The City of Liberty, commonly known as Liberty City or simply Liberty and often abbreviated as L.C., is a major city located in the State of Liberty that appears in Grand Theft Auto IV, Episodes from Liberty City, and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.
Grand Theft Auto IV marks Liberty City's fourth appearance in the series after the original Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, which came out in 1997, 2001 and 2005 respectively. Compared to the previous universe counterparts, the city has more detail and personality, with many places which are based on landmarks such as the Statue of Happiness, Star Junction, and the Rotterdam Tower.
This rendition of Liberty City has versions of four of the five boroughs of New York City, plus New Jersey. Brooklyn is Broker, Queens is Dukes, Manhattan is Algonquin, and The Bronx is Bohan. The state and city of New Jersey is Alderney, which is separate from Liberty City. The only borough not to be recreated in the game is Staten Island. Although in the game, Liberty City appears to be an isolated set of islands, the rest of America is actually nearby. Rockstar Games stated that they avoided placing unreachable pieces of land in the distance to retain the city's "complete" feel.
Grand Theft Auto IV and its two episodes (The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony) use the same full rendition of the city. However, a small number of different locations are accessible in the different episodes. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars uses the entire city apart from neighbouring Alderney State, and is altered for the top-down perspective of the game.
Liberty City is divided into 56 individual and unique neighbourhoods which are spread across four boroughs within Liberty City and border the neighboring state of Alderney, including Alderney City. Whereas the 3D Universe version of Liberty City was partly located on the mainland, the GTA IV version is completely made up of islands.
History of Liberty City
The earliest settlement that would eventually become Liberty City was established in 1609, when the Dutch hired the English explorer Horatio Humboldt to find a new location for them to sell marijuana. Humboldt eventually sailed into the Humboldt River, which had coincidentally been named that way by the natives (according to Humboldt's account). The Dutch soon established a colony on the banks of the river and immigrants from all over Europe emigrated to the settlement find out what freedom was truly like in the colony of New Rotterdam, which promised convenience stores and public hangings, as well as the possibility of purchasing slaves thanks to a slave trade craze which swept the nascent colony ever since the first slave ship arrived. Within the span of a few years, the Dutch had become a minority in their own colony, and the East India Trading company hired Gloria Hole to return New Rotterdam to a "civilised" state. Eventually, the English took over New Rotterdam, which was based on a slender island named Algonquin after an old Indian word with the same pronunciation, after the settlers signed a petition to be ruled by the English instead of the Dutch.
The small colony soon expanded with the rising level of immigration, establishing settlements on three neighboring islands. The first consisted of both Broker, named after the King of England's bastard son who was conceived by a milk maid and the other Dukes, after the term Duky because the people living there smelled like excrement. Alderney was named after an American settler called Phillip D'Alderney, the only man who could bear living in the swampy industrial island. The smallest island was named Bohan for the Dutch word. The British and the Americans fought in what was to be known as the American Revolution for freedom from British taxes, and after receiving a statue of a transvestite eating ice cream from the French, the Americans won and removed the Union Jack and melting the statue of King George into chains, toilet seats and gold teeth. The capitol of the young nation was soon changed to Washington D.C. and all of Liberty City's politicians moved there. The next century saw the massive immigration of the Irish into Liberty City, displacing African-Americans as the primary source of labor. The tensions between the North and South over slavery boiled over into a civil war, with riots breaking out in the city. After the end of the war, the Liberty City Subway was constructed. At the beginning of the 20th century, the city's overcrowding, impressiveness, and grandiose, along with the invention of the automobile, allowed it to take its modern form.
It is stated in two internet news articles in Grand Theft Auto V (right after the missions Franklin and Lamar and Three's Company) and by Twin Shadow on Radio Mirror Park that Liberty City was devastated by a massive storm. This is an obvious reference to Hurricane Sandy which hit New York and New Jersey in 2012.
