View Full Version : Liberty Enlightening the World (Statue of Liberty)

January 17th, 2003, 09:32 PM
Liberty Enlightening the World (http://wirednewyork.com/landmarks/liberty/) and 30 Hudson Street (http://wirednewyork.com/skyscrapers/30hudson/) skyscraper on a cold January day. 12 January 2003.


Statue of Liberty (http://wirednewyork.com/landmarks/liberty/) and Staten Island Ferry. The view from Beard Street Pier in Red Hook, Brooklyn.


The view on the Statue of Liberty (http://wirednewyork.com/landmarks/liberty/) and Ellis Island from the World Trade Center (http://wirednewyork.com/wtc/) Observation Deck.


January 18th, 2003, 07:24 AM
Always nice to see the lady! :)

January 20th, 2003, 12:25 PM
You can see the Military Ocean Terminal in Bayonne in the last picture - where the broadcasters want to put that tower. There are two long piers extending to the edge of the photograph, it's the one on top.

(Edited by NYatKNIGHT at 5:14 pm on Jan. 20, 2003)

January 20th, 2003, 03:04 PM
At such a location it could still disfigure the harbor if ugly.

January 20th, 2003, 04:39 PM
I didn't think it was so close.

January 20th, 2003, 04:52 PM
The thing would be enormous.

January 17th, 2004, 08:58 AM

Perhaps you are not aware, but as a consequence of terrorism and concerns for public safety, the Statue of Liberty was shutdown on the morning of September 11, 2001 and is still closed to the public.

Over the following months, security for her has been significantly heightened, for her safety and the safety of the many people who would visit her, now and in the future.

A number of critical improvements need to be made to the Statue before she can reopen her doors to the public, including:

- Upgrading fire and emergency notification systems
- Creating additional exits from the Statue’s base
- Enhancing visitor safety measures throughout the Statue

The National Park Service has once again turned to The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. – the organization that was responsible for the restoration of Lady Liberty for her centennial in 1986 as well as the historic restoration of Ellis Island -- to raise the funds to get this important work accomplished.

Lady Liberty’s message of hope, freedom and dignity is truly an inspiration to us all, now more than ever.

You can help Re-Open Lady Liberty by making an online contribution today – it’s easy, secure and fully tax-deductible.

Or make a contribution by check. Mail to:

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.
Department Open Liberty
292 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10017-7769

I'm a bit disgusted that they are turning to the public yet again to raise the necessary funds to renovate Lady Liberty.

The Statue of Liberty is arguably our most recognized and beloved national symbol. And yet over the years the public has been petitioned to raise money for its upkeep, indeed even had to help pay for it in the first place. Why can't the federal government find any money to pay for this? If we can afford to use the revenue generated by our taxes to buy hundreds of smart bombs or fund redundant trips to the moon I think we can easily afford a new public address system and a few new exits for the Statue of Liberty.

Alterations are needed mainly because of increased security concerns. How about giving NY its fair share of the Homeland defense fund (we can take Iowa's share :P ) and using some of that cash to pay for the improvements?

Where has the money generated by the throngs of tourists gone over the years? The tour companies? Maybe they should kick in a bit, because without access to the statue they are out of a job. (I wonder if free rides were offered to those who donated to the cause back in '86?)

Call me crazy but Im certain most people would rather see their tax dollars going to projects like this over much of where its currently going. Personally, when choosing a place to make a charitable contribution, I would prefer to give money to an organization that helps actual people who are needy. I just hope it doesn't divert too many well-intended donations that could be better used elsewhere.

(rant over.)

January 18th, 2004, 04:24 PM

Of all the landmarks in New York City, the Statue of Liberty holds the most meaning for me. It punctuates the city perfectly. I have more and more respect for the monument and what it stands for as time goes by.

The Martin Scorsese documentary airing lately on the History channel is very informative; watch it if you have a chance. In addition to security enhancements, does anyone know what specific repairs (if any) will need to be performed on the statue itself? I think the last major renovation was for its centennial in 1986, and it looks to have weathered further since then.

I plan to make a donation to the fundraising campaign for the reopening effort. Each generation should take the necessary steps to ensure the statue's endurance for the next. We owe it to our history, our ideals, and our children to do so. Hopefully one day soon, we will all be able once again to ascend to her majestic crown.

TLOZ Link5
January 18th, 2004, 04:35 PM
What an utterly cheap (or spiteful) federal government we have if they can't spare a million dollars to preserve one of the country's greatest national symbols. Of course, Bush is intent on spending 1500 times that amount of money to help "preserve" marriages.

January 21st, 2004, 12:10 PM
What an utterly cheap (or spiteful) federal government we have if they can't spare a million dollars to preserve one of the country's greatest national symbols.It does seem that way, but in a sense I'm glad that it is the people financing its preservation, since it is an icon for the people. Also, it suggests that we own the statue, not the government.

January 21st, 2004, 12:32 PM
The Statue underwent an extenseive renovation before its centennial. The work being done now is security upgrades to the entire facility.

It's ironic that the NPS is not financing this work. I know several NPS employees at Gateway NRA, and 2 years ago I was talking to a ranger at Riis Park about environmental protection in the park. He said that most of their resources were diverted to places like the Statue of Liberty, and while he understood the security need, it was difficult to maintain the park when the staff was slashed from (as I remember it) 55 to 15.

January 21st, 2004, 05:46 PM
What an utterly cheap (or spiteful) federal government we have if they can't spare a million dollars to preserve one of the country's greatest national symbols. Of course, Bush is intent on spending 1500 times that amount of money to help "preserve" marriages.

No no no--nobody's stressing the real patriotic point of all this. The Statue of Liberty has never gotten a single cent from the government to cover any kind of construction costs or refurbishment costs. The French supplied the statue, but the people of America themselves came up with the money--often by donating pennies at a time--to build the base of the statue. That's the whole point--it's a symbol of the people directly and purely, with nothing inbetween!

January 21st, 2004, 10:26 PM
Is the statue in need of renovations beyond security enhancements (due to acid rain and/or other factors), and was its structural integrity at all affected by the WTC collapse?

February 4th, 2004, 12:37 AM
USA Today

Lady Liberty's stairwells may never be full again

By Rick Hampson

February 3, 2004


LIBERTY ISLAND, N.Y. — They are the most beloved 354 steps in America, for they lead to a view of the nation's greatest city through the eyes of the nation's greatest symbol. But visitors have not climbed the stairs in more than two years, and they may never climb them again.

The Statue of Liberty has been closed since 9/11, longer than any time since its dedication in 1886. Although officials cite security and safety issues, they won't say exactly what they are, or just why they are dramatically different from those at other national landmarks that have reopened.

About $5 million is being raised privately for work that the National Park Service says probably will allow the monument's pedestal, which contains an immigration museum, to reopen to the public later this year. But there's also this startling possibility: The crown — accessible only by a narrow spiral staircase from the top of the statue's pedestal — might not reopen at all.

Officials say it may be too difficult to evacuate people in an emergency. Anyway, the trip to the crown "is not that vital to experiencing the statue," says Stephen Briganti, president of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, which raises money for the statue. "You get the same views from the top of the pedestal."

But the walk to the crown is an American tradition. "Keep the people out and you will turn the statue into an international symbol of craven fear," declared a New York Daily News editorial. Otherwise, the newspaper says, the statue will have been "ceded to al-Qaeda."
Ken Burns, creator of a documentary film about the statue, says "it's a wonderful, playful, transcendent event when you make that huge climb with everyone else."

Although Liberty Island reopened to the public three months after the 2001 terror attacks, visits to the island are still down by at least 40%. Kim Wright, spokeswoman for the Circle Line ferry, says that's largely because people want to go inside the statue and up to the crown.

Landmark security is a cantankerous issue, for it raises a most fundamental of post-9/11 questions: What is caution, and what is cowardice?

In Washington, D.C., city officials complain about the federal government's refusal to reopen Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House. Philadelphia Mayor John Street has ignored federal officials and reopened the street in front of Independence Hall. Meanwhile, a citizens group opposes plans for a security fence around the hall and the Liberty Bell.

The Statue of Liberty is the only major national landmark not to reopen after 9/11. Visitors can ride up the Washington Monument, walk past the Liberty Bell, drive across the Hoover Dam and tour the White House.

At Liberty Island, it's another story. "Don't rush out to the statue," a ferry dockhand advised a group of tourists boarding in Jersey City recently. "It's cold, and there's nothing to do there." Better to linger nearby at Ellis Island, where a museum chronicles the American immigrant experience, he said.

Some visitors arrive thinking that if Liberty Island is open, the statue must be, too. A small white sign at the base of the statue delivers the bad news. "I think you have to go up to the crown to really feel what it's like," says a disappointed Sina Froning, 25, who moved here from Germany two years ago. Unable to enter the statue or stand the winds of New York Harbor, most visitors huddle inside the snack bar and gift shop.

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg says that as long as the statue is closed, "in some sense, the terrorists have won." On these winter days, standing outside the statue's huge bronze doors, it's hard to draw any other conclusion.

'Through the eyes of Liberty'

People were going inside the Statue of Liberty before it was even assembled. The right hand and torch were displayed in Philadelphia in 1876, and the head in Paris two years later.

Visitors eagerly clambered inside. Rudyard Kipling was 12 when he took 36 steps to the crown. A Frenchman told him, "Now you young Englisher, you can say you have looked through the eyes of Liberty herself!"

But the trek to the crown became a ritual almost by accident.

Auguste Bartholdi, the sculptor, intended his statue to be seen from the outside. The interior staircase was designed to allow a lighthouse keeper access to the torch.

But the American committee that had raised money for the statue's pedestal and that after its dedication in 1886 hoped to raise more for upkeep wanted to encourage tourists to take the 25-cent ferry ride. People were allowed up to the crown's cramped interior observation platform, which has 25 windows, and to the torch's small, wind-blown balcony.

The climb became a sensation. The statue was the tallest structure in the Western Hemisphere until the turn of the century and offered the city's finest views. Visitors also could see the statue's intricate internal skeleton, devised by French engineer Gustave Eiffel to support the 151-foot high, 225-ton goddess.

The rigors of the climb became legend. Listen to vaudeville comedian Cal Stewart's country bumpkin character, "Uncle Josh": "I commenced to climb, and I climbed and climbed and climbed, until I allowed as I must be up around her ear or nose, or up there somewhere. I stepped out a little door what I seen, and I shouted 'FIDDLESTICKS!' I hadn't gotten up any further than her big toe!"

After the torch was closed in 1916, the crown was the place to go — even though the city's new skyscrapers offered higher views.

Barry Moreno, a park ranger, recalls standing outside the front door on summer mornings waiting for the arrival of the first ferry. Suddenly, a mob of tourists would appear, sprinting toward the statue, eager to be the first to the top, winded before their first step up.

The hike to the crown was a sort of secular pilgrimage, a staple of class trips and family vacations. You waited for hours, sweating, making friends, complaining.

Complaining was half the fun, for in summer the statue's staircase was hot, crowded, noisy and monotonous. How clever, writer Madeleine Blais once observed, for a monument associated with immigration to "replicate the atmosphere of steerage."

Was it worth it? No, says Park Ranger Doug Freem. "But it's not so bad the next day. And next year you're bragging about it. And 20 years later you're back with your own kids to do it again."

A target as well as a symbol

But tourists were not the only ones who wanted into the statue. Suffragette demonstrators hired a boat to crash the dedication ceremony in 1886. Ever since, the statue has been a political symbol — the scene of demonstrations and occupations by everyone from Vietnam Veterans Against the War to Hungarian nationalists. People have chained themselves to the crown and unfurled banners from its windows.

For security reasons, in the mid-'90s the Park Service began limiting the number of people who went to the crown. It had become clear that to some people with a cause or a grudge the statue was more than a symbol. It was a target.

When the last ferry left Liberty Island at 5 p.m. Sept. 10, 2001, it looked as if it would be a record year for attendance: more than 4 million. The next morning, before the first ferry left its slip, the World Trade Center was attacked.

The island did not reopen to the public until Dec. 20. Terrorists, Interior Secretary Gale Norton said that day, "cannot — and they will not — shut us down."

That was precisely what they did. Four months later, Mayor Bloomberg asked the Park Service to open the crown "as soon as it possibly can." Then, in May 2002, U.S. intelligence indicated the possibility of an attack on Liberty and other New York landmarks.

Gov. George Pataki went to Liberty Island and vowed, "We will never give in to terror." Park Superintendent Diane Dayson said visitors would be allowed into the statue by summer.

It never happened. Peg Zitko, spokeswoman for the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, says, "Some people are saying, 'What's taking so long?' "

The short answer is security; park rangers speak darkly of images on the Internet of the statue being crushed by a fist. And, in a report issued in September 2003, Interior Department investigators said that "icon" national parks were "woefully unprotected" against terror attacks.

Last November, the foundation announced plans to raise $5 million for safety improvements that would allow the pedestal to reopen. Although the amount is well within reach, no one will say exactly how the money will be spent.

Brian Feeney, the Park Service's New York spokesman, sounds like a mobster hauled before a congressional committee when asked about anything related to statue security. But "three years ago," he says, "I'd tell you anything." It's sad, he says: "I miss what we're losing. Everything is scrutinized. But maybe our kids will get used to it."

Briganti, president of the foundation, says the big issue is evacuation. There's only one way in and out of the pedestal.

The Park Service won't comment on its plans for the statue, but they could include new exits created by building two covered exterior staircases between the top of the pedestal and the ground. Details of the project and a rough timetable for reopening the pedestal are expected to be made public within two months.

The crown is another matter. Although American Express ads soliciting donations for the safety work imply that the entire statue will reopen as a result, officials said two months ago that visitors probably would not be allowed to the top. "We don't want to have people up in there out of our sight and out of our reach," says Freem, the park ranger.

Briganti says there might be a way to allow visitors to see inside the statue from the top of the pedestal without going to the crown. The Park Service says nothing has been decided.

High-profile target

The idea of climbing to the crown excites schoolchildren, but it terrifies security experts.

They describe Liberty pre-9/11 as a peerless terrorist target: a relatively fragile, world-famous symbol in the middle of New York Harbor, filled with hundreds of people on a narrow stairway. Their frightening scenarios: a killer runs amok on the staircase; a suicide pilot strikes before people can be evacuated; a vessel opens fire from the harbor; a chemical or biological weapon is detonated inside the statue, which is like a capped chimney.

But some lovers of the statue are not convinced. "It is worth the risk, as long as they're careful about who gets on the ferry," says Betsy Maestro, author of a children's book on Liberty. "If we can secure airplanes every day, why not that island?"

"The feds may be frightened," the Daily News editorialized last month, "but the public most certainly is not."

Darren Bruna isn't sure what to think. On Independence Weekend 1986, the statue reopened after a two-year restoration. American schoolchildren had raised $6 million, and 50 of them were chosen from a poetry-essay contest to be the first to re-enter the statue.

Bruna, then a seventh-grader from Hollenberg, Kan., had written:

"Quietly, patiently, lovingly
The statue stands
A symbol of our country
The Lady."

It wasn't Yeats, but it was enough to win him a trip to New York and a place in front of the line.

"I think everybody ought to be able to go up there and see the view," says the erstwhile poet, who grew up to be a carpenter. "It is pretty remarkable."

At 32, Bruna still has photos and newspaper clippings from 1986. He understands why the statue is closed and that there are reasons why the crown might never reopen. But he has two boys of his own, and he says that someday he wants to take them into the statue — all the way to the top.

Copyright 2004 USA TODAY

TLOZ Link5
February 4th, 2004, 12:53 AM
Since I've never been to Saint Louis and am in no position to make assumptions, could anyone who has been there or lives there tell me if the Gateway Arch would be pretty hard to evacuate in a worst-case scenario?

February 4th, 2004, 01:09 AM
Since I've never been to Saint Louis and am in no question to make assumptions, could anyone who has been there or lives there tell me if the Gateway Arch would be pretty hard to evacuate in a worst-case scenario?
I don't live there and have not yet been, but here (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,92230,00.html) is some info on a situation in which the monument was evacuated.

TLOZ Link5
February 4th, 2004, 01:16 PM
Thanks, Mac.

February 15th, 2004, 02:12 AM
Since I've never been to Saint Louis and am in no position to make assumptions, could anyone who has been there or lives there tell me if the Gateway Arch would be pretty hard to evacuate in a worst-case scenario?

I live in St. Louis..If people were up inside the top of the arch they would pretty much be screwed in my opinion.....It depends how it would be attacked though to make a more accurate guess.

February 15th, 2004, 02:14 AM
Since I've never been to Saint Louis and am in no question to make assumptions, could anyone who has been there or lives there tell me if the Gateway Arch would be pretty hard to evacuate in a worst-case scenario?
I don't live there and have not yet been, but here (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,92230,00.html) is some info on a situation in which the monument was evacuated.

The transformer that caused the fire was on the arch grounds but not in the arch itself....It would be similar to there being a fire on the grounds around Lady liberty but not inside the monument..

March 17th, 2004, 11:11 PM
Newhouse News Service
March 11, 2004

Online-Auction Shopper Cracks 1980s Statue of Liberty Mystery


A drawing of the Statue of Liberty torch shows the location of the missing "acorn."

When Statue of Liberty enthusiast Brian Snyder recently visited eBay to look for memorabilia, he was shocked at what he found: an actual piece of the New York harbor monument, selling for $1,000.

"I knew right off the bat" it had been pilfered, he said. "It looked real, and I thought, `This doesn't belong to this guy!"'

So began a chain of events that ended last week with the National Park Service recovering the 4-inch, corncob-shaped item missing from the balcony encircling the flame of Lady Liberty's torch. It had disappeared almost two decades ago.

The copper artifact apparently was swiped by a construction worker during the monument's centennial restoration in 1986, federal authorities said. The FBI investigated the theft -- as well as that of an identical missing piece -- but did not solve the crimes.

Park Service officials said the worker's son received the object after his father died and -- unaware that it was obtained illegally -- decided to sell it on eBay, the online auction site.

Neither Park Service officials nor Snyder would identify the would-be seller, who described himself on eBay as a Great Neck, N.Y., resident and used the alias "somethingphysical." The man did not respond to interview requests e-mailed through the site.

No bids were received for the "Statue of Liberty pre-restoration artifact," online records show. As of Wednesday afternoon, the auction was still listed -- complete with photo -- but with a note that bidding had expired March 5.

The auction described the piece as an "acorn," but officials said it actually is a decorative ear of corn intended by the statue's French designer to represent the United States as a "land of plenty."

Park Service spokesman Brian Feeney said the piece is now "safely locked" in storage at the statue museum. Because of the "special circumstances" under which the seller came to possess it, a Park Service statement said, he is not expected to be charged with a crime.

Snyder is vice president and Webmaster for the Statue of Liberty Club, an international group of some 150 serious collectors of statue-shaped trinkets. He is such a devotee that he proposed to his wife at Liberty Island -- even giving her a torch-shaped ring.

He was suspicious of the eBay listing because there was no mention of a certificate of authenticity and the item differed greatly from souvenirs usually offered to collectors, he said. Those include tiny concrete chips from the statue's base, encased in glass and sold with the Park Service's blessing.

"I sent (the service) an e-mail with the auction listing and a note asking, `Federal property? Stolen?"' said Snyder, a 40-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative.

He got the object's history when he contacted the seller posing as an interested buyer.

Snyder was pleased to hear from the Park Service that the man had agreed to relinquish the artifact. "I just wanted to see the part recovered," he said. "I didn't want to see this guy put in jail."

Hani Durzy, a spokesman for eBay, said the company would have notified the Park Service and stopped the auction had Snyder alerted it first. The site's policy forbids posting of stolen property.

Durzy said eBay features 20 million items for sale at any given time. "Because there are so many things on the site, we rely on a combination of our own proactive searching ... to ensure that something adheres to our policy, as well as community vigilance," he said.

Copyright 2004 Newhouse News Service

March 25th, 2004, 07:47 PM
March 25, 2004

Statue of Liberty to reopen soon, officials say

From Mike Ahlers
CNN Washington Bureau

The Statue of Liberty, which has been closed to visitors since the September 11, 2001, attacks, will be reopened shortly, national park officials told Congress on Thursday.

Park officials, testifying at a hearing on Capitol Hill, declined to give specifics, saying they did not want to usurp the authority of Interior Secretary Gale Norton, who will make the official announcement.

But under questioning from lawmakers, National Park Service Deputy Director Don Murphy said the reopening is imminent.

He said a $7 million contribution from the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation has helped security, health and safety enhancements at the site.

Pressed for a date, Murphy said, "Let me say candidly the reopening of the statue is really imminent. We've worked very hard. The plan is in the secretary's office. They're working on it almost as we speak, and we're going to be making an announcement in that regard sometime soon."

Murphy said it will cost $1.4 million to keep the statue open through fiscal 2005.

The site's grounds were closed after the attacks but have since reopened.

Copyright 2004 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.

March 30th, 2004, 12:04 PM
New York Daily News
March 30, 2004

Lucky Lady: Statue of Liberty to reopen in late July

The Associated Press

The Statue of Liberty, closed immediately after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, will reopen to the public in late July, Secretary of Interior Gale Norton said Tuesday.

