Statue Of Liberty Reopens For First Time Since Hurricane Sandy

Statue of LIberty in New York Harbor
Public Domain

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.

Ellis Island has a birthday on January 1

While I was getting the links for my post on things to do in New York City on New Year’s Day, I saw that Ellis Island is also open, plus that it’s having a birthday tomorrow. It first opened on January 1, 1892.

Friends of ours went to New York City earlier in December and did take the ferry to Liberty Island where the Statue of Liberty lifts her torch and then on to Ellis Island, but they didn’t get off the boat in either place. They missed out on what I think is one of the more interesting museums I’ve been to–and I’ve been to A LOT of museums. Sure, it’s neat to see the Statue of Liberty from up close, but if you only have time for one place, get off at Ellis Island for at least an hour or so. Plus, the museum is free. You’ve already paid for the boat ride, so why not get your money’s worth?

Ellis Island does not have the flashiest of museums, but it is steeped in American and world history and, I think, is important to the multicultural fabric of the United States–one that is good to pay tribute to. If you have kids, it’s an excellent way to teach them about who has immigrated to the U.S., when the various ethnic groups came and the various things that were happening in the world that prompted them to relocate.

My two favorite displays are the 3-D graphs that show who came and when and the section that highlights various families and the belongings they bought with them. If you do go here, take time out for the movies and the talk by the National Park ranger.

The last time we were there, my son caused a double-take. When the ranger asked, “Who here was born in another country?” and my son, then age 4 raised his hand and shouted out, “I was. I was born in India,” the ranger looked at my son’s blond hair and fair skin in confusion. “For real?” he asked.

For real. My son’s immigration story is not quite as exciting as an ocean journey from Europe, but it will provide some party talk when he gets older.