As of 2008, the population of Liberty City is 8,363,710. The mayor is Julio Ochoa while the Deputy Mayor is Bryce Dawkins. Thomas Stubbs III is Liberty City's congressman. The time setting is approximately late summer-early fall 2008.
The area of the city is compressed in size (as seen with the Rotterdam Tower's proximity to the Broker Bridge in the final shot), and the various landmarks are placed much closer to each other than in real life. The entire map is smaller than that of GTA San Andreas, but is immensely more detailed. This made Liberty City in GTA IV the most lifelike city to feature in any Grand Theft Auto game at the time of release. From the massive buildings and large mass of traffic on every block of Algonquin, to residential areas of Bohan, Rockstar has successfully compromised quantity for quality, although the lack of pedestrians in normally crowded places such as Star Junction (based on Times Square) has drawn criticism.
In GTA IV, the scaling of Liberty City as compared to New York City has a number of differences in the building heights, road distances, and landmark positions. Liberty City is also known as a shrunk version of New York City with almost everything cramped together.
Ground Zero (World Trade Center site) has been excluded from the GTA IV's Liberty City in a way that as though it does not even exist in the real life New York City while having the site replaced with the merger of buildings surrounding the Ground Zero. Liberty City is an incredibly diverse city and so are its neighbourhoods and residents. Such examples of diverse neighbourhoods include the large Russian, Italian-American, Latino and African-American populations found in various neighborhoods across the city. Liberty City's residents are known for their sarcastic attitude. The demonym of a Liberty City inhabitant is "Libertonian".
Housing, Architecture and Geography
Liberty City has a unique geography. Firstly, it is an island city that is surrounded by water. Consisting of four different boroughs (Broker, Dukes, Bohan and Algonquin) that are all separated by water and connected by bridge; with the exception of Broker and Dukes, which are connected by land. Smaller islands also exist around the main boroughs; including Happiness Island, Colony Island and Charge Island. Liberty City's housing architecture and style is a direct amalgam off of the style used in New York City. Brownstone rowhouses, terraced townhouses, low-rise apartments and urban tenements are commonplace; especially in the boroughs of Broker and Dukes. Some of the more affluent neighborhoods; particularly in Dukes, have a higher concentration of larger single-family homes of Tudor Revival, Irish or Victorian style. The borough of Algonquin hosts many modern landmarks and skyscrapers, in fact, Liberty City boasts some of the tallest Skyscrapers in the United States, with the most impressive being the Rotterdam Tower. Various points of natural parkland can also be found throughout Liberty City, the largest of which being Middle Park in Algonquin.
Due to the size and population demand of Liberty City, housing projects, towers and urban complexes are also commonplace throughout the various boroughs. They are, however, often stereotyped as being low-income while breeding high-crime rates, despite some housing projects in Liberty City being more affluent and having a lower crime-rate. Housing projects in Liberty City include:
- Firefly Projects - Broker
- Steinway Projects - Steinway, Dukes
- South Bohan Projects - South Bohan, Bohan
- Northern Garderns Projects - Northern Gardens, Bohan
- Governor Greg Johnson Projects - Northwood, Algonquin
- Westminster Towers - North Holland, Algonquin
- Governor Greg R. Smith Houses - Presidents City, Algonquin
- East Holland Projects - East Holland, Algonquin
Parks of Liberty City include:
- Castle Gardens - Algonquin
- Dukes Park - East Island City, Dukes
- Gantry Park - Steinway, Dukes
- Meadows Park - Dukes
- Middle Park - Algonquin
- Outlook Park - Outlook, Broker
- Steinway Park - Steinway, Dukes
- Welham Parkway - Boulevard, Bohan
It's no secret that various areas in Liberty City suffer from high crime rates; most likely brought about by the large number of gangs and criminal organizations in Liberty as well as a large underground black market in various areas - in particular the drugs trade, each fighting for control of the city and will use any means possible. The Commission is an Italian-American Mafia association made up of the Five Families, which are the Ancelotti Family, the Pavano Family, Gambetti Family, the Messina Family and the Lupisella Family. Another mafia family called the Pegorino Family also exist but are not part of the Commission and primarily operate in the state of Alderney as opposed to Liberty City. Aside from the Italian mafia families, there are other major crime organizations such as the McReary Crime Family/Irish Mob, Russian Mafia, Korean Mob and the Triads.