Pledges of $7 million in donations, including a $100,000 gift from Mayor Bloomberg, will finance upgrades that were necessary at the national monument before it could be reopened.

Currently, tourists can visit Liberty Island but are not allowed inside the 151-foot statue in New York Harbor.

“Safety of our citizens and preservation of the statue are our main goals,” said Norton, acknowledging that the 118-year-old statue was “an attractive terrorist target.”

Bloomberg, who joined Norton at a news conference on the island, said he was “proud to have played such a small role” in getting the statue available to the public once again.

According to Norton, an examination of the national monument revealed potential for fire problems and a lack of exits. Screening procedures, much like those at airports, and a reservation system to reduce long lines will be implemented once the monument reopens, Norton said.

She said after the upgrades are completed, the public will be allowed to enjoy the panoramic view from the statue’s observation deck at the top of its pedestal, about 16 stories above ground. They will not be allowed into the crown, reached via narrow and winding stairs, because it cannot accommodate large numbers of tourists and does not meet local fire, building or safety codes.

The island was closed for 100 days after Sept. 11, 2001. Airport-type metal detectors were installed to screen visitors boarding the ferry from lower Manhattan, and the island was then reopened in December 2001. But the statue itself has remained closed.

Since the terrorist attacks, officials have said the number of visitors to Liberty Island has dropped by 40 percent. Still, more than 4 million people have visited since then.

The upgrade project is being overseen by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.

Copyright 2004 Daily News, L.P.

March 30th, 2004, 03:19 PM
New York Times
March 30, 2004

Statue of Liberty to Be Reopened This Summer


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said the reopening of the Statue of Liberty this summer would encourage tourism in Lower Manhattan.

The Statue of Liberty, shuttered since the terrorist strikes on Sept. 11, 2001, will likely reopen to visitors sometime this summer, Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton said today.

Ms. Norton predicted that the monument, which stands on an island in New York Harbor within view of the World Trade Center site, would reopen in four months.

The site was closed along with other iconic national monuments following the Sept. 11 attacks, though it remained closed well after the Washington Monument, the Liberty Bell pavilion in Philadelphia, the Gateway Arch in St. Louis and other popular tourist destinations had opened.

Ms. Norton, speaking on two morning television programs today, said the Statue of Liberty has undergone an overhaul to help protect it from terrorist attacks and correct problems related to visitor access and fire safety. "There's lots of construction to be done," she said on the NBC News program "Today."

The government has already spent about $16 million on renovations, she said on the CBS News "Early Show," adding, "And we still have a ways to go."

Visitors will be able to climb only as high as the observation deck, at the top of the 154-foot granite pedestal on which the statue stands, Ms. Norton said. Access to the crown will remain off limits, though the interior secretary suggested it may reopen to the public at some time in the future.

"We know that the things that really mean so much to us about the statue are the views of the statue that people have treasured for generations," she said on the "Early Show." "We want to make sure that that is well-protected."

In addition, the National Park Service is instituting a system of reservations to prevent long lines, and is creating a new exit from the base to facilitate evacuations, Ms. Norton said.

The island was reopened in December 2001 after metal detectors were installed to screen visitors boarding the ferry from lower Manhattan, but the statue remained closed.

Until its closing, the statue, which is managed by the National Park Service, received an average of 6 million visitors a year, the service said. The United Nations declared the monument a World Heritage Site in 1984.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

March 30th, 2004, 03:31 PM
Slide Show: Statue of Liberty (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/newyork/nyc-liberty-gallery,0,7372733.photogallery?coll=nyc-swapbox-homepage)

March 30th, 2004, 03:51 PM
I feel sorry for the tourists this summer...Most of them make the statue of liberty their primary destination. but what is the purpose to just walk inside the observations deck anyway? :x

I don't find being on the top of the head special my self, but I did it for the experience anyway and I bet lot of people feel the same way.

March 30th, 2004, 05:35 PM
New York Newsday
March 30, 2004

Statue of Liberty to reopen with limits

By Glenn Thrush

Lady Liberty is now the Statue of Limitations.

For the first time since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty will be open to visitors, thanks to $7 million in private donations -- $100,000 from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

But the National Parks Service, which plans to relax restrictions by the end of July, may never allow the public back into copper-clad statue itself, according to Interior Secretary Gale Norton.

Statue designer Frederic Auguste Bartholdi "never intended visitors to the inside of Lady Liberty the stairs were designed for access by a lightkeeper and by maintenance," Norton said during a windswept ceremony at the monument Tuesday. "There are some real challenges to having visitors go up into the area of the crown."

The secretary didn't entirely rule out greater access in the future, but said Liberty's vulnerability to attack -- as evidenced by shrapnel damage caused by German sabotage of a Jersey City arms depot in 1916 -- made such a decision "difficult."

The island reopened two months after the attacks and has attracted four million tourists since, but the public has been limited to admiring the monument from other parts of the park.

The private donations, combined with $19.6 million in federal funding over the last two years, paid for beefed-up security, installation of reinforced stairwells and fire prevention equipment and for an evacuation plan created in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security.

The added security at the statue was apparent Tuesday, in the form of machine-gun toting guards, bomb-sniffing dogs and metal detectors.

Tuesday's announcement wasn't without controversy.

Local Democrats, including Sen. Charles Schumer, blasted the plan, said the Bush administration should have paid for the reopening without the use of private funds.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, a Manhattan Democrat, said, "It has to be asked why it took two and a half years after 9/11 and just months before the GOP convention in New York, and why was the city forced to resort to in essence a bake sale to raise the money."

Bloomberg defended the fund-raising campaign, saying, "The Statue of Liberty stands as a symbol... Raising private money lets us do something that we all in our hearts know is right."

Copyright 2004 Newsday, Inc.

March 30th, 2004, 05:41 PM
This sucks, When I come to NY next week I wanted to go into The Statue of Liberty. I wanted to go into the Torch....really sucks.

April 1st, 2004, 01:26 PM
USA Today: A rare look at Lady Liberty (http://www.usatoday.com/news/graphics/liberty/flash.htm)

April 3rd, 2004, 06:45 PM
New York Times
April 4, 2004

Extra Fund-Raising Put Off Statue of Liberty Reopening


The Statue of Liberty has been off limits to visitors since 9/11.

On Tuesday, against the dramatic backdrop of New York Harbor, federal and city officials announced that the Statue of Liberty would be partially opened to visitors this summer, nearly three years after the Sept. 11 attacks forced it to shut for security concerns.

Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton said a private campaign to raise $7 million by having Americans send in Folgers coffee can lids and charge everyday expenses to their American Express cards had helped make it possible, at long last, to reopen the statue's base. Wal-Mart had helped, average citizens had mailed in checks, and even Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg had pitched in $100,000 of his own money.

As Folgers had put it, every dollar was "necessary to reopen one of America's most cherished landmarks."

But interviews with two dozen current and former federal officials, fund-raisers and major donors, as well as a review of documents from the nonprofit foundation that is raising the money, show that the statue, the world's most recognizable symbol of freedom, could have been opened much earlier.

Millions of dollars held by the nonprofit Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation have long been available for the monument's emergency needs but went unspent. The National Park Service, which is responsible for the landmark, never asked Congress to provide the $2.3 million that they initially estimated was needed to do the work.

The Park Service wavered for at least a year on whether it even wanted to reopen the statue, then decided to turn the task over to the foundation. And once the foundation decided not to dig into its $30 million endowment and instead mount a separate fund-raising campaign, its goal steadily rose to $7 million as still more months went by.

Even now, more than two and a half years after the attacks that shut the statue, visitors will still not be able to go up to the crown, as they did in the past, because of the Park Service's continuing security concerns. As for the $7 million in public donations, it is unclear how much will be spent on safety improvements to open the base, as opposed to optional projects added later, such as a glass portal for viewing the inside of the statue.

The foundation, while choosing not to provide enough endowment money for the emergency exits and upgraded fire system necessary for the statue's reopening, at the same time paid $345,000 to its president, far more than is paid to chief executives at nonprofit foundations that support other parks. At the same time, risky investments contributed to a nearly $10 million drop in the value of its assets in the last two fiscal years.

Meanwhile, no other high-risk national landmark remains closed, including the Washington Monument and Empire State Building, leaving the statue alone as a shuttered symbol of the country's vulnerability to terrorists.

The reasons lie with the two main entities charged with protecting the statue, according to documents and interviews. The Park Service showed a pattern of inertia and disengagement from the task at hand. The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, which some believe should have been dissolved years ago after fulfilling its intended mission to restore the landmark, showed more interest in preserving its considerable assets than in supporting the statue, even in the midst of a crisis.

Even some of those who supported the foundation's earlier campaigns and find value in public-private partnerships now question the relationship between the Park Service and the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.

Donald P. Hodel, a Republican who was secretary of the interior during the major restoration of the statue during the 1980's, said in an interview that he had watched as the Park Service had "very much fallen under the sway of the foundation." He said he disagreed with the foundation's decision to raise more money instead of spending what it already had.

"I think it's improper," said Mr. Hodel, who in recent years was involved with another nonprofit group that abandoned an effort to raise money for the statue after the group was sued by the foundation for trademark infringement. "It is the creation of an endowed entity, which by keeping its funds to itself is free to pay its employees in perpetuity, whether or not it does anything for the statue."

The Park Service's approach also does not sit well with some members of Congress who have expressed concerns that the statue's closing was exploited to raise money, and argue that the responsibility for public safety improvements rests with the government.

"I resent the commercialization of it, pretending that we have to go begging corporations for money, when there has been more than enough money all along," said Representative Maurice Hinchey of New York, a Democratic member of the House subcommittee that oversees financing for the Park Service. "As an American citizen, I don't want the Statue of Liberty co-opted by Wal-Mart."

Officials at the foundation and the Park Service defended their roles. Stephen A. Briganti, the foundation president, said repeatedly in an interview that it would not be prudent to withdraw the money from the endowment, which he said should be "saved for the future." He also insisted that reopening the statue was not slowed because of money, but rather by the lengthy process required to study what needs to be done, agree on a plan and get it approved by the Park Service.

Edie Shean-Hammond, the spokeswoman for the National Park Service Northeast Region, said her agency sought help from the foundation because "it's a matter of tradition, the way we do business."

While allowing that "we may move a little too slowly for the American public," she said there was no reason to rush.

"You've got to realize that we're really a very, very conservative agency," Ms. Shean-Hammond said. "The parks that we manage - the Statue of Liberty, Yellowstone - they will all be here 500, 700 years from now. These decisions cannot be made in a New York minute."

Reliance on Private Support

The concept of using private donations to help maintain public spaces is neither new nor unique to the Statue of Liberty. Indeed, it was a nationwide fund-raising effort by the publisher Joseph Pulitzer in 1885 that financed construction of the pedestal on which the statue stands.

The practice blossomed during the Reagan administration, which urged greater use of public-private partnerships throughout the government. Today, private groups contribute a total of about $40 million a year to support 347, or 90 percent, of the country's national parks.

Held up as a model when it was established in 1982, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, led at the time by Lee A. Iacocca, then the chairman of Chrysler, was given the mission of raising money necessary to refurbish the statue after years of neglect.

More than $300 million was raised from individual and corporate contributions, enough to fix up the statue in time for a gala reopening on July 4, 1986, and to renovate much of Ellis Island and establish a $20 million endowment "to restore, preserve and protect" the monument in the future.

After its mission was completed, the fate of the foundation and its endowment was unclear. Mr. Hodel said that he did not recall specific discussions, but that in hindsight, "It's clear to me that, in some fashion, the foundation should have been wound down."

Mr. Briganti, who directed the foundation's fund-raising during the restoration campaign and became president after the 1986 reopening, acknowledged that the foundation "was thinking of winding itself down." But that changed, he said, after the Park Service began asking it to take on management of new projects.

The foundation's role began to shift in the 1990's away from a passive financing source to one that was more active in the daily operations of the monument.

"When we first started this, we gave grants to the Park Service," Mr. Briganti said in a recent interview at the foundation's Madison Avenue office. "Then the Park Service asked us to do all the contracting. I was hesitant at first because I didn't think we were qualified."

One of his biggest projects was the creation of a $22.5 million American Family Immigration History Center, where people can search computerized archives of Ellis Island for information on ancestors. The foundation restored more buildings on Ellis Island, expanded the oral history studio and children's visitor center, operates a "living theater" program and publishes curriculum guides for teachers. The projects have become a critical resource for immigration and genealogical research, and the island itself has been transformed into a major destination for tourists and students.

Meanwhile, as the foundation focused on its own programs, using the bulk of its budget for them, little work was done on a number of basic infrastructure problems at the statue, such as a lack of emergency exits, sprinkler systems and lighting, which the Park Service now cites as reasons for keeping the statue closed.

"These issues were well known for years, but everyone worked around them," said a senior Park Service official in New York, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "We screwed up and let everything sit there until it reached a boiling point after 9/11."

Ms. Shean-Hammond said that before Sept. 11, the Park Service had begun assessing safety improvements that were needed. They were not completed before the attacks.

Expenses and Salaries Grow

As the foundation's activities have grown, so have its expenses. Staff salaries doubled to $2.1 million from 1997 to 2002, and Mr. Briganti's compensation increased to $345,000 from $214,000.. One other executive on his staff makes more than $200,000, while three others make more than $100,000.

The Golden Gate National Parks Association, which gave more money to the Park Service than any other group in 2001, pays its executive director $188,300.

Mr. Briganti, 62 and a career fund-raiser, said he did not believe his pay was unusually high, and he cited a Chronicle of Philanthropy survey last year that he said placed his salary "in the middle" of chief executives at 235 nonprofit organizations.

His salary is actually higher than the $285,000 median established by the survey, which included the 50 wealthiest foundations, each with assets of $200 million to $24 billion. By comparison, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation reported net assets last year of $38 million.

Mr. Briganti said his pay was set by a compensation committee of the 20-member board, and that he was not involved in its deliberations. The full board, heavily made up of retired businessmen and former federal officials, some living in Texas, California and Virginia, meets twice a year.

Attempts to speak with William F. May, 87, the board's chairman, were unsuccessful. Peg Zitko, a spokeswoman for the foundation, said that "Mr. May doesn't really do media interviews," and that Mr. Briganti generally speaks for the foundation.

Mr. Briganti said the foundation spent an average of $1 million a year from interest earned on the endowment for Park Service projects. Private donations and income from programs support all of the foundation's other expenses, of $5 million to $10 million a year.

The foundation's combined endowment and general fund shrank to $37.7 million last year, from $51 million in 2001, largely because of poorly performing investments.

In 2001, the foundation retained new asset managers, who proceeded to shift $9.5 million out of relatively safe fixed-income investments into stock mutual funds. Within a year, those investments lost half their value, as did another $14.6 million in common stocks the foundation had bought earlier.

The aggressive investments would appear to be at odds with Mr. Briganti's protective stance toward the endowment.

By his own account, when the Park Service came looking for help last year to finance the reopening of the statue, he did not seriously consider dipping deeply into it.

Nothing restricts the foundation legally from doing so and, in fact, its bylaws would seem to explicitly authorize it. They state that in addition to the investment income from its donations, the foundation can spend the "principal thereof" to fulfill its mandate to "restore, preserve and protect the Statue of Liberty National Monument."

Asked why the foundation would not use its endowment to pay for the work required to reopen, given the extraordinary circumstances, Mr. Briganti expressed a strong philosophical aversion to using the principal under almost any circumstance.

"Technically the endowment is unrestricted, but we don't see it that way," he said. "If you're of a mind that the endowment is for the future, you wouldn't want to invade the principal."

John B. Turbidy, a member of the foundation's board since 1982, expressed a similar view.

"Those funds were not intended to support major undertakings like the reopening of the statue," said Mr. Turbidy, a financial executive. "This is the sort of thing that we would normally do a fund-raising campaign for."

A Request for Help

While seeking federal funds to renovate bathhouses and sewers at other national parks, the Park Service did not turn to Congress for the money to reopen the statue. It also did not reach out to the foundation for help until the middle of 2003.

Earlier, the Park Service did complete, on its own, some security improvements that allowed the public to return to the grounds of Ellis Island and Liberty Island by the end of 2001. Interior Secretary Norton said last week that the federal government had spent $19.6 million so far, mostly on security checkpoints for tourists boarding boats to the islands.

Meanwhile, the number of visitors to Liberty Island dropped to 1.8 million last year from 2.7 million in the first nine months of 2001. And no work was started on a project that foundation and Park Service officials say is most needed: construction of an additional stairway to allow visitors to descend from the statue's base to the ground in an emergency. The statue sits atop an old fort that has only one exit.

The Park Service official in New York said there was no progress on that part of the project during 2002, and Mr. Briganti said he, too, detected little sense of urgency during his periodic conversations with the Park Service. "They did not know whether they wanted to reopen it or not," he said.

Ms. Shean-Hammond said the Park Service had completed the work that it "felt was necessary to do the government's job, to allow people to experience the island, the park, if you will."

"In terms of priorities,'' she said, "we needed to see how the visits were going in the current climate of war and terror, to see if we could accommodate allowing people back into the base."

The Park Service eventually asked the foundation to provide $800,000 from its endowment toward a preliminary $2.3 million plan for fire safety upgrades and two emergency staircases, according to a memorandum of agreement drawn up last summer. But the foundation would agree only to provide the endowment money in two $400,000 installments, paid over two years, and finance the rest with fund-raising and concession fees from tourists.

The memorandum said the foundation would be "solely responsible" for design and construction work, and it required that "any contributions received by the National Park Service or any other organization" be directed to the foundation.

That last provision discouraged at least one donation. William D. Fugazy, a travel and limousine executive who was chairman of the New York State Statue of Liberty Commission in the 1980's, said he offered to arrange a contribution from a wealthy friend, "in excess of $1 million," to the Park Service to help reopen the statue. Mr. Fugazy's account was confirmed by a Park Service official.

But when he was told that any donations had to be made to the foundation, he said he and his friend decided not to make a contribution after a conversation with Mr. Briganti.

"He insisted that he wanted to take control of it, so we decided not to do it," Mr. Fugazy said.

Mr. Briganti declined to comment.

By September, the foundation had begun a sophisticated campaign, backed by corporate sponsors, to raise $5 million - double what the Park Service had estimated the cost of the work to be. Mr. Briganti said the new figure reflected updated cost projections, but he did not provide details.

With the country music singer Naomi Judd and new sponsors like The Daily News on board, the foundation exceeded its $5 million fund-raising goal by February. But it was then announced that the cost of the project had risen again, this time to $7 million, so the drive was extended.

At least part of the additional expense appears geared toward addressing the public's disappointment over not being allowed into the statue itself: the plan calls for a glass ceiling to allow visitors to look up into the statue.

Last month, questions from the news media and members of Congress began to arise, and a Park Service official suddenly announced at a Congressional hearing on March 25 that the statue's reopening was imminent.

Five days later, on Tuesday, officials gathered in New York to announce the news. The event was so hastily arranged that most of the invited guests, including Mayor Bloomberg, were given only 24 hours' notice, and one congressman said he was called by the Park Service at 10 p.m. the night before.

Taking his turn at the lectern during the announcement, Mr. Bloomberg praised the fund-raising drive as Mr. Briganti and Ms. Norton, standing behind him, smiled.

"I really am a believer that the private sector has to help in things the government doesn't have the money for," the mayor said.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

April 5th, 2004, 12:38 AM
April 5, 2004

U.S. Is Investigating Use of Donors' Gifts to Statue of Liberty


Gale A. Norton, the secretary of the interior, announced last week that the base of the Statue of Liberty would reopen this summer. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, left, and Stephen A. Briganti, president of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, also attended the news conference.

Federal investigators have begun an inquiry into the National Park Service's dealings with a nonprofit foundation it relied on to handle the reopening of the Statue of Liberty, according to a government official.

The inspector general of the Interior Department, which oversees the Park Service, is investigating how the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation spent donations it raised for projects at the monument and whether it followed federal guidelines on competitive bidding for certain contracts, the official said.

The inquiry, which the official said had begun within the last two weeks, will also explore why the foundation did not spend more of the money it already had for the reopening, instead of mounting a separate fund-raising campaign that has collected nearly $7 million from corporations, the public and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who contributed $100,000 of his own money.

"We want to know, why do you have to solicit $100,000 from Mike Bloomberg when you're sitting on $30 million?" said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Officials at the foundation and the Park Service did not respond to messages seeking comment yesterday.

The New York Times reported yesterday that delays by the Park Service and reluctance by the foundation to spend its money have prevented the statue's reopening, two and half years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attack forced the closing of major American landmarks. Other sites, including the Washington Monument and the public rooms of the White House, have reopened.

Officials at the foundation and the Park Service defended their roles in interviews for that article. The foundation's president, Stephen A. Briganti, insisted that the reopening of the statue was not slowed because of money, but because plans had not been put into place. He said it was the foundation's policy not to use its endowment to pay for major projects.

The Park Service said that it traditionally turns to the foundation for help with projects at the monument, and it defended its pace on the reopening as prudent.

Gale A. Norton, secretary of the interior, announced last week that public access to the statue's base, which houses a museum, is expected to resume this summer, after safety improvements are put in place by the foundation. But visitors will no longer be allowed to enter the statue and ascend the spiral stairs to its crown, despite the foundation's claims that donations would be used to "reopen Lady Liberty."

