- "A gift from the French at the end of the 19th century, this iconic landmark evokes a bittersweet mix of patriotism and xenophobia."
- ―Grand Theft Auto IV manual description
The Statue of Happiness is a statue in Grand Theft Auto IV, The Lost and Damned, The Ballad of Gay Tony and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, and is briefly mentioned in Grand Theft Auto V. Located on Happiness Island in Liberty City, It is clearly based on the Statue of Liberty in New York City. The name refers to the smile on the statue's face.
Happiness Island, where the statue is located, is only accessible via helicopter, boat or by swimming. Algonquin is the closest island, and the nearest subway stop is Castle Gardens on the Algonquin Outer Line. Helitours is on the southeast side of Algonquin for a helicopter, and there are numerous boats at moorings on the west side of Algonquin. The island itself has a number of boats that spawn there, and also Forklifts. A random vehicle (usually a Futo, a Blista Compact, an Ingot, or a Uranus) also spawns behind one of the sheds, and a Faggio spawns in a small area off of the main plaza. It is unknown how these vehicles spawn there, as there is no ferry port to bring them across to the island.
Much like the Statue of Liberty, the statue is designed as a copper green statue based on a stone pedestal standing upon a star-shaped base in the middle of an island (like the Fort Wood). Whilst the statue's design is very much similar to the Statue of Liberty's, there are several visible differences on the Statue of Happiness:
- The Statue holds a tablet in her left hand, but a cup in her right (in place of a torch). The cup assumes a modern design (complete with a drinking cap) that emits steam from the top, implying that it is a cup of "Hot Coffee". Atop it in The Ballad of Gay Tony, lies a parachute.
- The statue's appears to assume the face of a middle age woman, as opposed to the Statue of Liberty's younger appearance. The face features a wide grin in reference to her name (happiness), as well as wide open eyes (complete with highly visible irises and eye bags). The statue's face bears a striking resemblance to former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. This resemblance, along with the cup of coffee in her right hand, may be a reference to the Hot Coffee controversy which Clinton took investigation in, also suggesting that new regulations be put on video games.
- Street photo galleries feature the statue with a different face that may have existed in the beta; the face is more consistent with the Statue of Liberty's, albeit with a slight, close-mouthed smile.
- The Statue of Happiness faces north up the West River. The real life Statue of Liberty faces east, out towards the Atlantic Ocean.
- Her seven spikes represent the seven continents and seas.
According to in-game material, the statue was presented to the United States of America in 1886 from the French to mark 100 years free of British food and spelling. In one Weazel News report, however, the French president had requested the United States return the statue, in response to the American president's decision to rename French maid outfits as "slutty Halloween costumes" (a reference to the real-life controversy surrounding the use of "freedom fries" instead of "French fries" in menus of eateries in the United States' House of Representatives).
The GTA Chinatown Wars rendition of the statue is downsized in order to be more visible in the game's top-down angle. While the structure retains the star fort base, the pedestal was removed and the statue is smaller. However, the full rendition of the statue appears while talking with a drug dealer in the island.
The tablet held by the Statue bears an inscription apparently added in to make fun of the United States' treatment towards immigrants who entered the country seeking a better life, and closes with the country's date of independence from the British. It reads:
- "Send us your brightest, your smartest, your most intelligent,
Yearning to breathe free and submit to our authority,
Watch us trick them into wiping rich people's asses,
While we convince them it's a land of opportunity."
- — JULY IV
Inside the statue is a beating heart, one of GTA IV's easter eggs and is among one of the first easter eggs that were found in GTA IV. The entrance is on the upper platform of the pedestal, right at the feet of the statue, which is only accessible by a helicopter.
The southern door has a sign: "No Hidden Content This Way". This is similar to the sign on top of the Gant Bridge in GTA San Andreas and The Hidden Sign in Grand Theft Auto III. Through the door there is a ladder going upwards into the body of the statue itself. At the top of the ladder there is a small platform with a large, beating heart chained to the inside of the statue. The heart is indestructible.
- Upon arriving at the statue's island, one can find the Happiness Is...Land sweater on the ground near the entrance to the Statue of Happiness.
- If the player dies while falling and land on the sweater, it will disappear as the cutscene for the player character putting the sweater on cannot be displayed. This will render the sweater no longer collectible.
- During one of the powerboat outings the player can go on with Brucie Kibbutz, they will have the opportunity for a scenic statue tour. However, Brucie calls it the "Statue of Freedom" in the audio while the subtitles still say "Statue of Happiness." This suggests that the statue might have had a different name during development, but the audio file did not get changed to reflect the statue's final name.
- In The Ballad of Gay Tony, the "Celebinator" writes in his blog (the post can be seen below) about the statue after his "helicopter tour" of the city (the last sentence in the post regarding the statue could be a reference to its beating heart). Also, through the article, The Celebinator mentions that her face reminds her of someone and that "if I was married to that cold slab of stone, I'd be off with any fat bird who'd take me." These might be references to Hillary Clinton and how her husband, US ex-president Bill Clinton, was caught in an affair with Monica Lewinsky.
- The $10 in GTA IV has the Statue as the central picture.
- The heart cannot be destroyed by any weapon.
- A rare souvenir-like replica of the Statue of Happiness was originally available as a press bonus, and was later included as a contest gift in the April 13th Rockstar multiplayer event.
- When taking a Higgins Helitour, the pilot may say "...An opportunity for transplant organs and rich people!" This could be a reference to the Statue's beating heart, as he goes over it in the tour.
- In the mission Monkey Business in Grand Theft Auto V, when traveling through the secret passageway, Michael says that he feels like he's giving a colonoscopy to the Statue of Happiness.
- Also in GTA V, the statue appears in a Bravado advertisement and its heart in the movie "Capolavoro".
- Also in GTA V, on the Bless Your Heart radio show, Jock Cranley says that her face looks like a sour fish, while Bobby June says that she looks like she's having a bad day.
- At the beginning of The Simian trailer, the statue is seen with its arm detached and falling down in the foreground of a wasteland Liberty City. This could be a reference to the documentary Life After People, which also shows the Liberty Statue's arm falling.
- "Statue of Grumpiness
The other day I had the unfortunate experience of getting up-close and personal with the Statue of Happiness. It's horrible! I could swear that disgusting strange smile on her face reminds me of someone, too. That's the face of a woman who needs some work done, or some action, or both! I mean, she is seriously living a lie, that one, and for what? She just stands there and does nothing! Reminds me of my mother. If I was married to that cold slab of stone I'd be off with any fat bird who'd take me. It's amazing that angry black heart of hers still beats in her chest."
- ―The Celebinator