Aside from these major big-time criminal organisations, there are, of course, many small-time local ethnic street gangs in Liberty City as well, such as the Albanian Mob, Jamaican Hillside Posse, motorcycle gangs (The Lost MC and the Angels of Death) and various pockets of African American gangs (such as the North Holland Hustlers) as well as various Hispanic gangs such as the Northwood Dominican Drug Dealers and the Spanish Lords.
Many of the gangs fight over the drugs trade and other businesses in Liberty City for money and power. However, after word gets out about smuggled diamonds; some of the major criminal organizations battle for possession of the diamonds too; including the Pegorino Crime Family and The Lost Motorcycle Club.
Aside from the gang violence and drug trafficking, other crimes and social problems such as prostitution, car theft, arms trafficking, economic deprivation/poverty and a little history of corruption in the LCPD also plague certain districts and neighborhoods. During 2008, Liberty City mayor Julio Ochoa took a tough stance against gun crime by introducing gun control laws; limiting the availability of firearms. He did so primarily by shutting down Ammu-Nation stores across Liberty City. However, this campaign has proved to be generally ineffective as the sale of firearms in Liberty City appears to be booming as an underground black market; with criminal organisations, drug lords and gangs typically being heavily armed.
Statistically, parts of Broker and especially Bohan are notorious for their higher crime rates, gang violence and drug trafficking market in the city. Most of the crime occurs in the deprived and run-down neighbourhoods as well as the large projects/housing complexes around Liberty City. Bohan deserves a special mention as they often outperform the other boroughs in terms of crime rate with Broker often coming in second. The many projects and housing complexes around northern Algonquin also appear to be plagued by a high crime rate. Dukes appears to be the safest borough in Liberty City due to its heavy middle/upper-class influence but still contains a minority of areas with a higher crime rate.
Crime-for-crime, some of the most dangerous and/or deprived areas with the highest crime rate in Liberty City include:
- Bohan: South Bohan, Fortside, Chase Point, Little Bay, and Industrial
- Broker: Firefly Projects, Beechwood City, Schottler, Hove Beach, and East Hook
- Algonquin: North Holland, Northwood, East Holland, Chinatown, Little Italy, and Presidents City
- Dukes: Cerveza Heights, Willis, Steinway, and East Island City
Food & Drink
Much of Liberty City's catering scene comprises fast-food chains and snack vendors. Two of the most dominant fast-food chains within the city are the Burger Shot and Cluckin' Bell franchises. Their restaurants can be found in several locations across the city. Hot dog vendors can also be found in many locations, as well as a few hamburger vendors and mixed nuts vendors around Liberty City, particularly around Middle Park.
Liberty City, being one of the largest cities in GTA's America, is home to many major league sports franchises. The Liberty Swingers (based on the New York Yankees, New York Mets and Brooklyn Dodgers) are the baseball team. There is one American football team, the Liberty City Wrath (based on the New York Giants and the New York Jets). There are two basketball teams, the Liberty City Penetrators (based on the New York Knicks), and the Liberty City Warriors (who share a name with the Golden State Warriors), as well as a women's basketball team, the Liberty City Salamanders. The hockey team is the Liberty City Rampage (who have a logo that's similar to an older Washington Capitals logo, albeit recolored). There are also three soccer teams the Red Mist FC (based on the New York Red Bulls), the Liberty City Cocks and the Liberty City Beavers.
The main form of transport throughout Liberty City is by road, there's a fleet of taxis throughout the city, making it easier to transport through the city fast. There is a prominent freeway in each borough, with two in Algonquin and another stretching from Broker to Dukes. A bridge connects each island to Algonquin, with two from Algonquin to Broker and another from Dukes to Bohan.