The inspector general's investigation is not the first to raise questions about the foundation's activities or the broader issue of the Park Service's reliance on private groups to help manage the country's 385 national parks.

In 1986, four years after the foundation was created to raise money to restore the statue and Ellis Island after years of neglect, Congress investigated accusations of conflicts of interest, overspending and mismanagement on the part of foundation officials. Claims of financial impropriety were not proved, although a report on the investigation said it had found evidence of some administrative problems.

After completing the restoration by the late 1980's and establishing a $20 million endowment, the foundation defied the expectations of some at the time that it would dissolve and transfer its money to the Park Service. Instead, it took on new projects, including setting up a genealogy research center on Ellis Island, and its endowment grew to more than $30 million, much larger than those of any of the nonprofit groups that support 347 other national parks.

In 2001, the groups together contributed $47 million to the parks and retained assets totaling about $200 million. But aside from basic information provided in federal tax returns, details of how the groups handle their finances are often unavailable to the public - and, sometimes, even to the Park Service.

Last year, the General Accounting Office, the investigative arm of Congress, concluded in a report that the Park Service "needs to better manage the increasing role" of its nonprofit partners. The accounting office found that the Park Service lacked even "basic management information" about how much money the groups were raising and how it was being spent.

What is more, the report said, the failure to track such data seemed deliberate.

"Park Service and nonprofit officials expressed concern that collecting and reporting detailed information on the amount of nonprofit financial contributions made to parks could lead to offsetting reductions in Congressional appropriations made available to the agency," the report said.

In the case of reopening the Statue of Liberty, some members of Congress have said there would most likely have been little resistance to providing money to complete the work. The needed improvements, mainly an additional staircase to use in emergencies and upgrades to fire safety systems, were initially expected to cost $2.3 million.

The Park Service, which Secretary Norton said has spent $19.6 million over the last two years on other safety improvements at the landmark, reopened access to the grounds of Liberty Island in December 2001. But it then delayed a decision on whether to reopen the statue's base for at least a year, eventually deciding in mid-2003 not to seek federal funding and, instead, turn the project over to the foundation.

The foundation, despite having more than $30 million in its endowment for work related to the statue and Ellis Island, began a $5 million fund-raising drive in September. The goal of the campaign has since climbed to $7 million, and construction of the safety upgrades had not begun as of last week.

One area of inquiry that the official said the inspector general's office is focusing on is how the foundation has spent the private donations it raised on the monument's behalf, and whether work performed on projects adhered to competitive bidding requirements.

In an interview last week, Mr. Briganti said formal competitive bids were sought for construction work, but generally not for hiring professionals, like architects or designers. The foundation's tax returns from 1997 to 2002 show that it has tended to stay with the same design consultants, lawyers and computer software firms over the years.

In 2001 and 2002, the foundation paid a law firm $279,000 for legal work, the tax returns show. It is unclear what the work entailed. However, in 2002, the same firm represented the foundation in a lawsuit against another nonprofit group, Friends of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Foundation, which had tried to raise donations for the monument.

The suit claimed trademark infringement by the other group, which, according to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, was using a name and logo similar to its own. The case was closed as of last year; details of how it was concluded were not available yesterday.

The General Accounting Office has been asked to start its own review of the campaign to reopen the statue. Yesterday, Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a New York Democrat, released a letter asking General Accounting Office investigators to determine whether the Park Service's reliance on the foundation broke any laws and why the statue remains closed.

"Thousands of generous private donors have sent tens of millions of dollars to the foundation," Mr. Weiner said, "and they have every right to ask, 'What happened to my money?' "

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

April 5th, 2004, 05:01 PM
Ups...Do I see a new episode of a big trial in NYC again?

April 5th, 2004, 07:21 PM
New York Newsday
April 5, 2004

Mayor: Statue should reopen completely

The Associated Press

A week after Mayor Michael Bloomberg attended a ceremony in which federal officials announced that the Statue of Liberty would remain closed to visitors, he said Monday the statue should be reopened, even if each tourist is escorted by a police officer.

The 118-year-old statue has been closed since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks for security reasons. "You can't let the terrorists win," the mayor said Monday.

Last week during a news conference at the base of the statue on Liberty Island, Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton said that an observation area in the statue's pedestal would be reopened but that the crown, reached via narrow and winding stairs, would remain closed because it cannot accommodate large numbers of people and does not meet local fire, building or safety codes.

Bloomberg, who contributed $100,000 of his own money to help finance upgrades that will allow the pedestal to be reopened this summer, spoke at the press conference but said nothing about the need to allow public access to the national monument.
On Monday, however, the mayor blasted the federal government's decision to close the statue and its plans not to reopen it.

"I didn't think they should close the Statue of Liberty, period," Bloomberg said. "This is a symbol of America. Come on, let's stand up and have some guts. If we have to have the security people there, let's do it, but let's get it open." He said there are ways to provide more security.

"If you have to have a police officer standing next to every single person going in there," he said, "that's a better way to do it."

The New York Times reported Monday that the inspector general of the U.S. Department of the Interior is seeking to determine why the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation launched a $7 million fund-raising campaign for the reopening when it already had a $30 million endowment.

The private foundation's president, Stephen Briganti, did not return a call seeking comment Monday. But he has said the group's policy is not to use its endowment to pay for major projects.

The Times said the statue has been closed so long even as other national monuments have reopened after Sept. 11 because the National Park Service, unsure it wanted to reopen the statue, did not ask Congress for money.

At the press conference last week, Norton said the statue has been closed because an examination of the interior after the World Trade Center attack revealed potential fire and security problems and insufficient exits.

On Monday, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Committee on Finance, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., sent letters to Norton, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and interior department Inspector General Earl Devaney, saying the committee intended to investigate the foundation's activities.

"I'm very concerned by reports that are surfacing that it was the foundation's fiscal mismanagement, rather than overarching security concerns, that have caused the delay," Baucus said. "I'm further concerned that the National Park Service did not step forward and ask Congress for help once it became apparent to them that the foundation was failing its mission. If we find that the reports of the foundation turn out to be true, serious action will need to be taken regarding private entities having virtual control over the public's property."

The National Park Service, which operates Liberty Island and the statue, did not immediately return a call seeking comment Monday.

When the pedestal reopens -- possibly in July -- screening procedures, much like those at airports, and a reservation system to reduce long lines will be in place.

Liberty Island was closed for 100 days after Sept. 11, 2001.

Airport-type metal detectors were installed to screen visitors boarding the ferry to the island from lower Manhattan, and the island was then reopened in December 2001.

Since the Sept. 11 attack, the number of visitors to Liberty Island has dropped by 40 percent. Still, more than 4 million people have visited since then.

Copyright 2004 Newsday, Inc.

April 5th, 2004, 11:11 PM
April 6, 2004

Senate Committee Seeks Statue of Liberty Foundation's Records


A Senate committee that oversees charities' compliance with the nation's tax laws requested records yesterday of contracts, staff salaries and other financial information from the nonprofit foundation managing the reopening of the Statue of Liberty.

The Finance Committee, prompted by reports that the statue's opening had been stalled because of governmental delays and fund-raising by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, wants the foundation to justify staff salaries that exceed $100,000 and explain any contracts that were awarded without competitive bidding.

In addition, the committee asked the Interior Department, which oversees the National Park Service, the caretaker of the statue, to turn over all documents pertaining to the service's dealings with the foundation for the last five years. The Park Service agreed last year to give the foundation sole responsibility for the reopening project.

"The agency might have given too much control of a prized national asset to a private foundation," Senator Charles E. Grassley, the Iowa Republican who heads the committee, said in a statement.

"We need to figure out the relationship between the federal agency and the private foundation so this kind of standstill doesn't happen again," he said. "While the agency and foundation waste time, millions of Americans and aspiring Americans are denied decent access to our greatest beacon of freedom."

The Finance Committee's request for information signaled the second inquiry known to be under way into the foundation and its relationship with the Park Service. The inspector general's office in the Interior Department is also conducting an investigation.

Peg Zitko, a spokeswoman for the foundation, said her group kept the Park Service informed of its activities. The foundation files quarterly financial reports with the agency, and a representative from the Interior Department "almost certainly" takes part in meetings of the foundation's 20-member board, which convenes about twice a year, she said.

She said that the foundation was proud of its work over the years on behalf of the monument, and that she was confident about the outcome of any inquiries. "The foundation is very happy to cooperate," she said. "There are a lot of misperceptions out there about this project and foundation's role in it."

A spokeswoman for the Park Service did not respond to messages seeking comment.

Meanwhile, there were fresh expressions of concern yesterday about the handling of the reopening project from, among others, a member of the foundation's board and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

USA Today reported yesterday that its editor, Karen Jurgensen, resigned from the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation's board after reading an article in The New York Times on Sunday about delays in the reopening of the statue.

Ms. Jurgensen, who joined the board last summer, said she had been "unaware of the decisions behind the fund-raising campaign that was under way when she agreed to join the board," USA Today reported. She told the newspaper she resigned to avoid any conflicts because USA Today would be reporting on the issue.

Mr. Bloomberg, who responded to the foundation's fund-raising appeal last year with a personal donation of $100,000, told reporters yesterday that he believed the statue should have been opened long ago. He attributed the delay to the Park Service's wavering on whether it wanted to allow public access to the statue, after it reopened the grounds of Liberty Island in December 2001.

"I didn't think they should close the Statue of Liberty, period," the mayor said. "This is a symbol of America. Come on, let's stand up and have some guts! If we have to add some security people there, let's do it, but let's get it open."

An aide to the mayor said his comments reflected frustration over the controversy that has erupted, less than a week after Mr. Bloomberg was asked by Interior Department officials to take part in an announcement last Tuesday that the statue's base would reopen this summer. The department should have known that trouble was brewing, the aide said, given that its inspector general was already investigating the project and a city newspaper, amNew York, had reported on the foundation's finances.

The foundation has more than $30 million in an endowment for the maintenance and preservation of the statue and Ellis Island, but decided not to use it to pay for the improvements needed to reopen the statue's base. The work primarily involves the addition of an emergency exit and improvements to fire safety systems, and was initially expected to cost $2.3 million.

To pay for the work, the foundation launched a $5 million fund-raising campaign, whose goal has since climbed to $7 million. Construction work, expected to take about four months to complete, had not started as of last week.

The foundation's president, Stephen A. Briganti, has said that he has been awaiting approval from the Interior Department to begin work, which was only granted within the last week or so. He has defended the decision to not finance the project with endowment money, saying it should be preserved as a source of investment income to support smaller-scale projects.

A member of the Senate Finance Committee staff, speaking on condition of anonymity, said, "We've been looking for some time at this issue of accountability among the charities that the Park Service works with, and what we're seeing with the Statue of Liberty raises the same question of, 'Who's minding the store?' "

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

April 6th, 2004, 10:05 AM
New York Daily News
April 6, 2004

Open Lady Liberty, all of Lady Liberty

Readers of the Daily News dug deep into their pockets and contributed $60,000 toward reopening the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of U.S. resilience following the Sept. 11 terror attacks. What they and thousands of other donors are getting instead is the right to visit the Stump of Liberty, and that's not good enough.

The federal government is letting Americans down by decreeing that visitors will be limited to touring the statue's base when the monument opens its doors again in a few months. Making the inspirational climb to the crown, as millions from around the world did pre-9/11, will be forbidden.

So saith Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, whose department has shamefully allowed the country's most enduring symbol to remain shuttered for 2-1/2 years and relied far too heavily on charity to get even part of it opened. Not that New Yorkers mind doing their bit. That's why they contributed so generously to the special fund-raising drive by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. Now, they deserve their money's worth.

There are, we are supposed to believe, safety concerns. Previously, terror attacks were cited. That cowardice not playing well, Norton now says the statue must stay closed because it can't handle crowds and does not meet local, fire, building or safety codes.

Gee. Large crowds happily tramped up and down the two winding staircases for more than 100 years without panicking at the thought of fire, pestilence or plague. As for alleged code violations, why has this suddenly become a problem? Perhaps Norton would like to erect fire escapes around Miss Liberty? How about around the Washington Monument. At 555 feet, it is considerably taller than the statue, and it is open to the public.

In any case, the guy who oversees all the local codes - Mayor Bloomberg - is as unhappy as the rest of the populace with the feds' handing victory to terrorists. Which, no matter what they babble about codes and such, is exactly what they are doing. Surrendering. In the name of all of us. No matter how distasteful we find that.

The statue, said Bloomberg yesterday, "is a symbol of America. Come on, let's stand up and have some guts." Meaning let it be opened from ground to crown - as it always has been.

Copyright 2004 Daily News, L.P.

April 7th, 2004, 12:18 AM
April 7, 2004

Lady Liberty Held Hostage

The Statue of Liberty has always had a special place in American hearts, and when private donors were asked to pitch in to help make sure it was reopened after 9/11, the money poured in. While the donors should be celebrated for their generosity, this sort of basic caretaking at a national monument should have been done by the government. The statue's reopening has turned into an embarrassment for the Interior Department, and the most troubling aspect is what it says about the chronic underfinancing of the national park system.

Like other vulnerable landmarks, the statue was shut down after the terrorist attacks. The National Park Service then spent $19 million on security-related projects, which allowed the public to return to Ellis Island and Liberty Island by the end of 2001. But rather than do the work needed to reopen the statue itself, it turned the task of making the necessary safety improvements over to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. The base will be reopened in August once the fixes are made.

The foundation, created to raise money for the statue's centennial in 1986, has a $30 million endowment. Critics wonder why it didn't tap that money to make the improvements instead of exploiting the project to begin a fund-raising campaign. But the bigger question is why the government dallied and why it turned to the foundation for a job that was part of its basic responsibilities.

The answers are not reassuring. Congress and the executive branch have been nickle-and-diming the parks for years, creating a $5 billion maintenance backlog that President Bush, despite stirring campaign promises, has hardly dented. The operating budget is also starved. The net result has been an emerging codependence between the Park Service and the private foundations formed to help the parks, with the foundations doing more and more essential work as public financing slips behind.

These foundations were designed to support extra services, not the critical missions that lie at the heart of the Park Service's responsibility. And if one were drawing up a list of such critical missions, one would surely include the reopening of the Statute of Liberty among them.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

April 10th, 2004, 12:41 AM
April 8, 2004

Wal-Mart Suspends Fundraising for Statue of Liberty

Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the nation's largest retailer, said it would suspend fundraising activities for restoring public access to the Statue of Liberty until investigations of the private foundation supporting the effort are completed, a company spokeswoman said.

"We will not be doing any fundraising activities at our stores or clubs, or making any corporate match until the investigations that are taking place regarding the Statue of Liberty foundation is resolved,'' Wal-Mart spokeswoman Sarah Clark said in a telephone interview. The company had pledged to contribute as much as $1.5 million in matching funds.

Clark said Wal-Mart decided to reverse its policy on the fundraising campaign. She had said yesterday that the company wanted to continue backing the drive by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, whose management of efforts to partly reopen the monument is under investigation by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, the U.S. Department of Interior's inspector general and New York State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer.

Those investigations followed reports in the New York Times and another newspaper, amNew York, that the foundation set out to raise $7 million for the statue without tapping its endowment -- worth more than four times that much -- and that it paid its president, Stephen Briganti, 62, a salary of $345,000 a year. The fundraising drive's corporate backers have included Wal-Mart, American Express Co. and Procter & Gamble Co.

"We wanted to wait until the investigations were completed to see what was discovered at that point,'' said Clark, the Wal- Mart spokeswoman.

The Interior Department last week announced plans to allow the public by July to enter the statue's base after safety and security improvements are completed. The public, formerly used to be allowed to climb stairs inside the statue as well as visit the base, has been barred from the monument in the 2 1/2 years since the Sept. 11 attacks.

Copyright 2004 Bloomberg L.P.

April 10th, 2004, 09:46 PM
April 11, 2004

The Benefactors of Miss Liberty (3 Letters)

To the Editor:

In "Lady Liberty Held Hostage" (editorial, April 7), you say the government should bear the cost and responsibility for reopening the Statue of Liberty.

On the contrary: befitting of its name, the statue was a private gift paid for by French citizens of their own accord. Likewise, the pedestal was bought with private funds, given voluntarily by patriotic Americans.

Now, even though charitable donations have once again been raised for her benefit, you call for Lady Liberty to be financed by taxpayers.

The irony is sublime!

Cambridge, Mass., April 7, 2004

To the Editor:

Regarding the overzealous fund-raising and excessive salaries paid by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and the delays in reopening the statue to the public (news article, April 6):

It seems that the only thing less efficient than government bureaucracy is the performance of government functions by a private foundation with little public accountability or oversight, and no institutional interest beyond paying its principals large salaries and extending its mandate to do so for as long as humanly possible.

New York, April 7, 2004

To the Editor:

In "Extra Fund-Raising Stalled Statue of Liberty Reopening" (front page, April 4), you link the timing of the Statue of Liberty's reopening to the fund-raising by the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.

In fact, only the National Park Service controls when and how the statue is opened, not the foundation, which has done everything it has been asked to do by the federal government in connection with restoring the statue while accounting for every dollar raised and spent.

Since 1982, we have restored the statue and produced a celebration for her 100th anniversary; revitalized Ellis Island and established its renowned immigration museum and history center; and created an important genealogical research Web site with more than six billion hits to date. And we created an endowment that generates income for important maintenance at the monument.

All of these successes have been achieved with minimal staff and little fanfare while focusing our attention on tangible results for the public good.

New York, April 8, 2004
The writer is chairman of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

April 15th, 2004, 01:40 AM
April 15, 2004


Rescuing the Lady, by Boat


THE answer to the Statue of Liberty's money problems is staring New York right in its face. In bright orange.

The Lady needs money for improvements and better security, as all the world must know by now, and has turned to the public for contributions.

This generated a recent fuss, because the National Park Service didn't pay for the improvements, instead turning to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. And because the foundation tapped contributors instead of its $30 million endowment.

The Park Service has shown no inclination to change its position. And while spending the endowment would seem an easy solution, most foundations, charities and cultural organizations decline to dip into their endowments, citing fiduciary responsibility.

They treat endowments as their core asset, investing them and spending only the income they generate, usually for operating expenses. For instance, Lincoln Center just announced a $325 million redevelopment plan. Lincoln Center Inc., which will be responsible for just more than half of that, has an endowment of $140 million. "We have no intention of using endowment money for the project," Lincoln Center's president, Reynold Levy, said yesterday. "We are underendowed as an arts organization. Arts institutions run at a deficit." And most of the $140 million has spending restrictions on it.

And a few months ago, the Metropolitan Museum of Art announced it wanted to expand its fund-raising campaign by $250 million for construction projects, $75 million of it to expand the museum's $1.7 billion endowment, to finance operation of the new spaces. The $1.7 billion will remain intact.

Institutions should be more flexible, critics say. "The typical practice in philanthropy is to protect your endowment, but we say you needn't be so conservative in your spending," said Rick Cohen, executive director of the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy. He advises some institutions to tap their endowments. But that is not standard practice, and the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation is no exception.

"Our board has considered the endowment inviolate, from a fiduciary responsibility and from the matter of the spirit in which it was raised," said the foundation's president, Stephen A. Briganti. Starting in 1982, he said, the foundation raised the endowment money, pledging to preserve at least $20 million. It has spent about $1 million of the endowment a year on maintenance projects and visitor amenities, but to maintain the principal, it has deliberately relied on fund-raising for larger projects.

Today, the foundation is about $1.1 million short of the $7 million it says it needs for the statue, and the statue will always need resources. Why not turn to a reliable source of income? The Staten Island Ferry.

THE ferry is a potential windfall for the Lady. Last week, during spring break, the bright orange boats were so packed with tourists that the regulars seemed ready to swim. "It's free?" said a stunned-looking visitor from Chevy Chase, Md., standing in the Whitehall Terminal last Thursday with her husband and two young daughters.

Her family had planned to take the Circle Line ferry ($10 an adult ticket, $4 for children) to Liberty Island. It is open to visitors, and by midsummer, people should be able to climb to the top of the statue's pedestal, though not to its crown. But the wait to board a Liberty Island boat was nearly two hours last week, compared with a half-hour at most for the ferry to Staten Island. And as ever, it passes the statue on each leg of its 25-minute trips, close enough to see her brooding face.

"It's still the best ride in the City of New York," said Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall, revealing that her first date with her future husband (Senator Charles E. Schumer) was a round-trip ferry ride at dusk.

They've been married 23 years.

The ferry ride - 5 cents in 1897 - rose to 10 cents in 1972 and 25 cents in 1975. It doubled in 1990, but when he was running for re-election in 1997, Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani eliminated the 50-cent fare. And another mayoral election is coming up.

O.K., why not at least charge the tourists - as many as 5 million of the 19 million annual ferry riders?

Ms. Weinshall laughed. How to distinguish tourist from nontourist? "If this columnist can figure out how we can do it, we'd love to talk to her about it."

She's working on it. Must be possible in the era of the MetroCard - and easier, for sure, than debating fiduciary policy.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

April 24th, 2004, 01:02 AM
Yahoo! Finance
April 23, 2004

Blue Ribbon Committee to Conduct Independent Review of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.

