Yes, it ranks among the most iconic of all the attractions in New York City, but most visitors should give both the statue and Ellis Island a miss right now.
The problem is time. Smart travelers work to make the most of their time, to get the most cool stuff packed into the fewest hours. Unfortunately, the statue is a time eater, particularly if you want to go inside the statue rather than just walk around on Liberty Island.
The park service only sells a few hundred statue tickets every day. If you want to get one of them, you need to be lined up in Battery Park well before 8 a.m. If you succeed in getting one — a big if — it probably won’t be a morning ticket, so you’ll have to kill the better part of a day waiting for your tour.
Even if you’re content to just walk around on Liberty Island or confine your visit to Ellis Island, you’ll still face a long line for tickets and then (on most days) a 90 minute line to get onto one of the ferries. (This line snakes through Battery Park and much of the time, you’ll be out in the sun.) After that, you’ll need to wait for the ferry to get loaded and unloaded. We’re talking a minimum of tour hours waiting in lines. For most people, the wait probably runs around three hours.
That’s a lot of wasted time, probably than the statue is worth unless you’re here for quite a few days or you really, really want to see the statue.