Lady Liberty took a beating when Hurricane Sandy made landfall last fall, but nothing can stop her timeless spirit. The National Park Service plans to re-open the Statue of Liberty by July 4, which will be about eight months after it was battered by Hurricane Sandy, adds reporter Ken Paulsen in The Staten Island Advance.
"We are fully committed to reopening this crown jewel as soon as it's safe for visitors and not a second later," Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar said in the official announcement to the media. "Based on the tremendous progress we have made, Lady Liberty will be open to the public in time for the July 4th celebration."
A National Park Service report showed that Liberty Island received 3.7 million visitors in 2011; they generated $174 million in economic activity and supported 2,218 jobs, according to Paulsen in The Advance. "Following a year-long renovation project, public access to the crown was supposed to be restored on Sunday, Oct. 28 -- but those plans were quickly scrapped as Hurricane Sandy moved in," added Paulsen in The Advance. "Upgrades to national monument's pedestal elevator, staircases and mechanical systems were made over the course of that time."
"Hurricane Sandy dislodged more than half of the bricks in the walkway that encircles Liberty Island," added Paulsen in the report. "Passenger ferry docks were also severely damaged, along with numerous buildings on the island, including the superintendent's home. The statue and its base were not damaged."
David Luchsinger, the superintendent of the Statue of Liberty and of the neighboring Ellis Island, described the damage to the Associated Press in November: "Our entire infrastructure on both islands, both Liberty Island and Ellis Island, was under water," he said, estimating that three quarters of Liberty Island's 12 acres was flooded, with water as high as 8 feet. He said the water would have been chest-high on the plaza that visitors cross as they head to the statue, according to The Advance report.
Ellis Island continues to be closed. Although it sustained significant infrastructure damage, no historical artifacts were destroyed by Sandy. So Staten Islanders, mark your calendar to visit Lady Liberty this summer. Her return to visitors, is a testament to the remarkable courage and fortitude New York City has shown in rebounding from the devastatation caused by the wake of Sandy.