William F. May, chairman of the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation Inc., announced today that Judge Griffin B. Bell, former Attorney General of the United States, has agreed to Chair a special, blue-ribbon committee that will conduct a full and independent review of all issues raised by recent press coverage of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc.

Joining Judge Bell will be Robert Fiske, former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York; Robert McGuire, former New York City Police Commissioner; G. G. Michelson, Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees of Columbia University and Russell Reynolds founder of the national executive search firm that bears his name.

"The Foundation's Board has authorized the Independent Review Committee to look into all issues that Committee deems appropriate," said Mr. May. "We have asked for a thorough, full and independent review, and a written report that addresses all of the issues raised in recent press accounts."

The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in 1982 to raise funds for and oversee the historic restorations of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, working in partnership with the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. In addition to restoring the monuments, the Foundation created a museum in the Statue's base and the world-class Ellis Island Immigration Museum, The American Immigrant Wall of Honor® and the American Family Immigration History Center(TM) and saved and restored a total of five buildings on Ellis Island. The Foundation promised to its donors in the 1980s and established in 1993 an endowment under the auspices of its board of directors that would annually help maintain the work the Foundation had done on the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and enhance the visitor experience for years to come. Since the endowment's inception, proceeds from its principal have funded over 200 projects at the islands for a total of $12.3 million. Currently the Foundation is spearheading a campaign to fund critical safety improvements at the Statue of Liberty so that she may again reopen her doors to the public, closed since September 11, 2001.

Copyright 2004 Yahoo! Inc.

June 14th, 2004, 01:07 PM
NY1 News
June 14, 2004

Disaster Drill To Be Held On Ellis Island

To prepare for the reopening of the Statue of Liberty next month, federal authorities are holding a disaster drill on Ellis Island Monday.

The exercise is similar to other exercises held in the city, like one at Shea Stadium.

The National Park Service, the Department of Homeland Security and the city’s Office of Emergency Management will train some 50 workers to search for and rescue victims. They will also learn how to put out fires and give first aid under disaster conditions.

The Statue of Liberty, which has been closed to visitors since the September 11, 2001, attacks, is set to reopen on the Fourth of July, following safety and security upgrades. The island itself reopened three months after the terrorist attacks, but tourists have not been allowed inside the statue. When it reopens, visitors will only be able to tour the museum and take the elevator into the pedestal, and the stairs to Lady Liberty's crown will remain off-limits.

Copyright © 2004 NY1 News

June 30th, 2004, 07:19 PM
June 30, 2004

Statue of Liberty to reopen in August

NEW YORK (CNN) -- The Statue of Liberty, which has been closed to the public since the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, is set to partially reopen on August 3, Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced Wednesday.

The reopening will allow visitors to tour the base of the statue, which houses a museum, but access to the statue itself will remain off limits.

Prior to the attacks, visitors could climb to the monument's crown.

The Interior Department said visitors will be allowed to gaze up into the statue's internal structure through a glass ceiling if accompanied by a park ranger.

The partial reopening was first revealed in March by park officials who testified at a hearing on Capitol Hill.

The officials declined to give specifics, saying they did not want to usurp Norton's authority.

But under questioning from lawmakers, National Park Service Deputy Director Don Murphy said a $7 million contribution from the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation had helped security, health and safety enhancements at the site.

The site's grounds were closed after the attacks but have since reopened.

© 2004 Cable News Network LP, LLLP.

July 1st, 2004, 08:21 AM
July 1, 2004

Statue of Liberty Pedestal to Reopen Aug. 3


Visitors will be able to again enter the Statue of Liberty on Aug. 3, after being closed for nearly three years of safety and security improvements, the National Parks Service said yesterday.

Although visitors will not be able to climb to the crown on the statue's head, they will have access to the observation deck at the top of the statue's pedestal, 154 feet above the ground. A glass ceiling at the top of the pedestal will allow visitors to see inside the statue, the service said in a statement.

The staircase to the crown will remain closed, because it doesn't meet current safety and security standards.

To eliminate long lines, the service said it will begin to take reservations for tours on July 22. The telephone number will soon be posted on its Web site, www.nps.gov/stli , the service said. Reservations by Internet will be available by September.

Liberty Island was closed to visitors after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks; although the island reopened in December 2001, the public has not been allowed into the statue while security upgrades were undertaken.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

July 30th, 2004, 10:56 PM
July 31, 2004

Senate Panel Faults Handling of Funds at Statue of Liberty


The Statue of Liberty is scheduled to partially reopen on Tuesday.

A nonprofit charity that solicits donations for the Statue of Liberty pays its executives excessively high salaries, has done a poor job overseeing the millions of dollars it collects and has tried to undermine the efforts of other organizations to raise money for the preservation and operation of the national monument, according to Congressional investigators.

The Senate Finance Committee began examining the work of the charity, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, in April after news reports, including articles in The New York Times, raised questions about the organization's role in efforts to partially reopen the statue after it was closed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The articles reported that the foundation had chosen not to finance the reopening with its $30 million endowment, but rather mount a national fund-raising effort.

Committee officials said yesterday that some of their initial findings were troubling, and they sent a letter yesterday to the foundation demanding answers to a number of questions about its spending, the work of its board of directors and the accuracy of some statements made to donors during the fund-raising campaign. The committee said its work would continue.

In a statement yesterday, the foundation did not address the specific questions raised in the Senate committee's letter, but said it would continue cooperating with the investigation. It noted that it had already turned over reams of records, and was confident that the committee would conclude that "the foundation has conducted itself in an entirely appropriate manner and in accordance with the highest standards."

The Finance Committee's actions came as the foundation released its own commissioned report on its operations. The report, which the foundation paid for, concluded that its fund-raising had not unduly delayed the reopening, now set for Aug. 3. The report found that the charity had done good work over the years, had exercised admirable caution in protecting its endowment and had not usurped control of the monument, which is managed by the National Park Service.

The report, prepared by a panel headed by Griffin B. Bell, the former United States attorney general, did find common ground with the Senate committee's inquiry on the issue of the pay packages for the foundation's top executives: both concluded that the packages could not be justified.

Mr. Bell found that the foundation's president, Stephen A. Briganti, had years ago struck an agreement with the board's chairman that allowed him to earn hundreds of thousand of dollars in additional income by working one day a week as an independent consultant to other nonprofits. The report said that this arrangement, which some board members were unaware of, boosted the effective pay rate for Mr. Briganti in excess of his regular salary, which exceeded $300,000 last year.

Mr. Bell's panel also concluded that the foundation, created in 1982 to raise money for the restoration of the Statue of Liberty after years of neglect, needed to reassess its mission, role and future, and take steps to improve its overall management structure.

In addition to concerns about salaries, the congressional investigators raised concerns about certain expenses the foundation had incurred, such as $45,000 a year for a dog to chase geese away on the islands, and a recent licensing agreement they said the foundation entered into allowing a company to market whiskey in bottles shaped like the Statue of Liberty.

The Senate committee said that the findings make clear that the foundation is poorly run.

"The Statue of Liberty Foundation board was too often AWOL or uninformed in managing the foundation and ensuring that charitable donations were being used appropriately," Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, who is chairman of the Finance Committee, said in a statement. "I'm concerned that the foundation's board may not have been in compliance with tax laws, or even its own bylaws, when it approved high salaries for foundation executives."

In their respective inquiries, the Finance Committee, which oversees the compliance of charities with the nation's tax laws, and the foundation's panel obtained thousands of pages of documents from the foundation and interviewed officials at the foundation, the National Park Service and Department of Interior.

The Bell report concluded, based on its review, that The Times had erred in a front-page article last April that asserted that the foundation's decision to finance the reopening of the statue through fund-raising had delayed the project.

The report said that construction work on the reopening had not begun until April of this year because Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton had not signed off on the project until then. Ms. Norton has said that the fund-raising drive did not delay the timing of her approval.

"The committee found no evidence that the foundation was responsible for any delay in the reopening," the report said.

But a park service official involved in the reopening, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the decision by the foundation to raise money for the reopening inevitably meant the process would take more time. And that decision, the official said, was made well before the final plan reached Ms. Norton's desk for approval.

Indeed, in an interview yesterday, Mr. Bell agreed that the decision to raise money could have had an effect on the pace of the park service's deliberations on plans for the safety and security improvements necessary for the reopening, which went on for months.

"Yes, that does make sense," Mr. Bell said. "Both stories might be correct. I don't doubt that that had something to do with it."

Still, Mr. Bell yesterday stood by the report's conclusion that the foundation's fund-raising was not the cause of any delay.

But Mr. Grassley said the committee had found material in the foundation's records that appeared to contradict the organization's public claim that the fund-raising did not affect the pace of the reopening effort.

He said one foundation document, a set of talking points for the fund-raising campaign, says, in response to the question of when the monument will reopen: "The sooner we can raise the money through this campaign, the sooner the work can be completed."

"The foundation appears to have presented a fund-raising project as necessary to help reopen the statue," Mr. Grassley said yesterday. "Yet at the same time the foundation suggests that the fund-raising did not affect the opening of the statue. The foundation needs to better explain this apparent discrepancy. Donors have a right to answers."

The foundation's decision to raise more funds, rather than use the millions it already had, has been a source of debate, and the Bell report concluded that the foundation was prudent to not dip into its endowment to finance the project. It noted that although the group's bylaws did not restrict it from using the endowment, "the foundation has made several statements binding itself to a policy of preserving the principal.''

The reluctance to not rely on the endowment, given the extraordinary circumstances of the statue being closed, appeared to surprise some people. A senior park service official told Mr. Bell's panel that "he assumed the foundation would use its endowment for the work, and not engage in additional fundraising,'' the report said.

Former Interior Secretary Donald P. Hodel, who said he was not contacted by Mr. Bell's panel despite having worked with the foundation for years, was critical of the foundation's decision. He said he was not surprised that the panel did not seek him out, given "that my antipathy toward the foundation as it has been operated has been pretty well known.''

"It appears they had raised, and were sitting on, a significant amount of money that should have been spent on the park,'' said Mr. Hodel.

The Bell report also undertook the question of the losses suffered by the foundation's endowment through its investments. It found that while the foundation's investment managers had turned in below-average returns in recent years, the decline in its endowment was not as dramatic as the foundation's tax returns and financial statements make it appear, because they do not reflect that some money was shifted into safer investments.

The report said this omission caused The Times to reach "the false impression'' that the foundation's endowment losses were larger than they actually were.

The Senate committee, in its investigation, explored the question of whether the foundation had worked to prevent other groups from raising money for the parks service and its monument.

It found, in fact, that when park service had considered allowing another group to also raise money for the statue, Mr. Briganti, the foundation's president, objected to the possible partnerships.

Mr. Briganti, the committee found, wrote a memo to board members last September in which he complained that the foundation was "stabbed in the back'' by the park service's dealings with the other group. As a result, he wrote, he had "halted all work'' on an immigration history project the foundation was planning "until we can have some fund-raising assurances.''

That memo did not surprise Norman Liss, the vice president of the Ellis Island Restoration Commission, a nonprofit organization that consults on issues related to the monument.

Mr. Liss, who said he spoke to Senate Finance Committee investigators, but was not contacted by Mr. Bell's panel, has long complained that the foundation wielded too much control over fund-raising at the park.

"There has been a continual effort by the foundation to prevent anybody from raising money for the statue and Ellis Island but them,'' he said.

In its letter to the foundation, the Senate committee said it found Mr. Briganti's actions "very troubling.''

"It appears that the foundation, which enjoys a special relationship with the park service, is happy to put its own priorities and that of its staff first, before providing benefits to visitors of Ellis Island,'' the committee wrote.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

August 3rd, 2004, 04:21 AM
August 3, 2004

Visitors Can Go Underfoot, but Not to Liberty's Crown


Visitors will be greeted by a security tent when the Statue of Liberty National Monument reopens. It was closed after Sept. 11, 2001.

Although visitors won't be able to climb to the top of the reopened Statue of Liberty, a new shatterproof glass ceiling allows a look up inside.

On the way to the Statue of Liberty National Monument yesterday, visitors could pick up glossy brochures featuring a cutaway diagram of the statue's interior, complete with an image of tiny tourists ascending the spiral stairs to the crown.

But when the base of the statue reopens to the public today for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001, people will have to be content with only their memories, or imaginings, of making the long, claustrophobic climb to the top. Like the torch, which was closed in 1916 after being damaged by a saboteur's bomb, the crown is now off limits.

The National Park Service, which invited members of the press to tour the monument before its reopening, said it concluded after the terrorist attacks that it would be unsafe to allow the public back inside the statue itself. The agency cited the difficulties of evacuating people during an emergency.

Officials were at pains to play down the significance of no longer being able to go inside the statue. Marie Rust, the park service's northeast regional director, went so far as to say that climbing to the crown was "a terrible experience."

"The stairs are narrow, there were crowds - we had 2,000 people going up at one time - it's hot," Ms. Rust said. "It's not safe, it's not secure, and I'll just say this: It's not fun."

Larry Parkinson, an assistant secretary of the Department of Interior, suggested that some people's nostalgic remembrances of a climb to the crown were actually figments of childhood imaginations.

"Most of us think we went to the crown; a lot of us didn't," he said. "I thought I went to the crown, and I hadn't."

As part of the $6.7 million project to upgrade fire safety systems and improve security, the park service chose to limit public access to only the museum and guided tours of the observation balcony below Liberty's feet, about 10 stories above the ground. Glass ceiling panels have been installed in several places at the uppermost level in the statue's base, where one can peer up into the copper-clad interior.

The view is limited to a jumble of metal struts and latticework encircling the narrow, central staircase, which twists up into the darkness. Despite newly installed lighting part of the way up, it is difficult to make out the form of the statue itself.

The decision to close off access to the crown did not sit well with some members of Congress. Reporters returning to Manhattan from Liberty Island yesterday were greeted at the ferry landing by Senator Charles E. Schumer and Representative Anthony D. Weiner, both New York Democrats, who called a news conference to demand that the park service restore full access to the statue.

Calling the trek to the crown "one of the great experiences of being in New York and being in America," Mr. Schumer discounted the concerns about evacuations, and proposed that the park service screen visitors to the statue by using the same terrorist watch lists available to airports.

"There are problems with evacuation everywhere," he said. "In tall buildings, in other places as well, and that doesn't stop us from doing the best we can. It's a lack of focus, a lack of imagination and a lack even of some courage."

Mr. Weiner called the decision to close off the crown "a partial victory for the terrorists."

As part of the security enhancements, visitors must pass through metal detectors before leaving on the ferry bound for Liberty Island, and must submit to a second set of metal and explosive detectors if they want to go inside the monument's base. In addition, touring the monument now requires a reservation.

Outside the statue, two large, temporary staircases made of wood have been added to allow people to descend from the base of the statue, which rests atop an old star-shaped fort, down to ground level in an emergency.

The project to reopen of the statue's base became embroiled in controversy earlier this year amid news reports that the park service chose not to seek federal financing, and turned instead to its nonprofit partner, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation. The foundation, which has an unrestricted endowment of $30 million, started a $7 million fund-raising campaign "to reopen Lady Liberty."

The foundation and park service have insisted the campaign did not delay the reopening effort. The news reports triggered an investigation by the Senate Finance Committee in Washington, which last week faulted the foundation for poor management, excessive salaries for its top executives and questionable expenses.

Yesterday, Mr. Schumer said he believed the foundation's president, Stephen A. Briganti, should resign. The foundation did not respond to that suggestion, but issued a statement saying it "is proud of its efforts to make the reopening a reality."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

August 3rd, 2004, 07:34 PM
August 3, 2004

Lady Liberty's base reopens

Associated Press

Slide Show: Statue of Liberty (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/manhattan/nyc-liberty-gallery,0,6910562.photogallery?coll=nyc-swapbox1)

Poll: Will you climb the Statue? (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/manhattan/nyc-liberty0804,0,1130459.story?coll=nyc-manheadlines-manhattan)

The Statue of Liberty, hailed in song and speech as a national symbol of freedom and opportunity, returned Tuesday to its status as a haven for huddled masses of tourists as visitors were allowed back inside the landmark for the first time since Sept. 11, 2001.

Tickets for the first trips inside Lady Liberty in almost three years sold out quickly, with some visitors paying scalpers for a spot. Among the early arrivals were two lieutenants from the Italian army, Dario Coleanni and Vincenzo Pepe, who wound up scalping tickets for $20.

"It's my first time in the U.S.," said Coleanni, 26, who's stationed in Rome. "I'm interested in seeing what's important in America: the Statue of Liberty."

While Coleanni and scores of other visitors waited to get inside on a hot August day, the statue was reopened amid much ado on Liberty Island. Interior Secretary Gail Norton headed the list of guests attending the ceremony, which began with a military choir performing.

A military color guard then carried the American flag to the podium. Musical performances included a rendition of George M. Cohan's "It's a Grand Old Flag" before the crowd rose for the national anthem.

"Whether this is your first visit or one of many, I know this will be a memorable one," site superintendent Cynthia Garrett told the visitors. Pepe said she was right.

"Seeing it is the most important thing to do here," the Italian soldier said.

The 152-foot robed female figure with spiky crown and upraised torch became the most familiar symbol of America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, welcoming millions of immigrants arriving at nearby Ellis Island and later marking the departure and return of troops from two world wars in Europe.

It won't be business as before -- visitors can go only as high as the statue's feet, from where they can gaze upward, through a glass partition, at the steel girders that brace the hollow interior of the New York harbor landmark.

They can also tour a museum inside the pedestal that tells the story of the statue, from its dedication in 1886 as a gift from France to its rededication after a major overhaul a century later. An alternative tour allows visitors to stroll the promenade atop the star-shaped former fort on which the statue and its pedestal rise some 30 stories above the harbor.

Jean Campbell, a missionary nurse from Salem, N.H., failed in an attempt to get one of the sold-out tickets. She was contented Tuesday to walk around Liberty Island.

"I've been looking for my family history, and this was here when they sailed in to New York," she said.

The reopening of the pedestal to the public went ahead despite new warnings over the weekend of possible terrorist attacks on financial centers in Manhattan, Newark, N.J., and Washington, D.C.

Tightened security measures at the 117-year-old national monument include a new anti-bomb detection device that blows a blast of air into clothing and then checks for particles of explosive residue. Bomb-sniffing dogs also were present during the preview.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Gov. George Pataki joined the crowd for the ceremonial event.

"This beacon of hope and liberty is once again open to the public, sending a reassuring message to the world that freedom is alive in New York and shining brighter than ever before," Pataki said.

The Statue of Liberty was sealed off to visitors as a post-Sept. 11 security precaution. The 12-acre Liberty Island reopened to the public two months later, but the statue itself has remained closed.

Larry Parkinson, deputy assistant Interior secretary for law enforcement and security, said it was unlikely that visitors would have access to the statue's interior spiral staircases in the foreseeable future.

Kevin Mason, president of the Circle Line, whose ferries serve the Statue of Liberty and nearby Ellis Island, the historic immigration reception center, from lower Manhattan's Battery Park and Liberty State Park in New Jersey, said he hoped the reopening would help bring back tourists whose numbers fell 45 percent after the 2001 terrorist attacks -- from 4.5 million a year in 2000 to 2.6 million in 2002.

The tours cost $10 a head for adults and $4 for children.

The statue, made of hammered copper the thickness of two pennies, was closed in 1937 for a year of renovations and underwent another major refurbishing for its centennial in 1986.

On Sept. 11, 2001, the second of two terrorist-hijacked jetliners skimmed low over the statue just seconds before it crashed into the World Trade Center's south tower 1 1/2 miles away.

On the Net: Statue of Liberty: http://www.nps.gov/stli/

Copyright © 2004, Newsday, Inc.

August 4th, 2004, 04:15 AM
August 4, 2004

Returning to Lady Liberty, and, Yes, Carrying a Torch


Luz Pagan paid her first visit to the Statue of Liberty on Tuesday, the first time that the public had been allowed inside the statue since Sept. 11, 2001. Like Ms. Pagan, a Bronx resident for 35 years, many visitors wore festive attire.

Luz Pagan is 63, of Puerto Rican extraction and short in stature. She is a social worker in the Bronx, her given name means light, and she spends her off days extending what she calls a message "of peace-love power."

"In all parades, Irish, Dominican, Puerto Rican, Italian," she said, "all parades in the city, I'll be there to represent the Statue of Liberty."

By represent, Ms. Pagan means dress as. She arrived outside Castle Clinton in Lower Manhattan yesterday - the first day visitors were allowed inside the real Statue of Liberty since the terrorist attacks of 2001 - wearing a flowing, fibrous dark green gown and crown, and carrying a torch, flag and book.

A friend made the costume for Ms. Pagan shortly after the terror attacks. She has worn the outfit to parades, but this was her first visit to Liberty Island.

"I was waiting for this time that they opened again," she said. "I feel proud."

She bounded past the professionally costumed and the painted people posing for photographs with tourists. The green Statues of Liberty were doing appreciably better than the bronze vaqueros. The statues buzzed noisemakers at the crowds, because painting yourself green, carrying a torch and wearing a robe and crown can get you overlooked in Manhattan, no matter the terror alert level, unless you have a gimmick.

