— Grand Theft Auto IV manual description
The Statue of Happiness is a statue appearing in Grand Theft Auto IV, The Lost and Damned, The Ballad of Gay Tony and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. Located on Happiness Island in Liberty City, it is clearly based on the Statue of Liberty in New York City.
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 and the 3D model is named in the game files
stat_hilberty01.wdr. This resemblance, along with the cup of coffee in her right hand, may be a reference to the Hot Coffee controversy which Clinton investigated, 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 Statue of Liberty faces east, out towards the Atlantic Ocean.
- Her seven spikes represent the seven continents and seas.
The GTA Chinatown Wars rendition of the statue is scaled down in order to be more visible in the game's top-down perspective. 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 on the Island.
According to Peep that Shit, 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).
In The Ballad of Gay Tony, the "Celebinator" writes in his blog 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 further reference to Hillary Clinton and how her husband, former US President Bill Clinton, was caught in an affair with Monica Lewinsky.
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
The tablet held by the Statue bears an inscription referring to 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:
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
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. Higgins 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, Blista Compact, Ingot, or Uranus) also spawns behind one of the sheds, and a Faggio spawns in a small area near the main plaza.
Inside the statue is a beating heart, one of Grand Theft Auto IV's Easter eggs and is among one of the first Easter eggs that were found in the game. 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 leading to the heart 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.
- The $10 bill in Grand Theft Auto IV has the Statue as the central picture.
- A rare souvenir 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.
- During the Grand Theft Auto V mission Monkey Business, Michael De Santa compares swimming through a cooling tunnel to "giving a colonoscopy to the Statue of Happiness".
- In Grand Theft Auto V, the statue appears in a Bravado advertisement, while its heart appears in the movie Capolavoro.
- During the Bless Your Heart radio show on Blaine County Radio in Grand Theft Auto V, Jock Cranley claims the Statue's face looks like a "sour fish", while Bobby June claims it looks like she's "having a bad day".
- At the beginning of The Simian trailer in Grand Theft Auto V, the Statue's arm is seen detaching from the Statue and falling to the ground in the foreground of a wasteland Liberty City. This could be a reference to the docuseries Life After People, which depicts the Statue of Liberty's arm falling in a similar manner.
- 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 was not rerecorded to reflect the statue's final name.