Most people encounter Emma Lazarus only inside the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. Her sonnet, “The New Colossus,” written in 1883, has become inextricably identified in the public mind with the wave of immigration to the United States from the 1880s until 1924. However, a new free mobile tour produced by the Museum of Jewish Heritage now enables us to get to know Lazarus by visiting sites around Manhattan that were integral to her life, and at the center of intellectual and artistic life during the Gilded Age.
Produced in association with the museum’s new exhibition, “Emma Lazarus: Poet of Exiles,” which opens October 26 and runs through the fall of 2012, the tour makes 19 stops from Battery Park to the Upper East Side (with 80 percent in and around Union Square and Madison Square Park). The tour app, which is downloadable to iPhones and Android smartphones, is programmed with GPS, so that users can visit sites closest to them geographically and not just follow the tour chronologically.