The City of Liberty, commonly known as Liberty City or simply Liberty, is a major city located in the State of Liberty in the 3D Universe. It iss the second appearance of Liberty City in the series, succeeding the 2D rendition in the first game and preceding the current HD rendition introduced in Grand Theft Auto IV.
Assuming a significantly different design compared to the previous incarnation, the city plays a role in five games in the series: a primary role in Grand Theft Auto III (set in 2001), Grand Theft Auto Advance (set in 2000) and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (set in 1998), as well as a secondary role in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (set in 1992) and Grand Theft Auto Vice City (set in 1986). The city's motto is "The worst place in America", due to the high crime rate in the city.
- "Liberty City, 1998. To commemorate Liberty City's 200th anniversary, we in The Liberty Tree's cartography department have created a map of what our magnificent city looks like today. As we approach the new millennium there are surely great things in our future. Very soon the Office of Public Works will complete the bridges that join Portland and Staunton Island with the mainland. This is but one of many achievements we should celebrate at this moment in Liberty City's grand history.'"
Liberty City was established in 1798, 22 years after the Declaration of Independence in the United States, being "a church, a cow pasture and three houses when the telephone was invented," according to Lazlow of Chatterbox FM (the first telephone was patented in 1876). Most of the history of the 3D Universe Liberty City does not reflect that of real-life New York City; for example, New York City was founded in 1624, making it 174 years older than the 3D Universe Liberty City, and by 1876 New York was a sprawling metropolis of over one million people that ranked as the largest city in the US and second largest in the world (behind London).
About the city
Liberty City is loosely based on New York City, but includes elements of other American cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Boston, Chicago, and Baltimore. The city area has a population of 4,000,000 people by 2001. According to the official website, Liberty City's sister city is Beirut, which may be a joke from the producers, considering Beirut used to be often bombed and is frequently chaotic, twinning it with Liberty City seeing how crime-ridden Liberty City is.
Liberty City is divided into three boroughs, comprising 25 defined districts and neighborhoods, and the outskirts of the city. In GTA III, a hidden area located behind the hills of Shoreside Vale is popularly known as the "Ghost Town", although the area can only be reached by flying a Dodo or a tank using the flying cheat.
The boroughs of Liberty City are:
|Image||Borough Name||Real-world New York counterpart|
|Staunton Island|| Commercial Area
|Shoreside Vale||Residential Area|
Liberty City is located on the East Coast of the United States in the State of Liberty. It is north of Vice City, east of the State of San Andreas, and close to Carcer City, with links to "Upstate" through a road tunnel connecting Cedar Grove and Cochrane Dam as seen in GTA Liberty City Stories.
The city is relatively flat, with major hills only appearing in Portland (Saint Marks) and Shoreside Vale (Pike Creek and Cedar Grove). In GTA Advance, however, the city is depicted to have no hills, although this is due to the limited resources of the Game Boy Advance. Portland and Staunton Island are completely surrounded by ocean water. In Shoreside Vale a major river flows through the center of the borough down from the Cochrane Dam to Witchita Gardens.
During the setting of GTA San Andreas, in 1992 Liberty City was going through a snowy December winter, with snow on streets and structures visible. During the setting of GTA Liberty City Stories, in 1998 Liberty City experiences a pleasant autumn with rain and cloudy days. During the setting of GTA III, in 2001 the weather is cool with frequent rain and fog. The thermometer in Bedford Point indicates the city's current temperature, which oddly tells the temperature in Celsius rather than in Fahrenheit. Liberty City, along with Ludendorff (GTA V), are the only cities in the series where snow has covered the ground.
Differences between GTA III & GTA Liberty City Stories
The Liberty City featured in GTA Liberty City Stories is based on the GTA III version of the city, but it is set three years previous in 1998. The majority of the city remains the same but there are some noticeable differences between this and its 2001 counterpart.
- The biggest difference is the presence of two ferry terminals in Harwood, Portland and in Rockford, Staunton Island in 1998. By 2001, the terminals were demolished soon after the disbandment of the ferry service, the Staunton terminal is replaced by Phil's Army Surplus while the Portland terminal was demolished for the Portland exit of the Porter Tunnel.
- In 2001, the Porter Tunnel runs under the entire city while in 1998 the tunnel is limited to Shoreside Vale while the Staunton-Shoreside tunnel is still under construction and the digging to Portland hasn't began yet.
- In 1998, the Callahan Bridge is under construction and not finished, it's apparently due to be completed in May of the same year.
