Statue of Liberty set to reopen after Superstorm Sandy

Wed Jul 3, 2013 5:41pm EDT
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By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Statue of Liberty will reopen to visitors with a July 4 ceremony on Thursday, more than eight months after its home island in New York Harbor was flooded and wrecked by Superstorm Sandy.

Lady Liberty was protectively closed by the National Park Service last October as the historic storm approached.

Before the shutdown in October, the statue had been open for only a day following a year-long renovation.

The statue itself was left largely unscathed by the historic storm, but floodwaters left docks, buildings, walkways and electrical systems badly damaged or even destroyed on Liberty Island between lower Manhattan and New Jersey. About 75 percent of the island was covered by the storm surge.

Also damaged was nearby Ellis Island, where there is a museum in what was once the United States' principal immigration office. Officials said 100 percent of Ellis Island was covered by water during Sandy.

Both islands have been off-limits to the public since the storm.

While it was closed there was a disagreement over security arrangements for visitors to Lady Liberty, one of the nation's most famous landmarks.

The New York Police Department wanted screening to remain at the Battery Park ferry dock, where boats depart for the islands and where it has been in place since shortly after the attacks of September 11, 2001. The National Park Service, however, proposed moving the airport-style security screening of all visitors to Ellis Island, and then ferrying statue visitors on to Liberty Island.   Continued...

The sun sets behind the Statue of Liberty in New York, May 26, 2013. The statue and Liberty Island will reopen to the public on July 4 after having been damaged by Hurricane Sandy last year. REUTERS/Gary Hershorn