Ms. Pagan clung to the rail on the top deck of the island ferry, the Miss New Jersey. All the seats were taken. The boat rocked in the wake, buzzed by gulls and Coast Guard cutters. The air was salty. A robotic voice admonished people to check the times of their tour reservations, though there had been no mention of a tour, or reservations, at the ticket sales office.

"I'm glad I asked," said Heidi Cruz, 38, of Chicago, who was visiting the city with her son and daughter. They had arrived at the ferry ticket office in Lower Manhattan at 9 a.m. and specifically made a reservation to go inside the statue. Now, said her son Jonathan, 9, just before 2:45 p.m., "We're one of the first people in the country to go in since the terrorist attack."

The good ship, Miss New Jersey, docked on Liberty Island, where it was clearly a special day. The line to reboard the ferry stretched across to the opposite shoreline, and a grandstand was set up under a flagpole. There were velvet ropes and spotlights, police officers in golf carts and teenagers in period costumes tooting out "Yankee Doodle" and what sounded like "Popeye the Sailor Man" as best they could.

Ms. Pagan disembarked about 2:30 p.m., holding her torch high, as people yelled, "Hey, Lady Liberty."

"Whooo," Ms. Pagan said, running over to them.

She set her satchel, decorated with the Puerto Rican flag, atop a garbage can and fished out her $8 discount ferry ticket. Then, holding her torch and flag aloft, Ms. Pagan walked past the rows of Linden trees and the specially constructed gift shop tent toward the statue's entrance.

"Do you have a tour ticket?" asked Ranger Daniel T. Brown.

"They didn't ask me," Ms. Pagan said, then trailed off. She turned and asked some tourists if they had extra tickets. They did not.

"Ay, ya, yi, yi, yi," she said. She stomped her foot. "Anyway," she said.

She cradled her flag and torch in one hand, turned and walked back toward the ferry, her white sandals clacking on the pavement under her dark green gown.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

August 4th, 2004, 05:00 AM
August 4, 2004


The Statue of Security


For anyone who has ever trekked up the spiral staircase of the Statue of Liberty and peered through the crown's narrow windows, the statue's reopening this week, for the first time since the 9/11 attacks, is bittersweet. Its surrounding grounds and facilities have been spruced up, and members of the National Park Service gamely claim that the statue, an international icon, is better than ever. But there's no way to ignore the loss of what was the main attraction: tourists can no longer knock themselves out by climbing those storied 354 steps.

It's perhaps an unavoidable result of the vigilance against terrorism, but a sad one nonetheless. The new tour stops short of the hem of Liberty's robes, at the top of her thick concrete pedestal, in a room that holds only 30 people at a time, or about 3,000 people a day who are quickly shuffled in and out. While a guide gives a short talk and shows a video, tourists are invited to look up at the ceiling, where a few glass panels give a glimpse of a few feet of the interior. Tourists can also step into the open air on a deck that lines the pedestal. That's as good as it gets. And that's only after each visitor is screened twice, by X-ray and metal detectors before boarding a ferry to the monument, and then on the premises by new scanners looking for explosives and narcotics.

Throughout the statue's base are monitors showing the routes to the nearest exits in case of an emergency, while across the bottom scrolls a constant message: "If you see something, say something." Oddly enough, this antiterrorism mantra, which appears in bilingual postings in city subways and buses, is only in English at this symbol of America's polyglot immigration.

Larry Parkinson, a deputy assistant secretary for law enforcement and security at the Interior Department, says greater access to the statue itself has not been ruled out. But it isn't in the works right now, and the motives for caution seem to stretch beyond security. There is concern about wear and tear on the statue. The people who used to climb the stairs were apparently not unlike those unconscionable climbers of Everest who left behind proof of their presence in the form of garbage - in this case, mostly chewing gum and food refuse.

But it's hard to avoid the impression that the officials who spent millions in private and public funds to restore and fortify the statue don't want anyone to mess it up. With the nonprofit charity that has been in charge of soliciting donations under fire for paying its executives too much money, this seems like a time when everyone should be trying to make things as accessible as possible.

Obviously, security will have to come first, but visitors to the Statue of Liberty, the symbol of American freedom, shouldn't be constrained forever.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

August 5th, 2004, 07:41 AM
August 5, 2004

Miss Liberty, in a New World (6 Letters)

To the Editor:

Re "The Statue of Security," by Carolyn Curiel (Editorial Notebook, Aug. 4):

Although I, too, mourn the Statue of Liberty's limited access, now that it has reopened for the first time since 9/11, I disagree that the climb to the crown is the main attraction.

I have had the good fortune to be in my boat in the early morning. My heart flutters and I sprout goose bumps as the Statue of Liberty comes into view. There before me is the symbol of America. It is still dim enough to see the lighted torch, and that, too, stirs my soul.

I imagine that I am a new immigrant to these United States, and even though I am anticipating the sight, seeing the statue brings on tears of relief and joy. I am approaching the promised land of freedom and good fortune. I imagine that some of the pain, worry and horror that I have fled peels away as I stare transfixed at the most beautiful lady in the world. Suddenly, I am hopeful and filled with new courage. I am home, at last.

Waddell F. Robey
Harrisburg, Pa., Aug. 4, 2004

To the Editor:

Re "Visitors Can Go Underfoot, but Not to Liberty's Crown" (news article, Aug. 3):

When I read that officials played down the experience of being able to climb the steps of the Statue of Liberty, I was appalled. It is a sad attempt to hide the deep symbolism and national embarrassment of using fear of terrorism to restrict access to Liberty.

I am not a coward, and I don't like it when my leaders are cowards. One official said, "Most of us think we went to the crown; a lot of us didn't." I remember counting every step to the top at age 8. The government's feeble attempt to convince me that it didn't happen is reminiscent of its other attempts to make me forget my numerous lost liberties.

Perhaps what our cowardly government itself fears and wants forgotten is the inscription that extols freedom, refugees and immigrants. That is the America we need to remember.

Ilir Topalli
Bronx, Aug. 3, 2004

To the Editor:

Re "The Statue of Security'' (Editorial Notebook, Aug. 4):

Carolyn Curiel is right to describe the long-awaited reopening of the Statue of Liberty as "bittersweet.'' It has been almost three years since we could ascend to Lady Liberty's crown, and even now, visitors still can't move past the statue's base.

Limiting access to the world's greatest symbol of freedom should not be a foregone result of the war on terror.

This week, Representative Anthony Weiner and I outlined a plan to open the statue from head to toe using the Transportation Security Administration do-not-fly lists that airlines use to prescreen visitors. We give every foreign airline serving the United States access to these lists. Certainly, the National Parks Service can be trusted with them as well.

Generations have come to New York to climb to the crown of the Statue of Liberty, and I hope generations to come will have that thrill as well.

Charles E. Schumer
U.S. Senator from New York
Brooklyn, Aug. 4, 2004

To the Editor:

Why is the Statue of Liberty being reopened while New York City is on a high terror alert ("Returning to Lady Liberty, and, Yes, Carrying a Torch," news article, Aug. 4)? Isn't this great symbol of freedom a choice target for terrorists?

The Bush administration has said the terrorists may try to disrupt the election this fall and that the likelihood of a terrorist attack is higher during the months just before the election.

In light of this, it seems very reckless and irresponsible for the administration to permit the reopening of the Statue of Liberty at this dangerous time.

Although we may never be completely safe from terrorist attacks, it seems that at least waiting until the election is over to reopen this tourist attraction would be a more responsible decision.

Sarah Aziz
North Haven, Conn., Aug. 4, 2004

To the Editor:

I'm not too impressed with the reopening of the "pedestal of liberty"; it's like going to a Broadway show, only to be stuck in the lobby.

On a stifling July day in 1973, I labored up the staircase to the crown behind a very pregnant South American immigrant, and as we reached the tiny crown chamber, she turned to me with the sweat dripping down her face and with the most radiant smile I have ever seen on anyone. She did it; we all did it! Wonderful!

Richard Kopperdahl
New York, Aug. 3, 2004

To the Editor:

I am very proud that the Statue of Liberty, that powerful symbol of hope and freedom, has reopened to the public. It was a gift from the French, was it not?

Ken Wells
Knoxville, Tenn., Aug. 3, 2004

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

October 3rd, 2004, 11:50 PM
Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty (http://www.wirednewyork.com/landmarks/liberty/default.htm) and the US Coast Guard ship.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/landmarks/liberty/images/brooklyn_bridge_statue_liberty_2oct04.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/landmarks/liberty/)

October 4th, 2004, 09:51 AM
That's a "WOW!" photo.

October 20th, 2004, 10:49 AM
Southeast Farm Express
October 20, 2004

Statue of Liberty goes green with soy

By Jan Suszkiw, USDA

A biodegradable soy-based hydraulic fluid developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture scientists is now being used to operate the elevator system in the Statue of Liberty in New York City.

The work is part of ongoing research by scientists with USDA's Agricultural Research Service to develop new products from soybeans.

"Our scientists are continuing to find new uses for soybean-based products that go beyond everyday foods," said Edward B. Knipling, ARS administrator. "This is the latest example of how our scientists have found an alternative to petroleum-based lubricants."

Until recently, Lady Liberty's elevator ran on mineral oil formulations derived from petroleum. In February 2002, Jeff Marrazzo, the building and utilities foreman for the National Park Service on Liberty Island, N.Y., contacted Sevim Erhan, an ARS chemist in Peoria, Ill., about an idea for an environmentally friendly alternative.

Marrazzo had learned of Erhan and colleagues' development of printing inks and other vegetable oil-based products at the ARS National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria. Marrazzo asked whether Erhan's team could bring that same expertise to bear in creating a hydraulic elevator fluid that would readily biodegrade in the environment, come from a renewable resource, be produced by an economical and non-polluting process, and meet industrial safety and performance standards.

Of the candidate vegetable oils, Erhan chose soy oil because of its low cost, chemical versatility and availability as a homegrown resource. At the ARS center's Food and Industrial Oil Research Unit, Erhan's team examined the chemical structure and function of mineral oil fluids and then used the information to devise their bio-based formulation using modified soy oil.

In tests, the soy-based hydraulic fluid worked as well as or better than the mineral oil products, particularly in terms of lubricity, biodegradability and reduced flammability.

Agri-Lube Inc. of Defiance, Ohio, scaled up production of the soy-based fluid, including a 1,000-gallon batch that's been used to operate Lady Liberty's elevator since Nov. 14, 2002. Agri-Lube is negotiating with ARS for licensing rights to commercially produce the soy-based fluid.

ARS is the USDA's chief in-house scientific research agency.

© 2004, PRIMEDIA Business Magazines & Media Inc.

September 12th, 2005, 12:14 AM
September 9, 2005:




September 12th, 2005, 12:27 AM
I'm hoping someone got a photo of the moon setting on 9.11.05. From Battery Park at about 11 PM it looked like a huge slice of a blood orange -- and it just about kissed Liberty's torch as it slid over the horizon.

If anyone has a photo please post.

November 23rd, 2005, 11:13 PM
New York Times
November 23, 2005

Inquiry Finds Flaws, but No Fault, in Reopening of Statue of Liberty


In a postscript to the controversy surrounding the partial reopening of the Statue of Liberty, an internal government report has concluded that the National Park Service did nothing wrong by asking a charity to handle the long-delayed project but that it inappropriately favored the nonprofit group.

The inquiry by the Interior Department's inspector general - completed a year ago and not made public until now - found that the agency's decision to hand the reins to the charity, rather than request federal money and do the work itself, was in keeping with the Park Service's history of seeking help from "private partners" to manage the nation's parks.

The charity, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, raised millions of dollars for the project, which was completed in August 2004 and primarily involved adding two wooden staircases for visitors to exit the statue's base in emergencies. People are no longer allowed inside the statue itself.

Although the inquiry into the Park Service's management of the statue found no legal wrongdoing, the report portrays a number of shortcomings. It depicts an agency gripped with indecision over how, or even whether, to reopen the monument after it was closed following the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. Officials ordered studies, held meetings and debated how to pay for the reopening for years, as public frustration mounted and other national landmarks reopened their doors.

What is more, the report said senior federal officials had expressed concern that the foundation's campaign to raise money for the reopening might have misled donors into thinking that access to the statue's crown would be restored. And it described an unusually close relationship between the foundation and the agency, one in which Park Service staff members helped "eliminate any fund-raising competition" from other nonprofits interested in assisting in projects at the monument.

"While this is not a violation of statute or regulation," the report said, "it appears to be contrary to the department's usual practice of embracing all willing partners."

A spokesman for the Park Service, David Barna, said the agency had not reviewed the report and would have no comment.

The inquiry began in early 2004 after a whistle-blower asserted that the monument was being mismanaged. Not long after that, some members of Congress complained that the Park Service should have moved more quickly and should not allowed the foundation to turn the project into a fund-raising vehicle, and several newspapers, including The New York Times, published articles raising questions about management of the project.

The report was completed in December 2004. Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a Democrat from Queens, recently sought and obtained a copy of the 16-page document, which was heavily redacted by the inspector general's office to obscure the names of people interviewed and some details of how money was spent on security improvements. Mr. Weiner provided a copy of it to The Times.

In an interview yesterday, Mr. Weiner said he was dissatisfied with the quality of the investigation, adding that the details in the report did not seem to support the conclusion that no mismanagement had occurred. He said the report, as written, appeared to be "a little bit too concerned with protecting the brass at the Department of the Interior, rather than getting to the bottom of what many people saw as a scandal."

"It leaves so many issues unresolved," Mr. Weiner said. "Why, for example, did it take the Park Service such an extraordinarily long amount of time to do what is arguably the easiest security option they had available to them?"

The inspector general's office did not respond to a request for comment yesterday.

The report showed that a basic plan for safety improvements allowing visitors back into the statue was finished as early as August 2002. But although Park Service employees drafted a $2.5 million federal budget request to carry out the plan in February 2003, the proposal was never sent to Congress because senior agency officials chose to ask the foundation for the money instead.

Seven months later, the foundation announced a fund-raising campaign, whose goal eventually grew to $7 million. The report quoted an unidentified federal official saying that Interior Secretary Gale A. Norton "was surprised by the details and the methods of the fund-raising drive" and worried that "the foundation's fund-raising efforts were making a promise that N.P.S. could not keep." In addition, she "was concerned that the American public would get the wrong impression that the foundation had been solely responsible for reopening the Statue of Liberty," a federal official told investigators.

Yesterday, a spokeswoman for the foundation, Peg Zitko, said it never promised that the statue would be reopened all the way to the crown and that Ms. Norton "never expressed that concern to anyone at the foundation."

The inspector general's report was at least the third to examine aspects of the effort to reopen the statue. Last year, the Senate Finance Committee, which oversees charities' compliance with tax laws, harshly criticized the foundation, saying it was being mismanaged and questioning whether its fund-raising campaign had slowed the pace of the reopening project - something the foundation strenuously denied.

The foundation commissioned its own report by an outside law firm, which concluded that the foundation generally did a good job and had not mismanaged its finances. The report concluded, however, that the salary of the foundation's top executive was excessive and that the organization needed to improve its overall management structure.

Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

December 29th, 2005, 11:42 AM
December 22, 2005


Fabulous Views and a Quick Commute to Manhattan

A Childhood Spent in the Shadow of the Statue of Liberty

by Paul Heltzel

Mike Moffitt in 1978 with his father and mother on Liberty Island.

Moffitt today on the ferry ride across New York Harbor.

New York City can be an exciting place for a kid -- especially one living in the middle of New York Harbor. For 10 years, a chest-high hedge was the only thing separating Mike Moffitt and his family -- mom, dad, brother and sister -- from thousands of tourists and a 20-story statue.

In 1977, Moffit's father, a park ranger, took over the head post on Liberty Island National Park and moved the family. For 10 years, they had a postcard view of lower Manhattan.

When Moffitt told people where he lived, they often didn't believe him or peppered him with questions. So he came up with a plan. He'd obfuscate.

"People would ask 'What part of the city are you from?' I'd say, 'Staten Island.' I got so tired of explaining Liberty Island. And 99 percent of the people would not ask one more question..."

He and his brother and sister did normal kid things -- riding bikes and beachcombing -- but there were a few unusual side benefits.

"Occasionally my dad would take us into the torch," Moffitt says. "I don't know if he was breaking some rules... it's locked to the public. It's pretty scary. The arm is always moving. And you're on a fairly thin sheet of copper."

The Moffitts relocated during a relatively turbulent time in world politics. The Iran hostage crisis was in the headlines shortly after arriving. And occasionally, someone would work their way into the statue and take it over.

"It would usually be someone... chained to the torch. And it would be a little bit of excitement. We'd wonder, 'Do they have weapons?' One time someone planted a bomb in the museum, which was in the base and it did a lot of damage. It was a reminder that you're living in a target."

Despite the occasional security breach, Moffitt says his childhood was well spent. But after 10 years there, he's not particularly nostalgic for New York Harbor.

"I have a lot of memories from here," he says on his first trip back to the statue in six years. "But I'm not too homesick for Liberty Island. I got my fill."

Skateboarding by his house in the late '70s.

Copyright 2005 NPR

March 10th, 2006, 12:16 PM

She's got a lot of fans.

March 10, 2006

Lady Liberty's torch will soon be lit by windmill power.

The federal government says it will get all the electricity needed for the Statue of Liberty from wind turbines.

The General Services Administration said the 27 million kilowatt hours needed to run the statue, and 23 other GSA properties in the region each year, will be bought from windmill farms upstate and in four other states.

Wind power is generated by giant turbines, often more than twice the 150-foot height of the Statue of Liberty.

The wind-powered properties covered by the three-year contract will also include the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.

Two federal buildings in upstate New York, in Utica and Binghamton, have been fully powered by wind since 2002 as part of a program to reduce the government's dependence on fossil fuels.

Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc.

March 10th, 2006, 12:54 PM
Liberty's mean sister (still in France) ...

March 10th, 2006, 01:07 PM
^ it seems like her face was cover... maybe a muslim thing in France? :p

March 11th, 2006, 09:22 AM
It as ALL the rage in Paris ...

The Obscure and Uncertain Semiotics of Fashion

Pierre Verdy/Agence France-Presse—Getty Images, left and middle; Michel Euler/Associated Press
HIDDEN MEANING At the Paris fashion shows, models appeared with their faces hidden


March 11th, 2006, 11:09 AM
^ Really scary article.

May 19th, 2006, 12:21 AM
AM New York
May 18, 2006

Weiner fights for visitors to Statue of Liberty, wins money vote

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON -- A Queens congressman won a legislative skirmish Thursday in his long-running battle with the government to reopen the top of the Statue of Liberty to the public.

The House voted 266-152 for a funding amendment offered by Rep. Anthony Weiner, who has urged the National Park Service, which oversees Lady Liberty, to let tourists return to the statue's crown.

The statue, which sits on 12-acre Liberty Island in New York Harbor, was shut down in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks because of terrorism concerns. When the National Park Service reopened it in 2004, the public was allowed only as far up as the pedestal on which the statue stands to peer up into the structure.

Weiner's amendment doesn't force the parks service to reopen the statue. Instead it redirects $1 million in funding from the Department of the Interior to the parks service, which could use the money for safety improvements at the statue or for other purposes.

But the Democrat called it a vote on reopening the top of the statue, a move other lawmakers said was simply too dangerous after Sept. 11, 2001.

"Certainly we can figure out a way," protested Weiner. "The symbolism is so important, I can't imagine we are technically unable to secure this site."

Another lawmaker, Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., said he visited the site last year and agreed with critics there was no good way to protect tourists in the cramped spiral staircase that rises from the base of the statue to the crown.

"The time to evacuate the statue is very high," said Pearce. "No amount of money can change the size or the scope of the stairways."

Lawmakers opposed to reopening the staircase inside the statue also argued intelligence reports regularly show the statue is one of the most high-profile targets of would-be terrorists. The government has already spent nearly $20 million in security and safety improvements at the site.

Weiner suggested the stairway could be made safe by barring bags and letting only a certain number of people up at a time.

"To simply say you can go visit the island and pat Lady Liberty's toes is not enough," said Weiner.

Tightened security measures at the national monument include a bomb detection device that blows air into clothing and then checks for particles of explosives residue. Bomb-sniffing dogs also have been seen at the site.

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in October 1886 and was designated a national monument in October 1924. It was restored for its centennial on July 4, 1986. Its torch has been closed since July 1916.

Copyright 2006 AM New York

May 21st, 2006, 11:42 PM
AM New York
May 22, 2006

Schumer: Fully reopen Lady Liberty by July 4

By Chuck Bennett

Public access to the crown of the Statue of Liberty, perhaps the greatest symbol of America's immigrant history, is now tied to the controversial Senate immigration bill, federal lawmakers said Sunday.

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) said they will attach an amendment to the immigration bill being debated in the Senate that would force the National Parks Service to fully reopen Lady Liberty by this Fourth of July.

"The Statue of Liberty has become a symbol of fear rather than a symbol of freedom," Schumer said Monday at a Battery Park news conference, just a short walk from the ferries that take tourists to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island.

The national monument was closed after 9/11 and only partially reopened to the public in August 2004.

Visitors who book in advance can ascend to the pedestal and look up at the statue's framework, but are forbidden to climb the steps to the crown because of security concerns. Access to the statue's torch ended in 1916.