- Fort Staunton differs in both games. In 1998, it is a vibrant and lavish Little Italy district, complete with opera house and museum but it was devastated by Toni Cipriani. In 2001, it becomes a construction site for the large-scale redevelopment of the area and the construction of Staunton Plaza.
- The cemetery is larger in 1998 and located to the right of the Cathedral with a small strip still present. In 2001, the Bedford Point Opera House now sits there and the cemetery is now located only on a small strip of land North of the Cathedral.
- The Rusty Brown's donut shop in 1998 becomes Greasy Joe's cafe in 2001.
- The Turtle Head Fish Factory in Callahan Point is a Leone control drugs factory and was blown up by the Triads in 1998. By 2001, it becomes the fish factory under Triad control and suffers a similar fate.
- One of the towers and its plaza in Hepburn Heights is under construction in 1998.
- The Dolls House, which Toni destroyed in 1998, is absent in 2001 and is replaced with a similar building postitioned slightly further south.
- Toni's Portland safehouse is partially demolished in 2001.
Gang Control differencesThe Mafia families are different in both games. In 2001, it's simply the Leone Family operating in Portland, mainly in Saint Mark's and the Red Light District. But in 1998, there are three families operating in the city, the Leone, the Forelli and the Sindacco families, and a fourth trying to get in. The Leones are still in control of Saint Mark's but the Sindaccos control the Red Light District and Hepburn Heights in Portland and Newport and Torrington in Staunton while the Forellis control Fort Staunton in Staunton Island and Wichita Gardens in Shoreside Vale. The three families are locked in war with each other, leading to the arrest, trial and release of Salvatore Leone, the deaths of Forelli-controlled Mayor Roger C. Hole and Sindacco Don Paulie Sindacco and the destruction of Fort Staunton.
The weakening of the Mafia led to new gangs coming in for control of territory left behind. The Yardies end up controling Newport, the Colombian Cartel control Fort Staunton while the Yakuza control Torrington, southern Newport and surrounding areas. On Portland, the Triads control Chinatown and the Diablos battle with the Leones for control of Hepburn Heights and the Red Light District. While on Shoreside Vale, the Southside Hoods control former Forelli Wichita Gardens. Other gangs in 1998 include the Avenging Angels and the Liberty City Bikers.
By 2001, the aforementioned gangs still control their aforementioned territories but the Sindaccos have been ran out of the city and the Forellis are now considerably weakened.
Roger C. Hole was elected Mayor of Liberty City in 1992 and during this time proved to be corrupt. Hole, who was being controlled by Forelli Family Don Franco Forelli, caused numerous controversies during his term in office. In 1993, three Russian prostitutes and a construction company manager were caught trying to get a government contract from Hole. In 1995, he was photographed with members of the Forelli Family whilst he was accused of securing drugs for city officials in return for sanitation contracts. Hole was also accused of sleeping with two underage girls. Eventually, his connections with the Forelli Family resulted in his own death in 1998. During his term in office, he raised taxation, reduced public expenditure, increased bureaucratic costs and kept Liberty City in the national news.
An election was then triggered, with businessman Donald Love running against former candidate Miles O'Donovan. Love received help from Salvatore Leone and Toni Cipriani, who campaigned for him, stopped the Forelli Family rigging the election and even attempt to rig the election in Donald's favour. However, after links between Love and the Leone Family were discovered, the people voted in favour of O'Donovan.
There is only one known educational building in the city: the Liberty City Community College in the Liberty Campus district of Staunton Island. In the beta version of GTA III, a school could also be seen in the Chinatown district of Portland, although this was later replaced by the Old School Hall.
The Liberty City Community College is based at the Liberty Campus district. The college is run by Dean Smegley, with Eric Ershwitz employed at the college as Professor for Contemporary Crime. The college was named the worst in the United States, resulting in Smegley's appointment as Dean and his changing of the colleges program. Smegley, in 2001, announces his plans to abandon the old methods of evaluation and old subjects, planning to replace them with diplomas for new subjects and grading students on how bad they look. The new subjects include: Street cleaning, Processed Agriculture Rotation, Grill Management, Floor cleaning, Restroom Administration, Coatroom Management, Automobile Ignition Circumvention and Pharmaceutical Baking.
