Liberty City in GTA III Era

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Liberty City
From top left: Downtown Staunton, Jefferson St. Credit Union building, Portland Lighthouse in Portland, Bedford Point, the Cedar Ridge Observatory in Shoreside Vale, the Callahan Bridge and Torrington with the skyscrapers.
Official name: City of Liberty
Appearance(s): Grand Theft Auto III
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
Grand Theft Auto Advance
Country: United States
State: Liberty State
Established: 1798
Mayor: Miles O'Donovan
Population: 4,000,000

Liberty City in GTA III Era is the second appearance of Liberty City in the series, assuming a significantly different design from the first game. 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 millenium 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.

A map of Liberty City in 1998.

The Liberty Tree says in its October 1998 issue of that Liberty will celebrate its 200th anniversary: Liberty City was established in 1798, 22 years after the declaration of independence from United States, being "a church, a cow pasture and three houses when the telephone was invented (1870, first experiments started)," according to Lazlow of Chatterbox FM. Over the subsequent history of Liberty City is almost no word in the series like, unlike the history of New York that was founded in 1624, this interpretation is founded 174 years later.

About the city

Liberty City is loosely based on New York City, but includes elements of other American cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, among others. The city area has a population of 4,000,000 people by 2001. Based on the official website, Liberty City's sister city is Beirut, which may be a joke from the producers, considering Beirut has often experienced violence in the past, twinning it with Liberty City seeing how crime-ridden Liberty City is.

Liberty City is divided into three boroughs, comprising 25 defined areas 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.

The boroughs of Liberty City are:

Image Borough Name Real counterparty
Portland Industrial district

Portland is heavily based on the New York´s lower-class boroughs, particularly Brooklyn and Queens, as also in Lower Manhattan.

Staunton Island Commercial district

Staunton Island is based on New York City´s Manhattan Island because it has several landmarks as Torrington (Manhattan's Financial Center), Bedford Point (Times Square), 366 (500 Fifth Avenue), Liberty City Community College (Columbia University) and derives its name from Staten Island.

Shoreside Vale Suburban district

Shoreside Vale has several landmarks in New Jersey and parts of The Bronx, Westchester Country, Long Island and upstate areas of New York.


A map of Liberty City in GTA III. The three boroughs and other areas of Liberty City: 1. Portland, 2. Staunton Island, 3. Shoreside Vale, 4. Upstate with Ghost Town

Other Areas

  • Upstate is the hilliest part of Shoreside Vale. The hills are located above Cedar Grove as mentioned before. There are two layers of hills. The first layer is under the observatory. And the second layer is at the same level as the observatory although some of it stretches out above it. This is a inaccessible area of the city.
  • Ghost Town is a hidden area uninhabited in upstate, not intended to be accessed during normal game play. The small city block is just a hidden interior alongside of the garden area on Kenji's Casino, the roof of the Love Media Building, and Joey's Garage. Although referred to, it is not Carcer City. The Ghost Town is noticeably more detailed than Liberty City itself; the alley behind the bank contains dumpsters, cardboard boxes, and even various items of garbage strewn across the ground
  • According to recent Q&A from RockstarGames, all the islands (including Ghost Town) in Grand Theft Auto III are not all of Liberty City, just all that is relevant to the story.


Map of Liberty City in GTA III, with aerial view of the city.

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.

According to a recent Rockstar Games Q&A, the islands in Grand Theft Auto III, and 'Ghost Town' are only some of the city as a whole, the rest is just unexplored.

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 is 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.


Panorama of Liberty City, as seen from Shoreside Vale mountains.


A view of the Belleville Park in 1998, where you can appreciate the season of autumn in the trees and part of the day.

In 1992, as seen in GTA San Andreas, Liberty City was going through the winter season, 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 cold with frequent rain and fog. The thermometer in Bedford Point indicates the city's current temperature, which usually reads as rather low. Liberty City is the only city in the series where falling snow is introduced.


Mayor Roger C. Hole in 1998, shortly before his death.

The Mayor of Liberty City in 2001 is Miles O'Donovan, who won an election against Donald Love after the death of the previous mayor, Roger C. Hole, at the hands of Toni Cipriani in 1998.

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 assassination 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.


Southern block of Liberty Campus in Grand Theft Auto III.

There are two known educational buildings in the city, a school in the Bedford Point district of Staunton Island and 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 school in Bedford Point only appears in GTA Advance. The school is seen during the mission School's Out when Mike kidnaps Yuka, the niece of Yakuza co-leader Asuka Kasen.

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.


Love Media logo

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, Media Love probably also has films, including "The Mainframe" which was released in 1998.


In 1998, the city had ten numerous 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 can not listen to them. They are Liberty FM, WLLC ‘The Zone’ and Liberty Soul FM. Meanwhile, Radio Del Mundo appears to have disappeared from the airwaves.

The player can listen to the following radio stations:

GTA III (2001) GTA Liberty City Stories (1998)

Print Media

An issue of the Liberty Tree from 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.


