One of the most iconic symbols of American freedom is set to reopen just in time to celebrate the nation’s birthday. The Statue of Liberty, which was damaged during Hurricane Sandy on October 29 of last year, will welcome visitors for the first time since that day with the arrival of a morning ferry at 8:45 a.m.
When Sandy made landfall in New York City last fall, the storm surge hit Liberty Island. While the statue itself weathered the storm quite nicely, its surrounding support structures were not so lucky. Docks leading to the island were severely damaged, as were the electrical and phone systems. Several of the walkways had to be repaired and the entire site was littered with debris. Fortunately, none of the historical areas were affected by the storm, which made it easier to conduct repairs.
In the aftermath of the storm both Liberty Island and Ellis Island closed to visitors. After both sites were assessed for damage the repair crews set a goal of having the Statue of Liberty reopened by the Fourth of July. They were able to achieve that goal, although Ellis Island remains closed.
The National Park Service says pre-sales for the reopening have been brisk, so visitors should expect large crowds and delays.
Welcome back Lady Liberty. We’re glad you could make the celebration.
I had the privilege of escorting photographer Keith Pennington around New York City last week. During his trip, we embarked on a short journey to Staten Island via the free ferry. As it turns out, this ride provides panoramic views of iconic New York City fixtures, like the Statue of Liberty. I could see the park near my house raising its head above the rest of Brooklyn while we were on the boat. The Verrazano Bridge and the beautiful walkway beneath it were in clear view. The buildings in lower Manhattan and on Governors Island were all visible on this bright and sunny day. Pennington managed to capture much of what was to see in this single shot. If you have a photo you would like to contribute to Photo of The Day, upload it to the Gadling Flickr pool or connect with us on Instagram.
Earlier this week, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced that the Statue of Liberty will reopen to visitors this summer just in time to celebrate America’s birthday. The iconic statue, and the island it sits on, suffered damage during Hurricane Sandy in October but is now on track to return to service by July 4, 2013.
During the mega-storm that engulfed the East Coast last year, Liberty Island suffered considerable amounts of damage due to the high winds, excessive rain and flooding. Salazar indicated that Sandy managed to not only destroy the docks that grant access to the island, but also knocked out the security screening system and power grid as well. And while damage to the statue itself was minimal, railings and sidewalks crumbled, buildings were submerged under water and boilers were destroyed.
Finding sources of funding to make the repairs has become a bit of a challenge, especially in the wake of sequestration budget cuts. But the Statue is one of the top tourist attractions in all of New York City, attracting 3.7 million visitors in 2011. That means it is a revenue generator that the local economy will be happy to have back in operation for the busy summer months.
The exact date of the reopening hasn’t been determined yet, but Salazar said more information will be coming soon. He did want to stress, however, that Statue will be in tip-top shape in time for annual Independence Day celebrations. Nearby Ellis Island won’t quite be so lucky, however, as there has been no time table set for its reopening at this time.
Last week, the National Park Service announced that after being closed for renovations for nearly a year, the interior of the Statue of Liberty is set to reopen on October 28. The reopening will allow a limited number of visitors inside for the first time since the renovation project began and it’s timed to coincide with the celebration of the statue’s 126th anniversary.
Changes to the interior include new elevators to whisk visitors to the top of the statue, remodeled restrooms, improved water coolers and safer stairways. A wheelchair lift has been installed for the first time as well, granting better access to the pedestal for those who need a boost. Each of these changes and additions were made to ensure visitors have a safer and more enjoyable experience while in and around the statue.
The renovation project isn’t completely wrapped up just yet and is expected to continue through the end of the year. Because of the ongoing work, access to the interior of the statue will remain limited for the time being. Specific information on availability of tickets will be announced on Lady Liberty’s Facebook page and Twitter feed in the days ahead.
It’s great to see the Statue of Liberty reopening for visitors. One of the most iconic travel experiences when visiting New York City is to drop by to see the statue. It may sound like an overly touristy thing to do, but sometimes when you travel you just have to be a tourist. Definitely worth it in my opinion.
This Friday, the Statue of Liberty turns 125 years old, and to celebrate she’s getting some new high-tech gear in the form of five webcams located inside her torch. Four of the cameras will point towards Ellis Island, Governors Island, Liberty Island and the Freedom Tower respectively, while the fifth will give viewers a unique look at the torch itself.
The new cameras will go live during a ceremony that will cap a week filled with special events commemorating the original dedication of Lady Liberty, which took place on October 29, 1886. The 151-foot tall statue was a gift to the United States from France in honor of the ten year anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. During the Revolutionary War, the two nations became close allies, and the U.S. revolution would later inspire many in France to follow suit.
The new webcams will operate 24-hours a day, seven days a week, and offer a full panorama of the New York City harbor. They have been installed in the torch, well above the crown, and will provide views that haven’t been seen from the statue since 1916.
Friday’s ceremony is open to the public and will also include 125 candidates from 40 different countries, taking the oath of citizenship. Actress Sigourney Weaver will be on hand to read the “Mother of Exiles” poem, written by Emma Lazarus, which helped to make the statue so famous. It was Lazarus who penned the phrase “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
Those hoping to attend the ceremony are encouraged to arrive early. Ferry service will be available between Manhattan and Liberty Island. For the rest of us, we’ll have to just wait until the webcams are switched on to take in the new view.