"To simply say that you can go visit the island and pat Lady Liberty's toes is not enough," said Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn/Queens).

Brian Feeney, a National Parks Service spokesman, said the agency does not comment on pending legislation.

"When we reopened the monument in 2004 we did so in a way that we believe best ensures visitor safety. The safety of our visitors is always our first concern."

He added that the agency has received few visitor complaints about the restricted access.

The agency said last week that its Lady Liberty security protocols were under review, but concerns about safety in the narrow steps to the crown were raised even before 9/11.

Last week, the House passed Weiner's amendment calling for the statue to be reopened to the crown, and provided an additional $1 million in security funds for the monument.

Schumer and Menedez also promised to grill Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, President George Bush's nominee for secretary of the interior, on his plans for the statue.

"It is going to be a consideration when his nomination comes before the Senate," Schumer said.

The amendment would have to survive negotiations and become law as part of the immigration overhaul. A final vote in the Senate on the immigration bill is expected this week.

Tourists visiting Lady Liberty Monday thought the plan was a great idea.

"If you are going to open it up, you should go all the way," said Sandy Metzler, 53, of Pittsburgh.

Copyright 2006 AM New York

May 22nd, 2006, 10:48 PM
I'm unsure about this one. While I would like to see them open up the statue for people to go up in and see, the security concerns seems pretty compelling. If something does happen, it can be disasterous for people trying to get out in those narrow, old staircases.

May 25th, 2006, 10:50 PM
AM New York
May 25, 2006

Senate votes to reopen Statue of Liberty's crown

Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted Thursday to reopen the Statue of Liberty's crown, which has been off limits to the public since Sept. 11, 2001, because of terrorism fears.

The reopening provision was tucked into a larger immigration bill whose prospects are still uncertain.

Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., added an amendment to the bill requiring the Department of the Interior, the nation's main conservation agency, to reopen the stairs leading up to the crown within 60 days of the bill's passage.

"For too long, it has cast a long shadow over New York Harbor as those who wanted to climb up the stairs and see the spectacular view through her crown were turned away," Schumer said.

The famous spiral stairway, however, may remain off limits; the House has not approved such a measure, and many lawmakers doubt the two chambers can reconcile opposing immigration bills.

Just last week, a number of House Republicans argued on the floor against a proposal by Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., to reopen the crown, saying security experts have determined it is too dangerous.

Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., said he visited the site last year and agreed with critics there was no good way to protect tourists in the cramped staircase that rises from the base of the statue to the crown.

"The time to evacuate the statue is very high," said Pearce. "No amount of money can change the size or the scope of the stairways."

He said intelligence reports regularly show the statue is one of the most high-profile targets of would-be terrorists. The government has already spent nearly $20 million in security and safety improvements at the site.

The statue sits on 12-acre Liberty Island in New York Harbor. When the National Park Service reopened it in 2004, the public was allowed only as far up as the pedestal on which the statue stands to peer up into the structure.

After that debate, Weiner earned a symbolic victory when the House approved his measure redirecting some $1 million in Department of the Interior spending to the parks service. Weiner called it a tacit vote of support for reopening the statue's crown.

Copyright 2006 AM New York

July 3rd, 2006, 08:14 AM

proceed at your own risk (http://rjr10036.typepad.com/proceed_at_your_own_risk/2006/07/making_jesus_vo.html)
Sunday, 02 July 2006

While Congress was busy worrying about hippies and rock stars who turn our flag into ponchos, Christian Jihadists kidnapped the image of America's most treasured icon, The Statue of Liberty and turned her into Christ's bitch.

A Memphis church has erected a 72-foot-tall replica of the Statue of Liberty (http://www.myeyewitnessnews.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=52538827-39CE-4C5E-8CF3-6E7EE4868999), tall and green like the original, with the right arm extended upward in the familiar pose. But instead of a torch, this statue holds a cross. And the famous inscription on her base -- "Give me your tired, your poor..." -- as been replaced by Roman numerals representing the Ten Commandments. A tear is running down her face. (No doubt much in the way any rape victim cries.)

http://rjr10036.typepad.com/proceed_at_your_own_risk/images/statue_1.jpg (http://rjr10036.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/statue_1.jpg)

This abomination carries a $260,000 price tag. (NOTE: THIS (http://www.myeyewitnessnews.com/news/local/story.aspx?content_id=52538827-39CE-4C5E-8CF3-6E7EE4868999 It's) article states the price to be $2.5 MILLION.) It's interesting to consider the reaction of those Senators who wasted the nation's time last week debating a constitutional amendment intended to protect our flag from desecration I called Santorum for his take on this, but the call quickly turned into phone sex and then we hung up.

World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church (http://www.worldovercomers.org/index.htm) is calling it the "Statue of Liberation." Their bold response to the "war on Christianity."

http://rjr10036.typepad.com/proceed_at_your_own_risk/images/statue2_1.jpg (http://rjr10036.typepad.com/.shared/image.html?/photos/uncategorized/statue2_1.jpg)

Adding insult to injury, this tasteless nightmare will be unveiled at an Independence Day ceremony. The pastor, Apostle Alton Williams, says people cannot drive by the statue "without thinking about their relationship with God."

I'd rather think that people will not be able to see this without thinking about everything that is wrong with America and the extent to which we have strayed from the intent of the founding fathers.

Fortunately my grandmother is no longer with us. Otherwise, she would have been heartbroken and frightened by this desecration of what was for her the most important symbol of the American Dream: a nation of hope, freedom and justice, a nation where Jews, Hindus, Muslims, Buddhists, Atheist, Agnostics and Wiccans could live in harmony and peace.

By the way, when these bottom-feeding morons aren't flushing $260,000 down the toilet corrupting symbols of liberty, freedom and the American Dream, they're busy campaigning against queers (http://www.worldovercomers.org/marriagepetition.htm).

So the next time you're asked for a contribution in church, do you know where your money's going?

July 5th, 2006, 01:43 AM
Lady Liberty Trades In Some Trappings

Rollin Riggs for The New York Times

At a megachurch in Memphis,
the Statue of Liberation Through Christ
was consecrated Tuesday.
The statue, says the church's pastor,
is a way of "letting people know that
God is the foundation of our nation."

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/05/us/05liberty.html)
Memphis Journal
By SHAILA DEWAN (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/d/shaila_dewan/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
July 5, 2006

MEMPHIS, July 4 — On Independence Day, Lady Liberty was born again.

As the congregation of the World Overcomers Outreach Ministries Church looked on and its pastor, Apostle Alton R. Williams, presided, a brown shroud much like a burqa was pulled away to reveal a giant statue of the Lady, but with the Ten Commandments under one arm and "Jehovah" inscribed on her crown.

And in place of a torch, she held aloft a large gold cross, as if to ward off the pawnshops, the car dealerships and the discount furniture outlets at the busy corner of Kirby Parkway and Winchester that is her home. A single tear graced her cheek.

It was not clear if she was crying because of her new home, her new identity as a symbol of religion or, as the pastor said, America's increasing godlessness. But although big cheers went up from the few hundred onlookers at the unveiling, and some people even wore foam Lady Liberty crowns bearing Christian slogans, she was not universally welcomed.

Most of the customers at the Dixie Queen food counter near the church viewed the statue as a cheap attention grab, said Guardia Nelson, 27, who works there.

"It's a big issue," Ms. Nelson said. "Liberty's supposed to have a fire, not a cross."

Elena Martinez, a loan officer visiting Memphis from Houston, said her family was speechless at the sight.

"The Statue of Liberty has a different meaning for the country," Ms. Martinez said. "It doesn't need to be used in a religious sense."

At the pizza place next door, Amanda Houston pronounced the combination of the Statue of Liberty and Christianity "ridiculous," though her co-worker Landon Condit was far less critical: "I can't see anything wrong with it. This is the Bible Belt."

The Statue of Liberation Through Christ, as she is called, stands 72 feet tall from the base of her pedestal to the tip of her cross. She was the idea of Mr. Williams, a very successful pastor whose church, World Overcomers, qualifies as mega: it has a school, a bowling alley, a roller rink, a bookstore and, he said, 12,000 members.

The pastor is not shy. His church has bought full-page advertisements in The Commercial Appeal, the Memphis daily, condemning homosexuality. At the World Overcomers' previous location, neighbors complained that trees were felled unnecessarily; Mr. Williams said it had to be done so that people could see the church from the road.

The statue, inspired by a Memphis church that has three giant crosses, strikes him as "a creative means of just really letting people know that God is the foundation of our nation," he said.

Mr. Williams has written several books and pamphlets analyzing a variety of matters, among them patriotism and the original intent of the founding fathers.

In "The Meaning of the Statue of Liberation Through Christ: Reconnecting Patriotism With Christianity," he explains that the teardrop on his Lady is God's response to what he calls the nation's ills, including legalized abortion, a lack of prayer in schools and the country's "promotion of expressions of New Age, Wicca, secularism and humanism." In another book, he said Hurricane Katrina was retribution for New Orleans's embrace of sin.

Mr. Williams said his statue's essential point was that Christianity should be the guiding ethos of the nation. But because the church he leads is predominantly black, as is he, there is an added dimension to the message.

In "From Slavery to Lady Liberty: Lady Liberty's African Connection: The Key to Black America's Liberation," he pointed out that the real Statue of Liberty wears a broken shackle around one ankle, and revisited evidence that the statue, a gift from France, was originally intended not to welcome immigrants but to celebrate the emancipation of slaves.

"Many blacks are not patriotic, and they are not patriotic because of the history of our nation," Mr. Williams said in an interview at the church, in the richly appointed sitting room he uses to receive visitors. "It's good for our people to know that the nation has something for them as well."

To critics who say there are better ways to spend $260,000, Mr. Williams responds that his church gives millions to the needy and says he views the statue as outreach: "I personally feel that the answer for the poor is Jesus Christ."

To celebrate the Fourth of July, a good crowd gathered on the church grounds for free hamburgers and grape soda, carnival rides, a barbecue cook-off and entertainment. Children ate sno-cones, and a small army of volunteers and members of the staff darted around on bicycles and golf carts, dressed in white polo shirts. But the main event was the unveiling, preceded by speeches, prayers and consecrations.

"I decree the spirit of conviction on this intersection," Mr. Williams boomed from a podium decorated with red, white and blue bunting. "This statue proves that Jesus Christ is Lord over America, he is Lord over Tennessee, he is Lord over Memphis."

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

July 5th, 2006, 09:14 AM
What a bunch of freaks.

July 5th, 2006, 09:33 AM
Another step from "The Age of Enlightenment" to "The Age of Fundamentalism" ...

August 10th, 2006, 10:51 AM
AM New York
August 10, 2006

Park Service: Lady Liberty's crown to stay closed


Photos: Statue of Liberty (http://www.amny.com:/news/local/nyc-liberty-gallery,0,2479145.photogallery)

Despite pleas and tongue-lashings from elected officials, the crown of the Statue of Liberty will remain off-limits to visitors for safety reasons, the National Park Service said Wednesday.

The narrow stairway to the top of Lady Liberty would endanger visitors if a fire or smoke condition occurred, park officials said.

Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Brooklyn-Queens), who along with other elected officials publicly called for the crown's reopening and introduced legislation to do so, criticized the park service decision Wednesday after he received its written response last week.

"Almost five years after Lady Liberty closed following the 9/11 attacks, the parks service is announcing that it either lacks the courage or the creativity to solve the same security concerns that were overcome at every other national facility, including the White House and U.S. Capitol," Weiner said.

David Barna, spokesman at the park service, said the decision was less about terrorism concerns and more about following city and national safety codes regarding the spiral staircase that leads to the crown.

He said officials began to examine the issue before Sept. 11, 2001, and experts concluded it wasn't safe.

"We can't imagine allowing in visitors in there violating those codes at least in the way the statue is built," Barna said. "The health and safety of our visitors is of primary importance to us."

The island was closed after the Sept. 11 terror attacks and was partly reopened in December 2001.

After spending $20 million in improvements, the government reopened the statue in August 2004 up to the top of the pedestal.

In his letter to elected officials dated Aug. 4, Fran Mainella, director of the National Parks Service, said the stair's width and height are "well out of compliance" with current standards. And based on New York City's building codes, national fire codes and international building code, it would be unsafe.

The letter said anti-terrorism measures are in place.

In pushing for the reopening by July 4, Weiner and Sen. Charles Schumer said young people should not be denied the joy of climbing to the top.

"The park service announcement shows that, at least in this case, freedom has given way to fear," Schumer said. "The park service should be ashamed of their cowardice."

Copyright 2006 AM New York

August 10th, 2006, 12:57 PM
:( it´s too bad!

As child I envisaged that I once will be in the crown of Lady Liberty and enjoy the wonderfull view over Manhattan. And now I´m sure that that will (maybe) never come true. :(

August 11th, 2006, 01:47 AM
:( it´s too bad!

As child I envisaged that I once will be in the crown of Lady Liberty and enjoy the wonderfull view over Manhattan. And now I´m sure that that will (maybe) never come true. :(

Same here... How awful!!! :( :mad: :(

October 29th, 2006, 07:45 PM
New York Times
October 29, 2006

Fighting Over Miss Liberty


Students from Utah tried on Statue of Liberty crowns recently, part of an expanded line of products since the Hill family set up shop on Liberty Island in the 1930s.

Bradford A. Hill’s family business on Liberty Island takes in $15 million a year but began as a table selling trinkets on the pier where ferries docked.

Bradford A. Hill’s father, James I. Hill, shown in a postcard, was born on the island and lived there his first eight years.

The Hills in a family photograph with Max Blasser, a relative, left: Evelyn, Jim, Aaron and Charlotte.

For many people, riding a boat out to the Statue of Liberty is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Bradford A. Hill does it five days a week.

Mr. Hill is not some freedom fanatic. He, like his father and his father’s parents before him, is a fixture on Liberty Island, selling sandwiches, postcards and T-shirts. Each year, tourists buy more than 100,000 statuettes of all sizes from his family business.

Over the past 75 years, three generations of Hills have turned a dockside table full of trinkets into a mini-monopoly that takes in more than $15 million a year, according to the National Park Service. They have been the only shopkeepers on the island since the park service took control of the statue in 1933.

But now Mr. Hill is bracing to fight off a storm of well-financed competitors for his stronghold in New York Harbor. For the first time in more than a decade, the park service, which strikes exclusive deals with concessionaires and keeps a share of their sales, is preparing to seek new bids to run the shops on Liberty Island.

Mr. Hill said he expected several much larger companies, like the food-service giant Aramark, which runs the concessions on Ellis Island, to try to break his family’s long tenure. But he hopes his insider’s knowledge of the island and how park service officials think will give him an advantage.

“This is my family heritage,” said Mr. Hill, sitting in a cluttered office that he said previously was a men’s room about 100 yards from the base of the statue. “This is home.”

Indeed, the Hills have been on the island since the 1920s. Mr. Hill’s father was born in the family home, which stood practically next door to the statue before being torn down.

They have weathered wartimes, a two-year refurbishment in the mid-1980s and the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, when the statue was closed for three months. Since then, new security measures have reduced the flow of visitors, whose numbers are nearly a third below their 2000 peak.

Still, their business — Evelyn Hill Inc., named for Mr. Hill’s grandmother — on Liberty Island ranks among the 10 biggest commercial operations in the entire national park system, according to the park service. And neither Mr. Hill, 50, nor his father, James I. Hill, is ready to part with it.

Mr. Hill, 80, who is known as Jim, spent the first eight years of his life on the 12.7-acre island. Back then, it was still known as Bedloe’s Island and the statue shared the land with Fort Wood, a United States Army post for military police.

Some of the residents of the barracks on Bedloe’s Island commuted across the harbor to work on Governors Island. If they needed medical care, they rode boats to Brooklyn, Jim Hill recalled in a recent interview near his home on the Upper East Side.

But, as Jim Hill tells the story, he was born on a December day in 1925 when there was too much ice in the harbor for a boat to take his mother to a hospital. So, he was delivered at home by an Army doctor and is a member of the very small club of natives of Liberty Island. As an adult, he commuted to the island for 46 years until he retired in 1992.

He remembers sneaking into the statue as a child, only to be chased off by a guard. “The statue was off limits,” he said.

Once, he recalled, he and some young buddies tossed a baseball out of the crown to see how high it would bounce. The children traveled by boat to a three-room public school on Governors Island, he said.

“We thought everybody lived on an island,” Jim Hill said.

Of course, their island also happened to hold a beacon of freedom known around the globe. Since the early years of Jim Hill’s life, when tourists wanted a snack or a memento of their visit, a member of his family has been there to satisfy the craving, starting with his father, Aaron.

Aaron Hill, who had been based on the island as a soldier, bought the snack stand from a military officer who had run it. That was in 1931, and it was merely a table with an umbrella set up on the pier where the ferry docked.

He later moved the snack counter indoors; a copy of a five-item menu from those days shows that customers could pay a nickel for coffee or a cigar and a dime for tomato juice, a hamburger or a “frank on a roll.”

Aaron Hill and his family continued living on the island until the park service arrived in 1933 and started displacing the residents, Jim Hill said. The Hills moved to the Bronx; from there, Aaron Hill rode the subway to Lower Manhattan and a ferry to his shop. He died in 1943.

His widow, Evelyn, who had been working behind the sales counter on weekends, took over, with some help from their children. Business was slow during World War II, Jim Hill recalled, because with the government rationing resources, “it was extremely difficult to get any kind of souvenir item made of metals.”

After the war, Jim Hill joined his mother full time, he said. Evelyn Hill gradually yielded the reins to him but kept pitching in well into her eighties. She died in 1990 at the age of 88.

Jim Hill’s son Brad worked at the statue on weekends as a boy, then for department store chains for a few years before returning to the fold. Now he makes the long trek, by car and boat, from his home in northern New Jersey.

“I’ve always loved this place,” Mr. Hill said.

To keep up with modern times, he has upgraded the food service to include offerings like fresh tuna salads, and sets up an outdoor grill in the summer.

To conserve resources and reduce costs, he has set up an elaborate trash-recycling system and installed waterless urinals in the bathrooms. In one of his two gift shops, he recently unveiled an animatronic likeness of Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi, the Frenchman who created the statue.

These improvements were aimed at enticing tourists to spend more time on the island because the number of visitors has dropped to 2.5 million from a high of 3.6 million since new security measures were carried out, Mr. Hill said.

He obviously hopes the new food and services will count in his favor next year when the park service weighs bids under a new selection process.

Before 1998, incumbents like the Hills received preferential treatment and were nearly impossible to unseat. But now much of that advantage is gone, and big food-service companies are aggressively bidding for national park contracts, according to industry executives and consultants.

Just as chain stores have gradually displaced mom-and-pop shops in American cities and towns, national corporations have made steady inroads into the national parks. Three of them — Aramark, Xanterra and Delaware North — dominate the list of the park service’s biggest commercial operations.

A spokesman for Aramark declined to discuss the Statue of Liberty contract.

But Kevin Kelly, the president of Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts in Buffalo, said he and a team of fellow executives recently toured Liberty Island in anticipation of making a bid. Mr. Kelly praised much of Mr. Hill’s operation but criticized the overall experience of visiting the statue, starting with the security screening required before boarding a ferry in Battery Park.

“They stripped me down and really searched me,” Mr. Kelly said. “It wasn’t a really warm and welcoming experience.” He added that the park service needed to make visiting the statue more compelling to a modern audience.

“The longer people stay,” he said, “the more hot dogs they’ll buy, the more sodas they’ll buy, the more pictures they’ll take.”

Despite the size and financial strength of companies like Delaware North and Aramark, Mr. Kelly thinks it is not improbable that visitors will be buying their hot dogs from the Hills for years to come. After all, he said, “They know the business better than anyone.”

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

November 14th, 2006, 02:46 PM
AM New York
November 14, 2006

Is Lady Liberty worthy of new world wonder?



GENEVA, Switzerland -- A global competition to name the new seven wonders of the world is attracting widespread interest, with more than 20 million people voting so far, organizers say.

The Egyptian pyramids are the only surviving structures from the original list of seven architectural marvels. Long gone are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Pharos lighthouse off Alexandria. Those seven were deemed wonders in ancient times by observers of the Mediterranean and Middle East.

Candidates for the new list have been narrowed down to 21, including the Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty, Taj Mahal and Peru's Machu Picchu. The public can vote until July 6, 2007, by Internet or phone. The seven winners will be announced July 7 in Lisbon, Portugal.

Choosing world wonders has been a continuing fascination over the centuries. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, keeps updating its list of World Heritage Sites, which now totals 830 places.

The "New 7 Wonders of the World" campaign was begun in 1999 by Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber, with almost 200 nominations coming in from around the world.

Weber "felt it is time for something new to bring the world together" and to "symbolize a common pride in the global cultural heritage," said Tia B. Viering, spokeswoman for the campaign.

Weber's Switzerland-based foundation aims to promote cultural diversity by supporting, preserving and restoring monuments. It relies on private donations and revenue from selling broadcasting rights.

Nominations were whittled down by public votes to 77 last year. Then a panel of architectural experts, chaired by former UNESCO chief Federico Mayor, shortened the list to 21. Interest has grown as Weber and his 10-member team visit the 21 sites. Their final visit will be March 6 to New York's Statue of Liberty.