Toni Cipriani in the Cox Mascot Outfit

Liberty City has two known sports teams: the Liberty City Cocks and Liberty City Beavers. The two football/soccer teams play at the Liberty Memorial Stadium in Aspatria. The two are fierce rivals, with Derrick Thackery, in 1992, mentioning a match between the two on WCTR's The Tight End Zone. Another match is played in September 2001, with the Liberty Tree reporting that the Liberty Cocks won 3-0 after a hatrick (three goals) from Iranian striker Ma'am. Fans of the Liberty City Cocks can be seen around the stadium in Aspatria. In 2000/2001, the Vice City Mambas play the Liberty City Cocks, with Mike injuring the Mambas injuring the teams star quarterback.


Liberty City has several public services 24 hours every day, from food, transportation, gas, fire, health care, among others ... where each is used differently. Food service can range from restaurants, food distributors (companies) and cafeterias as Punk Noodles, Joe's Pizza (used more in 1998), Tarbrush Café, Momma's Restaurante, Belly-Up Fish & Seafood Processing Plant, etc. ... what is most used in the city as well as public transportation from taxis, buses and subways.

A taxi in GTA LCS, most widely used public transportation in the city.

Public Service

The public service of Liberty City is the most used by pedestrians in the city as mentioned, especially the taxi that is most used in 1998 than in 2000 and 2001 on the streets of Staunton Island and Portland where more visible, since in Shoreside Vale is seen compared to the other islands. In 1998, the taxi has a better appearance, like the Liberty City subway system which is the other most widely used transport for travel throughout the city. The Portland El is also another carrier, only this is used only in Portland.


The Carson General Hospital.

Also the hospital service, in this case of the three hospitals in Liberty City that have ambulances at home, are another important service in Liberty City, for use in the boroughs. The hospital of Liberty City as:

Acording to the founding of the hospital, which has more clinical service to the city is the Sweeney General Hospital in Portland.

Liberty City Police Department.


The Liberty City Police Department since 1869 has been fighting crime in the city, is another widely used service for all types of problems such as gang fights or theft. The Leone family is one of the biggest rock monitored by city police in Portland, where he dominated.


As well as the Liberty City Fire Department who has served since 1872 the islands of the city putting out fires. The Liberty City Fire Department founded has three stations, one located on each island. Fire trucks can usually be found parked outside each of the three stations.


Despite being very small, Liberty City's transport is very large in the city, mostly by bridges and tunnels that link to each island. Transport was more extensive before 2000 when there were still several important services like the ferry, which had the disadvantage of being very slow. Around the city there are four bridges (of which only two are those that connect to the islands), two expressways, an underground tunnel that goes under the city, another tunnel under construction in Shoreside Vale, as well as an airport and public transportation that can be used by the player and the pedestrians.


The Shoreside Lift Bridge

Liberty City has four major bridges throughout the city, two huge bridges that connects the three islands:

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 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.


Aspatria-Bedford Point expressway, the longest road.

Other transportation as favorable to the bridges, are the roads, which are a total of only tree 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" is one that attaches to the east, Newport Fort Staunton, the only highway that separates the lanes on both sides (two on each side) that is filled with some posters .

Another highway that links the Newport, Fort Staunton and Torrington along the east coast district, which is the only through which pass the pedestrian walk, because this is the form of a normal street, only very large.

Road Tunnels

Porter Tunnel

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 cause the tunnel to finally open in October 2001, with Claude having to wait for the tunnel to be fully constructed.

A second road tunnel called Shoreside Vale 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

Portland El

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 Portland El and Subway in Liberty City, with the same design


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."


The public transport seen on the streets is the taxi. There are two types:

Comparison between the classic taxi and the cabbie

  • Cabbie: The original model of the taxi, they are slow, heavy, and have an old, boxy design.
  • Taxis: The modern model of taxi, it is faster and lighter than its older counterpart.

In Liberty City, the taxis are only operated by Mean Street Taxis, which is based in Trenton and also has a branch in Vice City, and Borgnine Taxis in Harwood.

The Ferry

Ferry Service

Liberty City´s ferry service was the most used form of transportation until some time before 2000. Before its shutdown, this service connected Portland and Staunton Island together. The ferry docks were located in Harwood and Rockford. The service was canceled by Miles O'Donovan, despite his promise to maintain it. In 1998, workers across the city went on strike to protect the ferry service, which only provoked the closure, leaving Portland isolated from the rest of the city. By 2000, the ferry service had been replaced by the Callahan Bridge and in addition in 2001, the 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 since 1953, providing $ 69 to travel from different places like London, San Andreas, Vice City and Tokyo. Several airlines like Rockstar DMAir McAdam Airways and the best known, among others, operating in this airport, providing flights to domestic and international locations, as some mentioned.


Very little is known about the Liberty City railroad, but the reason that once existed is that still there is a yard with some rusty rails.


Liberty City's crime ranging from explosions to persecution.

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 Carl Johnson in 1992, Toni Cipriani in 1998, Mike in 2000/2001 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, car jacking 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".

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, with Forelli Family Don Sonny Forelli and mobster Harry and Lee inside Marco's Bistro and discussing what to do with Tommy Vercetti. 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 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. Hidden code in the game proves that a 100% accessible Liberty City was created, and it is unknown why Rockstar chose to remove it.


See also

External Links