Liberty City's media is dominated, in 2001, by the Love Media group run by Donald Love, which also controls numerous other businesses across the city. The company owns "900 radio stations, 300 television stations, 4 networks, 3 satellites, and 10 senators" according to a Love Media advert. Besides owning various media, Love Media probably also has films, including "The Mainframe" which was released in 1998.
In 1998, the city had ten independently owned radio stations. The city also had a publicly funded station, Liberty City Free Radio. By 2001, the airwaves of the city had changed. Love Media purchased Head Radio, Double Clef FM, Flashback 95.6 and Liberty City Free Radio, replacing the station with Chatterbox FM. A number of stations remain outside the Love Media company: Lips 106, Rise FM, MSX FM (replacing MSX 98) and Game Radio (which replaced The Liberty Jam). Three other radio stations also exist in the city in 2001, although Claude cannot listen to them. They are Liberty FM, WLLC ‘The Zone’ and Liberty Soul FM. Meanwhile, Radio Del Mundo appears to have disappeared from unknown conditions.
The player can listen to the following radio stations:
|GTA III (2001)||GTA Liberty City Stories (1998)|
The city's newspaper, the Liberty Tree, is in 1998 privately owned but by 2001 comes under the ownership of the Love Media group. The newspaper has been "promoting family values" for over fifty years. Adam Tedman, a report for the paper, reports that the Liberty Tree won the "Most Absorbent Newsprint Award" at the Cleaning and Tidying Association of America annual awards ceremony. In the same article, Tedman also references that Liberty Tree has a rival in the city, although he does not mentioned the newspaper by name.
Liberty City has two known sports teams: the Liberty City Cocks and the Liberty City Beavers. Both are football (soccer) teams, and play at the Liberty Memorial Coliseum in Aspatria. Fans of the Liberty City Cocks can be seen in the area.
Derrick Thackery mentioned a match between the two on WCTR's The Tight End Zone in 1992. Another match between the two is played in September of 2001, with the Liberty Tree reporting that the Liberty Cocks won 3-0 after a hat-trick (three goals) from Iranian striker Ma'am.
There is a slight oddity with the Liberty City Cocks. They are an American football team in Two-Hand Toss, and the Liberty Memorial Coliseum in GTA III has an American football field with Liberty City Cocks lettering in the end-zones, implying that they are an American football team. Either this is a developer oversight, or the Liberty City Cocks field both a soccer and a football team; this would be somewhat akin to the real-life New York Giants, who shared somewhat of an association with the baseball New York Giants.
Liberty City has many services available 24 hours per day, including restaurants, transportation, gas, firefighting and health care; these services have different levels of interactivity and benefits. Food service can range from restaurants, food distributors (companies) and cafeterias as Punk Noodles, Joe's Pizza (used more in 1998), to Tarbrush Café, Momma's Restaurante, Belly-Up Fish & Seafood Processing Plant, etc. Public transportation comes in the form of taxis, buses and commuter trains (both subway and elevated lines).
The public transportation of Liberty City is widely used by pedestrians in the city. The taxi, which is available for the player to use in taxi side missions, is a common form of transportation for the residents of Liberty City. Liberty City also features a subway system which can provide the player with convenient, reasonably fast transportation between the three boroughs. The Portland El is another carrier, which provides local elevated train service for Portland Island.
Hospitals provide another important service in Liberty City; they revive the player, for a cash fee, in the event of his death. The hospitals of Liberty City are:
- Sweeney General Hospital: Founded in 1847, Sweeney is the oldest hospital in the city. Sweeney General Hospital serves the borough of Portland.
- Carson General Hospital: Founded in 1973, is the largest hospital in the city. Carson General Hospital serves the borough of Staunton Island.
- Hope Medical College: A hospital located in Shoreside Vale.
The Liberty City Police Department, which was founded in 1869, is another widely used service for all types of problems such as gang fights or theft. The LCPD has problems with bribery and corruption; the dealings of Ray Machowski with the criminal elements of Liberty City, many of which are revealed in his missions for Claude, are a rather typical example of the nature of the LCPD. This is most notable and happens in the 2001-GTA III rendition of Liberty City, since they will not attack street criminals like in earlier and later games, or simply because they weren't programmed to do so, as the FBI, and the Army will also not attack street thugs. They will take down criminals at any force in the 1998-GTA LCS rendition, though, along with the aforementioned in-game agencies.
The Liberty City Fire Department, founded in 1872, is responsible for extinguishing burning buildings, cars and people throughout the city. The Liberty City Fire Department founded has three stations, one located on each island. Fire trucks can usually be found parked outside each of these stations.