There is also an extensive subway system, connecting the many areas of Broker, Dukes, Algonquin, and Bohan with two main routes. One serves inner Algonquin and Bohan, the other serves outer Algonquin and Broker/Dukes. The subway] in reaches everywhere in Liberty City except for Alderney, as it is not a part of Liberty State.
Every street in the new Liberty City has a name, increasing the realism (in past games, only a few rare street names were used for locations such as Grove Street in GTA: San Andreas. The 3D Universe version of Liberty City had some street names as evidenced on the GTA III website, but none are directly referenced in any game). All the streets on each island have a meaning, for example, most streets in Broker are named after famous cowboys; streets in Dukes are named after patriotic events, and streets in Algonquin are named after minerals, chemical elements, and U.S. State Capitals.
Helicopters can be flown either by the player or by an NPC pilot when participating in Helitours or by using Brucie's special ability. Liberty City has an airport in Dukes named Francis International that receives planes from around the world. The aircraft cannot be used by the player in the game. Boats can also be used to travel between the islands.
- Algonquin - Dukes Expressway-Dukes
- Broker - Dukes Expressway-Broker, Dukes
- Northern Expressway-Bohan
- Union Drive East-Algonquin
- Union Drive West-Algonquin
- Algonquin Bridge
- Broker Bridge
- Dukes Bay Bridge
- East Borough Bridge
- Hickey Bridge
- Leaper's Bridge
- Northwood Heights Bridge
A few high schools that are based in Liberty City can be seen on the in-game website Hornyhighschoolreunions.com
- Bohan Leadership Academy–Bohan
- Castle Garden High School–Castle Gardens, Algonquin
- East Holland High School–East Holland, Algonquin
- Easton Academy For Boys–Easton, Algonquin
- Fort Side High School–Fortside, Bohan
- Meadows Park International–Meadows Park, Dukes
- Rotterdam Heights High School–Rotterdam Hill, Broker
- South Broker High School–Broker
- South Slopes High School–South Slopes, Broker
- Liberty Transport Authority
- Liberty Sanitation Department
- Liberty City Police Department
- City of Liberty Paramedicine
- Liberty City Fire Department
- East Holland Police Station in Algonquin
- East Island City Police Station in Dukes
- Fortside Police Station in Bohan
- Francis International Airport Police Station at the Francis International Airport in Dukes
- Hove Beach Police Station in Broker
- Lower Easton Police Station (headquarters) in Algonquin
- Middle Park East Police Station in Algonquin
- Northern Gardens Police Station in Bohan
- South Slopes Police Station in Broker
- Star Junction Police Station in Algonquin
- Suffolk Police Station in Algonquin
- Varsity Heights Police Station in Algonquin
- Westminster Police Station in Algonquin
- Broker Fire Station in Broker
- Fishmarket South Fire Station in Algonquin
- Francis International Airport Fire Station at Francis International Airport in Dukes
- Northern Gardens Fire Station in Bohan
- Northwood Fire Station in Algonquin
- Westminster Fire Station in Algonquin
- Bohan Medical & Dental Center in Bohan
- Cerveza Heights Medical Center in Dukes
- City Hall Hospital in Algonquin
- Holland Hospital Center in Algonquin
- Lancet-Hospital Center in Algonquin
- Schottler Medical Center in Broker
Choice of City
When asked why Rockstar Games decided to reuse Liberty City, Dan Houser, Vice President of the company said: "New York City is an environment we felt had never been done to the level we were envisioning it in a video game. From looking at all of the locations, this was the one that really stood out to us, and really had that impact. It has."
"The texture of the Algonquin streets, which are filled with crater-like potholes and occasional glimpses of the brick used in a world gone by, are greatly varied in design and something you can't tear your eye from. The visual makeup of the city was something we could capture real well and really understand the minute aspects of its personality. Trying to put that into a video game is something that we think is unique to the video game medium. It was a way that we could capture some aspects of the experience of living there that you couldn't put into a film, you couldn't put into a TV show, and you couldn't put into a book."
