at FXCollaborative, which created the museum's overall design.
"It's really trying to belong to the site and the landscape and not feel like this building that just got placed here out of nowhere," Ringness said. "We wanted to enhance the feeling that it's really special to be in proximity to the statue."
Inside, there are three main gallery spaces, starting with a theater where visitors walk through as they watch a film that goes into how the idea for the statue came about, the efforts that went into its making in France and its arrival in the New York harbor, as well as talking about what liberty meant then and what it means in the current day.
The film uses unusual footage taken by drones, including an interior shot rising up through the inside of the statue.
Another gallery goes into the building of the statue, with exhibits meant to show what it would have been like in Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi's studio, and the models and molds used to make it, as well as a replica of the statue's foot. Another section shows how iconic the statue has become, not