Primary road infrastructure around the city includes four bridges (only two bridges -- the Callahan Bridge and the Shoreside Lift Bridge -- serve the purpose of connecting the three islands), two expressways, the Porter Tunnel, which runs underneath all three boroughs of the city, another tunnel under construction in Shoreside Vale (which presumably leads upstate). There is also Francis International Airport and public transportation, such as the subway, that can be used by the player and the pedestrians.
Liberty City has four street bridges throughout the city, two large bridges that connects the three islands:
- Callahan Bridge linking Portland and Staunton Island.
- Shoreside Lift Bridge linking Staunton Island and Shoreside Vale.
Callahan Bridge, also known as West Port Bridge, is a four lane suspension bridge finished sometime after 1998, when construction was almost completed. The bridge links the Chinatown district of Portland to the Newport district of Staunton Island. In 2001 the bridge was partially destroyed when the Colombian Cartel kidnapped the Old Oriental Gentleman, planting a bomb to kill the LCPD officers transporting him, Claude and 8-Ball to Portland.
The Shoreside Lift Bridge is a four lane lift bridge, most likely based off George Washington Bridge connecting Manhattan to the New Jersey. In 1998, Toni Cipriani has to wait for a strike to end before using the bridge, whilst in 2001 Claude is forced to wait until a mechanical problem is fixed.
There are also two smaller but notable bridges: an unnamed bridge in Shoreside Vale connecting Pike Creek and Cedar Grove, and an unnamed little bridge on Staunton Island connecting Fort Staunton with Rockford.
There are three expressways located in Staunton Island. The first expressway is the Aspatria - Bedford Point Expressway, a four-lane highway located in the western part of the island. This is the biggest highway in the city, connecting Aspatria with Bedford Point, passing through Belleville Park and below the Shoreside Lift Bridge.
The second highway, called "Newport/Fort Staunton Expressway", runs along the east coast of Staunton Island through the Newport and Fort Staunton districts.
There is another highway that links the Newport, Fort Staunton and Torrington districts in east Staunton Island, which is the only highway that pedestrians will walk across; this is possibly because this highway is more akin to a traditional street than the other two.
Porter Tunnel is an underground and underwater road tunnel connecting the city's three boroughs. The tunnel may be based on the Holland Tunnel or the Lincoln Tunnel. The tunnel has four lanes, apart from the exit at Staunton Island, which only has two lanes. The tunnel entry/exit points include Harwood (in Portland), Rockford (in Staunton Island), and Francis International Airport and Wichita Gardens (both in Shoreside Vale). Construction for the tunnel begins in 1998, however, numerous delays see the tunnel finally open in October 2001, with Claude having to wait for the tunnel to be fully constructed.
A second road tunnel is located on Shoreside Vale, with entry points at Cedar Grove and Cochrane Dam, accessible only in GTA Liberty City Stories. The tunnel branches into "Upstate", although this is blocked off.
Trains and Subways
The Portland El (electric line) is an elevated train service running on Portland, connecting the Saint Marks, Chinatown and Hepburn Heights districts. The system, introduced in 1930, is not connected to the city's subway system. The three stations are Baillie Station (in Saint Marks), Kurowski Station (in Chinatown) and Rothwell Station (in Hepburn Heights).
The inter-borough subway system is an underground system linking the three boroughs of the city. The subway stations are located at the border of the Red Light District/Chinatown in Portland, at Liberty Campus and Bedford Point in Staunton Island, and Francis International Airport in Shoreside Vale. At some point, Liberty City had another subway system, which was abandoned after the construction of the new subway. Toni Cipriani uses an old subway entrance to destroy Fort Staunton in "Bringing the House Down."
One form of public transport seen on the streets is a taxi. There are two types of taxi seen around Liberty City:
- Taxi: The taxi is a more modern vehicle design than the cabbie, and offers superior acceleration and handling.
- Cabbie: The cabbie is an older counterpart to the taxi; these are slower and heavier due to their older design.
Liberty City´s ferry was the most used interborough transportation service until it was replaced with the more convenient and efficient Callahan Bridge. The ferry connected Portland and Staunton Island, with docks located in Harwood and Rockford. The ferry service was canceled by Miles O'Donovan, despite his promise to maintain the service. In 1998, workers across the city went on strike to protect the ferry service, which only provoked the closure, leaving Portland off the rest of the city. By 2000, the ferry service had been replaced by the Callahan Bridge and Porter Tunnel.
