Advertisement
 
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Amsterdam, NY ,
Advertisement

On July 4, Statue of Liberty to finally reopen

Monday, July 01, 2013 - Updated: 4:28 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Months after Superstorm Sandy swamped her little island, the Statue of Liberty will finally welcome visitors again on Independence Day.

Sandy made landfall one day after the statue’s 126th birthday, flooding most of the 12 acres that she stands upon with water that surged as high as 8 feet. Lady Liberty herself was spared, but the surrounding grounds on Liberty Island took a beating.

Railings broke, docks and paving stones were torn up and buildings were flooded. The storm destroyed boilers, sewage pumps and electrical systems.

Hundreds of National Park Service workers from as far away as California and Alaska spent weeks cleaning mud and debris. In recent months, all mechanical equipment was moved to higher ground as workers put the island back in order.

The damage to Liberty Island and neighboring Ellis Island cost an estimated $59 million. Some repairs to brick walkways and docks are still underway, but on July 4 visitors will arrive via ferry boats once again to tour the national landmark.

“People will have, more or less, the same access to Liberty Island that they had before,” said John Warren, a spokesman for the Statue of Liberty National Monument.

The ceremony Thursday will include remarks by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and others. It will close with a ribbon-cutting and performance by singer and actor Dominic Chianese, best known as Corrado “Junior” Soprano on the HBO series “The Sopranos.”

A gift from France, the statue was conceived to symbolize the friendship between the two countries and their shared love of liberty. It was dedicated in 1886 and welcomes about 3.5 million visitors every year.

People who purchased tickets in advance can also look out over New York Harbor from the statue’s crown, which reopened after a long hiatus one day before Sandy hit and was forced to close again due to the storm. The crown had been off-limits for a year during a $30 million upgrade to fire alarms, sprinkler systems and exit routes.

Security screening for visitors will be held in lower Manhattan after city officials criticized an earlier plan to screen them at neighboring Ellis Island, which endured far worse damage to its infrastructure and won’t be open to the public anytime soon.

Home to the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, the island still doesn’t have working electricity, sewage systems or telephone lines, Warren said.

The museum showcases the stories of the millions of immigrants who disembarked there to start their lives as Americans. Its historical documents and artifacts survived the storm unscathed, but more than 1 million items were transported to storage facilities because it was impossible to maintain the climate-controlled environment needed for their preservation.

Park officials would not provide a projected reopening date for Ellis Island.

For tourists like Davide Fantinelli, an 18-year-old from Italy, the reopening comes a bit too late. Fantinelli will already be back home by July 4th, but he and his parents managed to catch a glimpse of the statue from the deck of a water taxi.

The sight of it was one he’ll never forget.

“Because it’s liberty,” Fantinelli said. “It means freedom — of this great nation.”

     

Comments made about this article - 0 Total

Comment on this article

Advertisement
The Recorder Sports Schedule

 

The Recorder Newscast

Most Popular

    Area high school sports schedule
    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

    Producers offering lead roles for movie
    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    Man arrested on alcohol, drug charges
    Sunday, November 23, 2014

    Christmas trees for sale
    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    Local emergency workers shovel off to Buffalo
    Friday, November 21, 2014

    Stanavich, Derby lead all-area team
    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    No shortage of familiar faces in WAC
    Thursday, November 20, 2014

    Local couple to celebrate 65th wedding anniversary
    Saturday, November 22, 2014

    $19.4M capital project F-FCS voters approve bond
    Friday, November 21, 2014

    Board is looking to fill a vacancy
    Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Advertisement

Copyright © Port Jackson Media, LLC.

Privacy Policies: Recorder

Contact Us

Twitter

Instagram

Facebook