"A big part of New York life is walking around the streets and meeting lunatics. That's something that we definitely tried to put into the game. We are trying to give it that life and difference between the neighborhoods and the difference between the kinds of people. We are trying to capture that Capital of the World aspect of New York."
"It's not the full city, it's an approximation thereof. We make a city that feels like the real thing, but is perfectly tuned for gameplay in the broadest sense. The world is not designed to be a video game. We are trying to make a video game that feels like the world, but still plays like a video game. The design of the city and the missions that unfold within it are designed hand-in-hand and complement each other perfectly. Everything in this world is here for a reason, where it is directly tied to gameplay or simply there to create atmosphere."
The depiction of Liberty City in the official website of GTA IV has been retouched to picture the entire city, or at least its landmass, as being larger than it is in-game. Broker is seen extended further to the right, or east, and lights that stretch to the horizon are visible in this extended area, as well as behind Dukes and Algonquin. The same modification can be seen to a more limited extent to the left or west of Alderney.
The playable area in GTA IV was originally going to be entire Liberty State rather than just the Liberty City metropolitan area, and it would feature other landmasses such as mountains and countryside around the currently featured islands, but time limitations caused Rockstar to instead resort to just focusing on the city.
Alderney is supposed to symbolise New Jersey. Like New Jersey, Alderney is an independent state, although many mistake it to be a part of Liberty State as Alderney is included in most maps of Liberty City. Although, the Autoeroticar website states in that it is located in "Alderney City, Liberty City." Whether or not it is just a typographical error or it is intentional is unknown.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars has a few differences to the Liberty City in the main console versions. This is mainly due to its top-down view, which is because it is designed for the Nintendo DS portable platform.
- The game features only the 'real' Liberty City, meaning that Alderney is not physically present in the game. However, Alderney is still briefly seen during the introduction cutscene of Sa-boat-age and in the Jetmax GPS in the cutscene of Missed the Boat?. The West River, located between the states of Alderney and Liberty, is also still referred as being a river, although it being an ocean in-game.
- The game uses the original Grand Theft Auto IV map, meaning that locations that exclusively appear in The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony do not appear in Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (e.g. Hercules and Maisonette 9).
- There are no major height differences. Though changes in elevation are present, these are generally minor, and are ultimately barely more than Unique Stunt Jumps. Because of this, all of the freeway overpasses were removed, and were placed on ground level instead.
- The layouts of streets, while roughly following that of GTA IV's, were altered to be more grid-based, and as a result, streets were either repositioned to be straight or diagonal, merged with other roads, or just outright removed. However they still retain their original names.
- Most skyscrapers only have their base rendered, as the top could not be viewed with the top-down perspective provided by GTA Chinatown Wars.
- The train system is not usable, as stations cannot be entered. However the tracks, stations and trains are still present.
- Also, the elevated subway tracks were realigned to prevent obscuring the view due to the top-down camera angle of the game.
- Liberty City, as frequently claimed on the radio, supposedly holds many "illegal aliens", a term for an illegal (undocumented) immigrant. Niko's first girlfriend Michelle humorously references dating "guys from another planet".
- Unlike its 3D Universe counterpart, Liberty City does not appear to have the highest crime rate in the USA. In fact, on the website leftover-vacations.com, it is mentioned that Detroit is the "murder capital" of America.
- Whenever the player stays in a tunnel for too long before exiting, a static sound can be heard.
- The map is practically infinite, so the players can fly from town as long as they want (similar to in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas), however there are risks of death:
- After flying or swimming for around 30 minutes to 1 hour, all vehicles (spawned, used, and other) will become invisible including the protagonist and their guns. Only lights and bullets remain visible, which means that the death zone starts. After everything has became invisible, the protagonist will start to lose a bit of health each second. (Single player only)
- In the GTA IV's Multiplayer, after flying or swimming for 2 to 10 minutes (depends on the vehicles speed) the message will appear "You are too far away from action, turn back or suffer the consequences." After the message goes down, the vehicle will explode, killing the player's character.