Liberty City's airport, which is called "Francis International Airport", is the only airport in the city, located in Shoreside Vale. This means of transport is the most widely used by travelers going to and from Liberty City since 1953, providing $69 tickets for travel to different places like London, San Andreas, Vice City and Tokyo. Several airlines like Rockstar, DMAir, McAdam Airways, among others, operate in this airport, providing flights to domestic and international locations.
Very little is known about the Liberty City Railroad, but evidence like an old rail yard with some rusty rails located inside it and a tunnel shows that it once existed within the city.
Liberty City has, in 2001, a rampant crime rate and is known as the "worst place in America" because of this. The main problem for the city is the organised crime, and in particular the problem of gangs. The city has also had problems with specific individuals, namely Tommy Vercetti in 1971, Carl Johnson in 1992, Toni Cipriani in 1998, Mike in 2000, and Claude in 2001. The Liberty Tree and radio stations document the criminal acts occurring in the city and the resulting consequences. These include the Liberty City Police Department introducing helicopters, paramedics threatening to go on strike and prosecuting criminals (such as Salvatore Leone between 1998 and 2001).
According to the FBI, residents of Liberty City "were 38% less likely to be a victim of a violent crime than the rest of the nation, unless those crimes included mugging, murder, carjacking or assault". Whilst the Liberty Tree reports that between 2000 and 2001 "part I" offenses (murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, grand theft auto and arson) went up 11%. They also report that "Violent Offenses (Murder, Rape, Robbery, and Aggravated Assault) are up 73% and murder has increased four fifths from last year's 23% of what it had been previously".
Liberty City in GTA Advance
Liberty City on the Grand Theft Auto Advance is not similar to what we see in Grand Theft Auto III. Probably because of the limitations of the Game Boy Advance, or more likely, a oversight by Digital Eclipse.
- Portland is bigger than the original rendition in GTA III.
- There are height differences. The city is totally flat.
- Most landmarks, skyscrapers and well known locations from GTA III are replaced by generic buildings.
- The train stations, tracks and tunnels are not present in the game.
Roles in other games
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Liberty City appears twice and is mentioned on a number of occasions during Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, including being the setting for the introduction to the game, where the Forelli Family Don Sonny Forelli, his right-hand man and an unnamed associate are seen in a back-room inside Marco's Bistro discussing the future of a Forelli Crime Family soldato Tommy Vercetti after he gets out of jail. Sonny Forelli appears inside Marco's Bistro again during An Old Friend. The district of Harwood is also referred to during the game, and in particular during the games climax, Keep Your Friends Close..., with Sonny referring to Vercetti as "The Harwood Butcher". There are also several posters in the city that mentions the phrase "take a vacation in Liberty City".
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Liberty City appears in The Introduction DVD and during the mission Saint Mark's Bistro, as well as being mentioned on a number of occasions during Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The Introduction DVD shows the games protagonist Carl Johnson attempting to steal cars in the Red Light District and later receiving a phone call from his brother Sweet Johnson regarding his mother's death whilst in the city. After arriving back in Los Santos for his mother's funeral, he was asked by Ryder about when he would be returning to Liberty City. Carl Johnson tells Salvatore Leone that he worked for Salvatore's son Joey in Liberty City to gain Salvatore's trust during the mission Freefall. The mission Saint Mark's Bistro involves Carl Johnson returning to Liberty City to perform a hit at Marco's Bistro.
- None of the protagonists whose stories are based in Liberty City are able to swim or fly airplanes and helicopters. Claude can 'fly' a Dodo with no wings, but it was never intended to be flown. Toni can fly a helicopter, but only by performing tricks in some missions.
- Motorcycles did not appear in Liberty City in Grand Theft Auto III. The in-universe explanation is that Liberty City banned motorbikes between 1999 and 2001 to make room for more cars.
- Liberty City could be randomly mentioned by people. In GTA Vice City Stories if Victor Vance jacks a car, a pedestrian might shout "What is this, Liberty City?" (in mention to all the crime in Liberty) and in GTA San Andreas, Denise Robinson, one of Carl Johnson's girlfriends may tell Carl to "take her to Liberty City".
- Liberty City has the most amount of appearances in the 3D Universe. It is also the only 3D Universe location to be featured in all three decades (1980's, 1990's, and 2000's).
- Going by the release date of the games, Liberty City is the first location visited in the 3D Universe. Although chronologically, it is the last 3D Universe location.