Statue of Liberty to sport webcams from its torch

Wed Oct 26, 2011 10:23am EDT
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By Jonathan Allen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Statue of Liberty is getting accessories -- with five webcams attached to the torch held high in New York harbor offering views not seen by the public in nearly a century.

The webcams go live on Friday during a ceremony on Liberty Island marking the 125th anniversary of the dedication of the copper-clad monument, which was a gift from France to the people of America.

From computers afar, viewers will be able to watch live video streams of traffic, boats and airplanes in high-resolution panoramic images showing the Manhattan skyline, the city's borough of Brooklyn and neighboring New Jersey.

"For people who don't come to the Statue of Liberty, it will be a whole new opportunity for them to see the statue, what's around it and how it fits into the whole cityscape," Stephen Briganti, president of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, said in an interview on Tuesday.

Officials closed the torch to the public in 1916 during World War One, following an explosion at a nearby munitions depot, blamed on German saboteurs, that damaged the statue.

Since then, the sweeping views have been seen only by a handful of people involved in the statue's maintenance.

"It's a heck of a climb," said Briganti, who last made the difficult ascent in the statue's right arm in the 1980s.

The cameras are housed inside steel containers slightly smaller than shoe boxes, he said.   Continued...

<p>The sun shines behind the Statue of Liberty in New York August 31, 2011. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson</p>