In addition to the Statue of Liberty, Pyramids, Eiffel Tower, Taj Mahal and Machu Picchu, the finalists are the Acropolis; Turkey's Haghia Sophia; the Kremlin and St. Basil's Cathedral; the Colosseum; Germany's Neuschwanstein Castle; Stonehenge; Spain's Alhambra; the Great Wall; Japan's Kiyomizu Temple; the Sydney Opera House; Cambodia's Angkor; Timbuktu; Petra, Jordan; Brazil's Statue of Christ Redeemer; Easter Island; and Chichen Itza, Mexico.

To vote, go to http://www.new7wonders.com or call (011) 372-541-11738 or (011) 423-663-900299. (International phone rates apply.)

Copyright 2006 AM New York

November 14th, 2006, 04:24 PM
Where's Mt. Rushmore?

November 14th, 2006, 06:50 PM
Considering how many sites are in existence, the absence of Mt. Rushmore is understandable (you've got to draw the line somewhere).

Rushmore did make the Top 77 (http://www.new7wonders.com/fileadmin/resources/77_Top_NOMINEES.pdf) (pdf) -- as did the ESB and the Golden Gate Bridge.

The full list (http://www.new7wonders.com/index.php?id=306&L=0) of the final 21:

http://www.new7wonders.com/fileadmin/resources/21_FINALISTS_COVER_PRESENTATION_with_Logo_010106.j pg

November 14th, 2006, 06:57 PM
I've only been to 4 of the 21 finalists :(

November 14th, 2006, 07:26 PM
The Pantheon in Rome didn't make the Top 77 -- but the "EYE" ferris wheel in London did :confused: :confused: :confused:

November 14th, 2006, 09:46 PM
^HA! Hilarious! (or sad really)

I would've thought Greece and Rome would dominate such a list but apparantly not.

I find it somewhat surprising that not a single skyscraper made it.

And Stonehenge? Give me a break, the UK has a dozen places worthier of this list.

June 27th, 2007, 10:54 AM
Yahoo! News
June 27, 2007

House wants Statue of Liberty crown open

Associated Press Writer

http://d.yimg.com/us.yimg.com/p/ap/20070626/capt.abb64318f3434545978e6cfb1b909c63.statue_of_li berty_wx105.jpg
A close up of the Statue of Liberty is seen in this undated photo.

WASHINGTON - The House is prodding parks officials to reopen the crown of the Statue of Liberty to the public — a step the government says is too dangerous.

Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., for the second year in a row added an amendment to a spending bill giving the National Park Service $1 million to study how to safely reopen the staircase to the statue's crown — something prohibited since the 2001 terror attacks.

"I'm not going to stop pushing on it and I think it's reasonable to expect that sooner or later they're going to have to answer," he said.

Tuesday's amendment, passed Tuesday by voice vote, does not force the park service to reopen the statue, and the agency has claimed the tightly packed, 168-step spiral metal staircase is a fire hazard and a terror risk.

Tourists are now allowed only as far as the pedestal, at Lady Liberty's toes.

The Weiner amendment redirects $1 million in funding from the Interior Department to the park service, which could use the money for safety improvements at the statue or for other purposes.

Last year after passage of a similar bill, the park service said safety did not permit the crown to be reopened. Weiner said that since then he has not been told what, if anything, was done with the money he set aside.

The lawmaker said the park service should listen to the advice of Congress and "restore the Statue of Liberty to her full glory."

National Park Service officials did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The statue, which sits on 12-acre Liberty Island in New York Harbor, was shut down after Sept. 11, 2001. After spending $20 million on security and safety improvements, the government reopened the statue in 2004.

New security measures included a bomb detection device that blows air into clothing and then checks for particles of explosives residue. Bomb-sniffing dogs also have been seen at the site.

The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886 and was designated a national monument in 1924. It was restored for its centennial on July 4, 1986. Its torch has been closed since 1916.

Copyright © 2007 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.

June 27th, 2007, 11:16 AM
i dont see why it isnt open, you are screened twice with airport style gates and a weird machine that blows air at you to see if anything is stuck to your body. and you must take everything out of your pockets.

I think the main danger at the statue is an attack on the circle line boats from outwith or someone parking their boat at the side of the statue at high tide and jumping over the fence so imo you should be allowed in the crown.

July 6th, 2007, 09:46 AM
AM New York
July 6, 2007

Lady Liberty misses ' 7 Wonders' cut


The Great Wall of China, the Colosseum in Rome and Peru's Machu Picchu are leading contenders to be among the new seven wonders of the world, but the Statue of Liberty is languishing in the bottom 10.

Lady Liberty is in good company, though: Stonehenge and the Kremlin are struggling, too.

The final round of an international poll draws to a close at 8 tonight, and 90 million people from every country in the world have voted by Internet or phone, according to representatives for the "New 7 Wonders of the World" campaign. Votes are still coming in, although the field has been narrowed to 20 candidates. The winners will be announced tomorrow in Lisbon.

"There are not many things that could bring the world together like global culture ... this is really something that every single person in the world can be interested in," said Tia Viering, spokeswoman for the group. The Web site is www.new7wonders.com.

Others among the top 10: the Acropolis in Greece, Chichen Itza pyramid in Mexico, the Eiffel Tower in Paris, Easter Island, Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, the Taj Mahal in India and Jordan's ancient city of Petra.

The Great Pyramids of Giza are the only surviving structures from the traditional list of the seven wonders of the ancient world, which was derived from lists of marvels compiled by ancient Greek observers, the best-known being Antipater of Sidon, a writer in the 2nd century B.C. The pyramids' status was assured after Egyptian officials said it was a disgrace they had to compete for a spot, so there will be eight wonders of the world when the new list is complete.

Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber began the campaign in 1999, with almost 200 nominations from around the world. The list was narrowed to 21 by the start of last year, then Giza was taken out of the running when it was given an automatic spot.

The six original sites that no longer exist, concentrated in the Mediterranean and Middle East, are the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Statue of Zeus at Olympia, the Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, the Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, the Colossus of Rhodes and the Pharos lighthouse off Alexandria.

Weber's Switzerland-based foundation says it aims to promote cultural diversity by supporting, preserving and restoring monuments.

Copyright 2007 AM New York

July 6th, 2007, 10:47 PM
7 wonders, really?

July 9th, 2007, 06:29 PM
Really stupid. This contest and the new seven wonders will be forgotten in a week. Even the old seven wonders were not really representative, just a local affair of the Near East, as they left China and India and lots of other places that surely had spectacular sites.

August 10th, 2007, 08:55 AM

Lady Liberty to break free of lines; reopening uncertain

By Jennifer Milne and Joe Orovic

Fanning herself in the late morning sun, Ana Brouman checked her watch. “The wait isn’t that bad, but it’s the heat,” she said, counting how many people were in front of her in line. Brouman was on her second visit to the city in 34 years, leaving behind San Diego sun for a bit of New York heat. “Last time I came here, I waited a good 20 minutes to see the Statue of Liberty. Today doesn’t seem so bad.”

About 20 people waited in line — not a small number considering it was a Monday morning. And while eagerly waiting to visit the big green lady on Liberty Island, some felt a bit cheated. A disheveled Brooklyn native who called himself “Chuck” asked the crowd, “What’s the point? You can’t go to the top!” A middle-aged couple confirmed this with others before leaving for an early lunch at the Carnegie Deli.

But things may be looking up for Lady Liberty’s visitors. The era of waiting in line should soon be over and, if U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner of Brooklyn has his way, her crown will be reopened as well.

After 9/11, the statue was completely closed for security reasons. In August 2004, the pedestal of the monument reopened, with the statue closed. Today, visitors can access the pedestal observation deck, promenade and museum, but cannot go in the copper structure itself.

Rep. Weiner is hoping to get the statue back to pre-Sept. 11 status. He introduced a bill called “Save the Statue of Liberty Act” in the House, proposing the National Park Service make the safety upgrades necessary to re-open the crown and its observation deck. Weiner’s bill unanimously passed the House on June 26.

“One of the things that he proposed would be to allow access to the crown to small groups,” said Eric Koch, Weiner’s aide. Koch said his boss has proposed limiting the amount of people that can go up. “We’re trying to do it the same way you do the Washington Monument.”

In a press release dated July 4, Weiner announced Congressional hearings to determine why the statue is still closed after all these years, and what can be done to make it available to visitors.

Darren Boch, a National Park Service spokesperson, said the agency has worked with a number of architectural engineering firms, all of which have confirmed that the area inside the statue, between observation deck and crown, does not meet the minimum health and safety standards, or the building codes of New York City.

“At the end of the day, there’s just not enough room in that portion of the statue from the deck to the crown,” Boch said. “We’ve had studies tell us it would be extremely difficult and expensive to open the crown without altering the structure itself.”

As for Rep. Weiner’s proposed small-groups plan, Boch said the N.P.S. would need to look into it further.

“We’d have to do an assessment to see if that would be allowed under current laws,” Boch said. “If he wants to allocate funds for an assessment, we’d be happy to look at it.”

But none of this politicking matters much to the folks who have to wait in line on a steamy summer day.

“Dammit,” said a frustrated Brouman, still in line, waiting longer than she had expected. “How long will this take?”

For Brouman and countless others waiting to see Lady Liberty, the long lines to pick up tickets may be a thing of the past.

Circle Line, which ran the Liberty Island ferry service, lost the route to Statue Cruises, a division of Hornblower Cruises and Events, which signed a 10-year contract July 26. Hornblower is a California-based company that offers boat tours in San Francisco, Berkeley, Marina del Rey, San Diego and Newport Beach, including the cruise to Alcatraz Island.

Statue Cruises has some big plans in store for its route, and online ticketing may be the biggest improvement. While Circle Line did allow reservations to be made online, Statue Cruises plans to update the program so that waits are no more than an hour.

“Having an online reservations system is one key element for reducing lines,” said Tegan Firth, a spokesperson for Hornblower Cruises. “One of the features [gives] … people the option to print their tickets at home and just arrive. They can bypass the initial ticket pickup line entirely and go straight to the security line.”

Hornblower C.E.O. Terry MacRae told the Associated Press on July 26 that the company would be taking over the route from the Circle Line on Oct. 2. But Firth said last week that the firm is still negotiating with Circle Line and does not have an exact turnover date.

The uncertain date for the switch has left some tourists confused. In an online travel forum, Trip Advisor, RosDurhamUK wrote: “I am trying to book online for the ferry for October 11th. I have tried to use the link at the side of the forum about New York Attractions. I have tried various other links and I keep getting the Circle Line site and when I put in my date – its coming up with invalid tour date. What am I doing wrong?”

For travelers that have already booked trips to New York City, Firth recommends checking the company’s Web site, www.statuecruises.com, frequently.

“The only advice I can really offer is to keep checking both Web sites [Statue Cruises and Circle Line],” Firth said. “At some point, hopefully soon, the official start date will be resolved. Either we will or Circle Line will release tickets for after Oct. 1.”

As part of the new, improved cruises to the island, Statue Cruises also plans to have presentations about immigrant history and podcasts for all visitors, which may leave the statue’s visitors wondering what happened to just waiting in line.

“Well, that’s nice,” said Alice Cummings, 74, after hearing about the new tech-friendly ride. “That means she can do all the work from now on,” she said, pointing to her granddaughter Stefanie, who was visiting the statue for the first time.

The security line tents in Battery Park have long been criticized as an eyesore and there have been periodic discussions about moving it to Pier A. The city recently got control back of the pier which may mean a reopening of the talks.

Warrie Price, president of the Battery Conservancy, won’t miss the long lines that typically snake around the park. She hopes that Statue Cruises’ new online reservations and print-at-home feature will help.

“We are hopeful that the visitors will be better served with online reservation ticketing,” Price said in an e-mail. “In the past most of the lines in the park were due to the security system after you have a ticket. But having a timed ticket should help this situation. We [the Battery Conservancy] will continue to give the visitors beautiful gardens to see, and walk through, on their way to the Statue.”

But for Rep. Weiner, a new and improved waiting line doesn’t matter if Lady Liberty remains shuttered.

“What’s the point of this new line if it’ll go to the same closed Statue?” asked a spokesperson for Weiner.

September 19th, 2007, 03:33 AM
For Safety, Lady Liberty’s Crown Will Stay Closed, Park Service Says.

The New York Times
By SEWELL CHAN (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/c/sewell_chan/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: September 19, 2007
The National Park Service (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/national_park_service/index.html?inline=nyt-org) said yesterday that it had no intention of reopening the Statue of Liberty’s crown, which has been closed since the 9/11 attack. Federal officials said that public access to the top of the statue would pose a potentially catastrophic fire hazard.Our primary concerns about public access to the Statue of Liberty’s crown are safety and health concerns, not terrorism,” Daniel N. Wenk, the deputy director of the park service, said at a Congressional hearing on the subject, the first in the six years the crown has been closed. Representative Anthony D. Weiner (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/w/anthony_d_weiner/index.html?inline=nyt-per), a Democrat who represents parts of Queens and Brooklyn, helped persuade the House of Representatives to pass a nonbinding and largely symbolic resolution in June directing $1 million toward the reopening of the crown. He also helped arrange for the hearing yesterday, which was led by Representative Raúl M. Grijalva, an Arizona Democrat and chairman of the Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands, part of the House Committee on Natural Resources. Liberty Island was closed to the public after the 9/11 attacks. The statue’s base reopened to the public on Aug. 3, 2004, after a $20 million effort to improve fire safety, security and evacuation routes. The park service faced criticism for delays in reopening the base and for relying heavily on a private group, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, to raise money for the project.Mr. Wenk said the statue’s creator, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, “never intended or designed the Statue of Liberty as something to enter or climb.” Only after it opened in 1886 did the War Department — the predecessor to the Defense Department — begin letting “curiosity seekers” inside the sculpture, Mr. Wenk said. The statue’s torch was closed in 1916.When the park service began administering the statue in 1933, Mr. Wenk said, there were less than 200,000 visitors. Last year, more than 2.5 million people visited Liberty Island.
The crown of the statue is accessible only by a very narrow, double-helix spiral staircase with a low guardrail. The staircase was intended for periodic use by maintenance workers, Mr. Wenk said, “not for heavy, daily use” by the public. The staircase does not meet any local, state or federal fire and building codes. Even for people in peak physical condition, climbing the 12-story-high staircase is a challenge, he said, adding: “A key danger is that once a visitor begins the climb, turning back before reaching the crown is nearly impossible. Each person is blocked by hundreds of people in front and behind.” Mr. Wenk even invoked several catastrophic fires in the past — at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York in 1911, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston in 1942, and the Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., in 2003 — to argue that the federal government must put public safety first.
Short of building a 22-story tower with a new staircase next to the statue “and cutting through the Statue of Liberty’s copper skin to build a bridge” to the tower, there is no way to provide a safe exit from the statue’s interior consistent with fire and building codes, Mr. Wenk said. He called such a tower an “unacceptable option.”Advocacy groups that have called for reopening the crown did not appear to be persuaded by Mr. Wenk’s arguments. Alexander Brash, the Northeast regional director of the National Parks Conservation Association, said in a statement that “Americans should have the right to visit every nook and cranny of our National Park System.” He said the disagreement underscored the need for more parks funding. Mr. Weiner, who climbed the 162 steps to the crown during a private tour last week, said in a statement that the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation had raised more than $500 million from donors, many of whom expected that their money would go toward reopening the crown. The annual number of visitors to the statue has declined by 44 percent since 2000, he said, adding that he believed the fire safety and security concerns could be addressed. “To keep Lady Liberty closed defies the will of the American people,” he said at the hearing, adding, “It really does bow to the desires of the terrorists.” Mr. Wenk said the park service was focused on improving the educational value of visits to the statue. About 22 percent of visitors to the statue now participate in parks programs that discuss the statue’s history, compared with less than 3 percent before 2001, he said. Mr. Wenk did not rule out the possibility that the statue could be declared exempt from fire and building codes and that the crown could be reopened to small groups of visitors on a limited basis, a possibility that several lawmakers have raised.

October 21st, 2007, 11:14 PM
Michelle Au on Flickr
October 13, 2007


November 8th, 2007, 04:20 AM
New Ticket to Lady Liberty

By ANTHONY RAMIREZ (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/r/anthony_ramirez/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
Published: November 8, 2007

The company that will replace the Circle Line, which has provided ferry service to the Statue of Liberty for more than half a century, has begun selling tickets online for trips in January.

In June, the National Park Service (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/n/national_park_service/index.html?inline=nyt-org), which oversees Liberty Island and other national monuments, selected Hornblower Yachts, a California company that provides ferry service to Alcatraz Island, the former federal prison site in San Francisco Bay.

In 2006, 4.2 million visitors took the ferry to Liberty and Ellis Islands from Manhattan, a drop of nearly a quarter from the 5.5 million in 2000. The decrease resulted in part from the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, which necessitated increased security.

The price of a ticket timed to a specific day rose recently to $12 from $11.50; it will remain at that level in January. But in a telephone interview this week, Terry MacRae, the chief executive of Hornblower, said that beginning in January, visitors will also be able to buy more flexible tickets on the company’s new Web site, www.statuecruises.com (http://www.statuecruises.com/).

For example, Mr. MacRae said, visitors to the statue will be able to buy a ticket good for any time over a period of three days.

Circle Line will continue to provide the ferry service until January. Mr. MacRae said the transition to his company was still taking place. The two companies, for example, were still working on the acquisition of Circle Line’s fleet of seven boats, a condition of the federal contract. By January, Hornblower may temporarily charter four boats, with a total seating capacity of 3,200 passengers.

Some changes will be immediate, he said. The food on board will be expanded to juices and wrap sandwiches and similar fare from the menu of hot dogs and pretzels. Podcasts about the statue will also be available, with an expanded audio tour provided later in the year.

When Hornblower acquires all of the Circle Line fleet, it may refurbish most or all of the boats, adding large plasma television screens and other audio-visual equipment, as on Hornblower’s Alcatraz tours.

Critics, including Representative Anthony D. Weiner (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/w/anthony_d_weiner/index.html?inline=nyt-per), a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, had objected to what they called Circle Line’s inadequate service and said Hornblower represented “a fresh start.”

November 8th, 2007, 08:37 AM
Hornblower Yachts (the company which will operate the ferries) has a terrific fleet of ships (http://www.hornblower.com/fleet.asp?port=sf) that they use in SF Bay ...

November 8th, 2007, 11:47 AM
Yes the SF boats look really nice, but it looks like the Circle Line boats will be purchased by the new carrier.

November 15th, 2007, 07:11 AM
“We’d have to do an assessment to see if that would be allowed under current laws,”
It isn't; any architect can tell you that. They don't need to waste money doing an assessment. They need to legislate an exception. There are plenty of buildings that don't meet today's building codes, which are constantly being ratcheted upwards.

Since I deal with codes professionally, nonconformity hits me in the face when I see it. I'd estimate that between 80 and 95 percent of Manhattan's buildings don't meet today's code (actually, last year's new sprinkler requirement alone probably bumps the figure even higher).

What's the big deal? The vast majority of new buildings will never be as safe as we can imagine them. Reopen the Statue, post a notice at the entrance stating that the building doesn't meet safety codes, and let people decide for themselves whether to go up. Climbing Mt. Everest isn't safe either, and they issued a climbing permit to a blind man.

Parks Department is a bunch of nattering nannies.

January 13th, 2008, 06:47 PM
Cool photo (http://www.shorpy.com/files/images/00057u.preview.jpg) of Liberty from 1908 ...


BIG image HERE (http://www.shorpy.com/node/1749)


January 22nd, 2008, 07:25 AM
i haven't been there yet,is that hardson river?in the movie <national treasure> it's dark and dirty,is that right?i live by Yangtze river in china,the water it's terrible,mn.

NYC,a big big city,i'll be there.

January 22nd, 2008, 01:45 PM
The HUDSON River, which can be both dark and dirty, but is much cleaner than it was 20+ years ago.

Not many boats on the Hudson ...

Do you have lots of boats on the Yangtze River near where you live?

January 22nd, 2008, 02:06 PM
The HUDSON River, which can be both dark and dirty, but is much cleaner than it was 20+ years ago.

Not many boats on the Hudson ...

Do you have lots of boats on the Yangtze River near where you live?

sorry for my bad spelling,i'm a guide i always talk not good at writing.

we have lots of boats on Yangtze river,mostly are tour cruises,u might heard about Viking or Victoria,they have a lot boats there.

my city,chungking,which is also a BIG BIG city,32'000'000 ppl live there.yes,your eyes are ok,that's 32'000'000.the city's been poluted terriblly cause there are too many cars and too much industry there.well,i guess like NYC,it's now getting better.

we like spicy,i bet u won't like it.

January 22nd, 2008, 02:48 PM
I like spicy food -- in NYC it seems that Sezchaun or Hunan is the spiciest Chinese food.

Wow, 32,000,000 in one city! That's almost how many people are in the whole state of California -- and 2x as many in the whole state of New York.

Do you get along with all of your neighbors?

January 23rd, 2008, 02:08 AM
i live in outskirt of the city.and our spicy is not the type u guys are use to,stronger than Mexcan.

but u guys might not know in Guangzhou,another big city in southern china near by Hongkong,there's also a Liberty statue standing in a park there.it's just the same as the one in NYC but maybe 10X smaller.that's a memorial thing for Dr,Sun Yetsan's early revelution in 1900's.

this statue was sent from U.S.in 1920's by KuoMintung (the Nationalist Party of China) U.S.sub orginization.she's also holding a book in her left hand,that's the first constitution of China,right hand is a torch symbolizes "liberty enlightening the people".

i can't upload large images,here are some attachments pix of that one in china.the glasses man in #3 pic is the current chairman of Kuomintung in Taiwan. that was the first official visit to mainland china after 1949.

January 23rd, 2008, 02:19 AM
Another version of China's Statue of Liberty (http://www.cryptome.cn/tk/tiananmen-kill.htm) ...


July 4th, 2008, 08:26 PM
Statue of Liberty's crown may reopen to public

By COLLEEN LONG, Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK, July 4, 2008 - The National Park Service is considering reopening Lady Liberty's crown for the first time since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to documents a congressman released on July Fourth.

The park service requested bids last month to study what it would take to safely open the
Statue of Liberty's iconic headpiece to the public, according to documents released by U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.

Liberty Island was closed after the terrorist attacks. The statue's base, pedestal and lower observation deck reopened in August 2004, after a $20 million effort to enhance fire safety.
But the crown and its interior observation deck, which soar about 265 feet above New York Harbor, remained closed because the Park Service said there was no way to evacuate them safely in an emergency. The narrow spiral staircase that leads up to the crown doesn't comply with fire and building codes.

Visitors are now limited to the statue's 154-foot-tall pedestal.

Weiner, a member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, helped arrange a congressional hearing in September on reopening the crown.
He said keeping the observation deck shuttered hurts the city's economy: Since the crown closed, the number of visitors to Lady Liberty has dropped 44 percent, from 3.6 million in 2000 to 2.5 million in 2006.

"The bureaucracy which had stubbornly refused to open the crown is finally moved in the right direction," Weiner said Friday. "Today's news means that America is one step closer to providing what everyone wants: safe access to the heights of Lady Liberty."

The Park Service said in a statement Friday that several architectural and engineering firms have assessed visitor access since the attacks, and that all concluded the area from the pedestal to the crown doesn't meet safety codes.

The newest Park Service survey, sent to nearly 800 security firms, asks them to prepare plans that address whether the statue can be updated to meet fire safety codes, and, if not, how the service can minimize safety risks there.

The deadline for submitting proposals is Wednesday, and the plans would be finalized by January 2009, Weiner said. The House recently agreed to provide $1 million to help fund the work; it wasn't immediately clear Friday whether the Senate would do the same.

The Park Service said the staircase to the observation deck was installed for maintenance workers, not for sightseers. When it was open, rangers responded to emergencies almost daily, especially in summer heat.

Sightseers suffered heat exhaustion, shortness of breath, panic attacks, claustrophobia and fear of heights, the service said.

"The statue's designer, Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, never intended visitors to ascend to the crown," spokesman Darren Boch said.

The crown is the only National Park Service site that hasn't reopened since the 2001 attacks. The Park Service oversees such sites as the Washington Monument and Mount Rushmore.

A gift from France to the United States, the Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886.

* * *

There's no way to make the Statue safe in a fire, just as there's no way to make skiing safe, or climbing Mount Everest --or driving, for that matter. If warned, a mature adult can decide whether the risk is worth it to him.

July 4th, 2008, 09:00 PM
Yeah, to me, it was stupid to go visit it if no one was allowed access to the crown or the torch!

We're slowly getting stuff back since the officials began living in fear of terrorists!!:mad:

July 10th, 2008, 05:38 AM
Yeah, to me, it was stupid to go visit it if no one was allowed access to the crown or the torch!

We're slowly getting stuff back since the officials began living in fear of terrorists!!:mad:

I don't suppose you happened to see how narrow, small and steep those stairs were?

That such stairs wouldn't have a prayer of evacuating everyone effectively in the case of a disaster of any sort?

Or that your as good as dead if you have a personal medical emergency because EMT couldn't get up there timely?

Actually, how about the fact those stairs weren't supposed to be used by thousands of people (many of whom like to deface the skin and armatures) a day?

This has nothing, or at least a lot less than you suggest, with terrorism.

July 10th, 2008, 08:20 AM
This has nothing, or at least a lot less than you suggest, with terrorism.maybe but.....if not, why did they allow it to go on for years and years, and
not close it down till the attacks?

July 10th, 2008, 07:55 PM
Access was beginning to be limited in 1998. The crown would be closed by now, 9/11 or no.

July 10th, 2008, 08:37 PM
That contemplated closure of Liberty's crown (during the Giuliani era) was also terrorist-related, as under the rule of RG (pre-9/11) all sorts of controls on city life began to appear.

Witness the fencing & gating of City Hall Park and the security perimeter put into effect around the steps of City hall -- where citizens used to have free and unfettered access to the halls of power, but under Giuliani were compelled to offer a "reason" for getting close to City Hall (aside from being an interested and concerned citizen).

Witness also the Giuliani security bunker which was built inside the former 7 WTC -- whose collapse on 9/11 was precipitated by the explosion of massive fuel tanks which were constructed within the building to serve the Giuliani bunker.

July 11th, 2008, 02:46 AM
I don't suppose you happened to see how narrow, small and steep those stairs were?

That such stairs wouldn't have a prayer of evacuating everyone effectively in the case of a disaster of any sort?

Or that your as good as dead if you have a personal medical emergency because EMT couldn't get up there timely?

Actually, how about the fact those stairs weren't supposed to be used by thousands of people (many of whom like to deface the skin and armatures) a day?

This has nothing, or at least a lot less than you suggest, with terrorism.

Are you suggesting that there should be nowhere on earth that is inaccessible to very large people and EMTs?? :confused:

That public monuments should only be accessible to a priviledged few?? :mad:

That, following the Spet. 11 atrocities, some people dind't go into paranoid overdrive and/or use it as an excuse to go "lock-down" on all our collective asses?? :(

Really?? :rolleyes:

July 11th, 2008, 07:15 AM
Mount Everest should be closed to climbers because it's dangerous. Ski resorts should be shut down till they can figure out how to make skiing safe. And Interstate highways ...


July 13th, 2008, 11:30 PM
Are you suggesting that there should be nowhere on earth that is inaccessible to very large people and EMTs?? :confused:

That public monuments should only be accessible to a priviledged few?? :mad:

That, following the Spet. 11 atrocities, some people dind't go into paranoid overdrive and/or use it as an excuse to go "lock-down" on all our collective asses?? :(

Really?? :rolleyes:

The Statue of Liberty does not meet ANY fire or safety codes. City, state, or federal. That's why access to the statue herself is closed to visitors, and the monument writ large is limited to 3,000 visitors a day. It would be a disaster, whatever the cause, if something happened with thousands of people in there. These concerns were in place BEFORE 9/11.

July 14th, 2008, 03:05 AM

She's been here with folks climbing around inside her for over 100 years.

Any horrid incidents during that time?

July 14th, 2008, 07:15 AM
The Statue of Liberty does not meet ANY fire or safety codes. City, state, or federal.
It shares this trait with most old buildings that haven't been altered.

It would be a disaster, whatever the cause, if something happened with thousands of people in there.
It would be a disaster if a cruise ship hit an iceberg --whether or not it met the latest safety codes.

A prominently posted warning should suffice. Then --with us apprised of the risk-- the nannies could let us decide for ourselves:

http://img143.imageshack.us/img143/3050/casignte4.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Maybe they should put signs on beaches to warn of cancer and sharks.

July 14th, 2008, 10:36 AM
....with thousands of people in there When has there ever been "thousands" of people inside the statue at one time?:confused:

July 14th, 2008, 10:59 AM
When has there ever been "thousands" of people inside the statue at one time?:confused:

Perhaps an exaggeration. My point remains: WAY too many people, WAY too small a space.

Any horrid incidents during that time?

There've been a few falls, a few heart attacks... two women went into labor...

July 14th, 2008, 11:47 AM
My point remains: WAY too many people, WAY too small a space.

Ever been to Belvedere Castle overlooking the Turtle Pond / Great Lawn in Central Park?

The stairway to the top fits your description -- no way more than one person can go Up < > Down at the same time (although being made of stone it's unlikey to cause the visitors to burn to death).

July 14th, 2008, 02:46 PM
Ever been to Belvedere Castle overlooking the Turtle Pond / Great Lawn in Central Park?

The stairway to the top fits your description -- no way more than one person can go Up < > Down at the same time (although being made of stone it's unlikey to cause the visitors to burn to death).

True, but Belvedere Castle isn't anywhere near as famous/converged on...

Okay, guys... I really didn't want to kick a hornet's nest here. I'm just explaining the logic behind the decision and would rather not go further... I don't want to jeopardize my employment or the board's civility on this.

January 23rd, 2009, 01:29 PM
By BRIAN THOMPSON (http://www.nbcnewyork.com/results/?keywords=%22BRIAN+THOMPSON%22&author=y)
Updated 12:25 PM EST, Fri, Jan 23, 2009
Visitors to Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty will once again be able to climb the 354 steps from the base of the Statue of Liberty to the iconic crown that overlooks New York Harbor, the Obama administration is expected to announce Friday.
After Sept. 11, access to the crown was closed as a security measure, along with the rest of the Statue and Liberty Island.
When the island and base of the statue were reopened several years later, the crown remained closed. U.S. Park officials said the narrow spiral stairway first built for worker access was a danger for anyone suffering an injury or other medical event, such as a heart attack.
In addition, a 1999 internal study found that if there were a fire in the pedestal, the interior of the statue would act like a chimney, with smoke suffocating anyone on the stairs.
However, several politicians, including New York Congressman Anthony Weiner have pushed for reopening the crown to visitors, and have proposed a plan that would allow perhaps 10 at a time to make the climb.
Obama's new Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, is expected to approve some version of such a plan in a surprise visit to Liberty Island at 12 p.m. on Friday. A final decision will not be made until officials review of the report due in April, according to a Park Service official.
There is still a concern that with as many as 20,000 visitors to the island on summer weekends, there is a concern such a system will create "bad feelings" by creating "haves and have nots," a park official told NBCNewYork.com.

January 23rd, 2009, 01:31 PM
there is a concern such a system will create "bad feelings" by creating "haves and have nots," a park official told NBCNewYork.com.Better to create some "Haves" than to continue making Everybody "Have Nots"

January 23rd, 2009, 02:21 PM
It 's about time. The safety issue is no more persuasive here than on a ski slope or a rock climbing expedition. Warn people of the dangers, and leave the decision to them.

Btw, ten at a time is not enough; it should be several times that.

When I went years ago, there was one person on each stair tread going up, and one on each one coming down. At 354 steps each way, that means there were close to 700 people inside the statue amid great good cheer and merriment.

Pleasant experience --and I couldn't have cared less about the reputed hazards. Every time I get in a car I'm doing something dangerous. How many people have been killed inside the Statue of Liberty?

Now, if someone flew a plane into it with that many folks inside ...

January 23rd, 2009, 04:36 PM
Having worked at the statue for two summers I can say its about time they were forced to open it. There is so much security to get into the pedestal (two airport style scans and an air puffer to see if you have anything attached to your body) that it is almost impossible to get any kind of explosive in there. The statue already has the time pass system where you need a pass with an allocated time to get in the pedestal. Just create another pass that includes the crown. No big deal. Of course I can get in anytime I want :)

January 24th, 2009, 11:54 AM
It 's about time. The safety issue is no more persuasive here than on a ski slope or a rock climbing expedition. Warn people of the dangers, and leave the decision to them.

Btw, ten at a time is not enough; it should be several times that.

When I went years ago, there was one person on each stair tread going up, and one on each one coming down. At 354 steps each way, that means there were close to 700 people inside the statue amid great good cheer and merriment.

Pleasant experience --and I couldn't have cared less about the reputed hazards. Every time I get in a car I'm doing something dangerous. How many people have been killed inside the Statue of Liberty?

Absolutely. The nanny state mentality that has become so pervasive in our culture today has got to go.

February 11th, 2009, 10:42 AM
Heaven`s Gate (John) (http://flickr.com/photos/59303791@N00/216791217/in/set-72157604890401354/)

February 11th, 2009, 05:50 PM
Thanks very very much for all of the pictures of the Statue of Liberty & all of the posts about the Statue of Liberty.

March 31st, 2009, 02:31 PM
Pleasant experience --and I couldn't have cared less about the reputed hazards. Every time I get in a car I'm doing something dangerous. How many people have been killed inside the Statue of Liberty?


Two suicides, two heart attacks, and a stroke. I will confirm with my sources about this, but I do not currently have access to the book I read this in. Women have also gone into labor. These accidents all happened because the staff could reach the victims for over an hour as the narrow stairs are choked with visitors and there is no room for an emergency elevator. We had upwards of two to three medical evacs a day.

There have also been non-lethal heart attacks and strokes, asthma attacks, panic attacks, claustrophobia, fainting, vomiting, dehydration... I could go on. Does this REALLY sound endurable for a platform ten feet wide that can only hold six to eight people?

This phenomenon is utterly heartbreaking for me. As odd as it sounds, the Statue as saved an inspired me numerous times. I would not be the person I am today without her.

People come to me from all over the world, and all they want to talk to me about is a staircase. Not the symbolism, meaning, history, importance... just the staircase. That's all they care about, a staircase. It's even happening to this thread. That is a tragedy.

I partly blame Weiner's obsession with the crown for this. The way he talks about the "iconic staircase" in the STATUE OF LIBERTY shows a problem with perspective IMHO.
The problems facing the city, state, nation and world are well beyond the scope of this.

As a ranger, all I can say is that it is actually "MAY," not "WILL" at this point. I'm aware of ideas that have been proposed for access but cannot share them at the present. A study is being conducted and we should know in a few weeks. If my supervisors okay it, I'll report it ASAP.

March 31st, 2009, 06:15 PM
Wouldnt it get incredibly hot inside the statue in the summer? I know how hot and humid it can be on that island.

Brad did they disassemble the tent yet?

March 31st, 2009, 06:38 PM
Wouldnt it get incredibly hot inside the statue in the summer? I know how hot and humid it can be on that island.

Brad did they disassemble the tent yet?

It'd be a broiler. 80* out? She'd be over 100*.

If you mean the long rectangular tent right in front of the visitor's entrance to Fort Wood... nope, still there.

March 31st, 2009, 07:05 PM
I heard they were getting rid of the gift shop there.

March 31st, 2009, 07:17 PM
No, it's still part gift shop, part screening-line shelter. They took an animotronic Bartholdi out recently, though.

March 31st, 2009, 07:29 PM
Oh yeah! That thing was freaky. I prefer the actor Bartholdi, great guy.

March 31st, 2009, 09:39 PM
Glenn's awesome. Very talented and motivated about his work.

April 4th, 2009, 09:02 PM
They should close all the ski slopes. Didn't that actress just die on one?

April 5th, 2009, 07:15 PM
...how does a wide open natural space relate to a tiny staircase in a structure?

The obsession with opening the crown is disturbing. I've had people openly tell me they would take their whole family up "In a heartbeat!" even if there was obvious disaster looming. There is NOTHING worth risking your life up there. People act like a grand moment of transcendence is being missed. You see her armpit and Brooklyn... maybe Manhattan and the Verrazano Narrows if you crane your head right. That's about it. The view from the Empire State Building and Rockefeller Center is far nicer.

Those stairs were NEVER meant for visitor access. They are for maintenance. Bartholdi never imagined the kind of traffic we subjected her (and those on the stairs) to. What happened was that someone decided to let people up in the late 19th century, when she was a bit of a novelty. She only became the huge draw (and symbol) she is now after the war effort. So by 2009, people thought it was always the intent. It's not. It never was. I have had people tell me the sole purpose of the Statue of Liberty is that staircase. The way people go on about getting up there, I worry its a common belief.

And people are missing a finer point, I think. We're talking about select groups. Select groups entering the Statue of Liberty. You cannot get more antithesis to the ideals she means than that.

April 5th, 2009, 07:45 PM
You cant wrap everyone up in cotton wool. Every single place on this earth is a death trap in one way or another. People want to go up there, so let them. Its their choice to take the risk. People are probably safer in the crown than in the subway or on the street.

May 8th, 2009, 11:08 AM
New York Times
May 8, 2009

Statue of Liberty’s Crown Will Reopen July 4

By Sewell Chan


The Statue of Liberty’s crown, which was closed after the 9/11 attacks, will reopen to the public on July 4, the White House announced on Friday morning. The decision, by the Obama administration, is a reversal of the previous policy.

Under the Bush administration, the Interior Department, which includes the National Park Service, had insisted that visitors could not be permitted because the crown — reachable only by a very narrow, 12-story-high spiral staircase with a low guardrail — did not meet modern fire, building and safety codes.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar formally announced the decision at a news conference at 9 a.m. on Ellis Island. “On July 4, we are giving America a special gift,” Mr. Salazar said.

Ten people will be allowed to occupy the crown at any one time, he said, and they anticipate that will allow for 30 visitors an hour. He estimated that 50,000 people would be able to visit the crown in the first year and that the number would be increased later to 100,000 a year. The visitors to the crown will be chosen by lottery.

The decision to reopen the crown is a significant victory for Representative Anthony D. Weiner, a Queens Democrat who has been arguably the most vocal proponent of giving the public access to the crown.

The statue’s torch was closed in 1916 after being damaged by a saboteur’s bomb. The entire statue, including the crown, was closed after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

The base of the statue reopened to the public on Aug. 3, 2004, after a $20 million effort to improve fire safety, security and evacuation routes. (The park service faced criticism for its delays in reopening the base and for relying heavily on a private group, the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, to raise money for the project.) But federal officials said the crown could not be safely reopened because of the difficulty of evacuating people in an emergency.

In a five-page letter [pdf] in August 2006, Fran P. Mainella, the director of the park service at the time, told Mr. Weiner that federal experts had been concerned, as early as 2000, that allowing the public in the crown was unsafe because of the lack of exit options. Ms. Mainella told Mr. Weiner that the park service was committed to expanding the number of visitors to the monument and to broadening access to an interpretive program about the statue.

Nonetheless, Mr. Weiner continued to press his case, calling for hearings and using the appropriations process to try to cajole the Park Service to take up the matter.

At a Congressional hearing in September 2007, Daniel N. Wenk, a deputy director of the Park Service, said the statue’s creator, Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, “never intended or designed the Statue of Liberty as something to enter or climb.” Only after it opened in 1886 did the War Department — the predecessor to the Defense Department — begin letting “curiosity seekers” inside the sculpture, Mr. Wenk said.

When the park service began administering the statue in 1933, Mr. Wenk said, there were fewer than 200,000 visitors. In 2006, more than 2.5 million people visited Liberty Island.

The narrow spiral staircase leading to the crown was intended for periodic use by maintenance workers, Mr. Wenk said at the time, “not for heavy, daily use” by the public.

Even for people in peak physical condition, climbing the 12-story-high staircase is a challenge, he said, adding: “A key danger is that once a visitor begins the climb, turning back before reaching the crown is nearly impossible. Each person is blocked by hundreds of people in front and behind.”

Mr. Wenk even invoked several catastrophic fires in the past — at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York in 1911, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub in Boston in 1942, and the Station nightclub in West Warwick, R.I., in 2003 — to argue that the federal government must put public safety first.

Short of building a 22-story tower with a new staircase next to the statue “and cutting through the Statue of Liberty’s copper skin to build a bridge” to the tower, there is no way to provide a safe exit from the statue’s interior consistent with fire and building codes, Mr. Wenk said at the hearing. He called such a tower an “unacceptable option.”

Despite those concerns, in June 2008, the Park Service put out requests for bids to assess the safety concerns and to determine what kinds of alterations and restrictions, if any, would make the crown safe for visitors.

And in January of this year, Mr. Salazar climbed the 146 steps to the crown himself, joined by Mr. Weiner, and Representative Albio Sires of New Jersey and Senator Robert Menendez of New Jersey. When Mr. Salazar came down, he said of the experience: “One word: Awesome.” He noted that the study, still under way, was to be completed by mid-April.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company

May 8th, 2009, 03:04 PM
Well, I had a feeling it was coming. Weiner and tourists were so obsessed with this I doubted they'd let it go.

I'll just tell them to be careful what they wish for... I've heard the horror stories from co-workers.

I've been twice, as a visitor and an employee, and it is not as orgasmicly transcendent as Weiner and Salazar make it out to be (and I'm someone who's been obsessed with her since I was 5). It's a small, cramped chamber with airliner windows facing the Brooklyn waterfront. This isn't me saying company line as a (soon to be former) park ranger: it's my honest opinion.

I just feel bad for my former co-workers... with the crush of people, it's going to be a nightmare.

As for me, I'm (ha ha) shipping out to the "Intrepid" come Sunday...

May 8th, 2009, 03:36 PM
Youre missing the point. People dont go for the enjoyment of the space. They want to have been in the crown, no matter how cramped and uncomfortable.

May 8th, 2009, 04:44 PM
^ That's right.

Like the catacombs in Rome.

May 9th, 2009, 12:07 AM
All valid points.

I'm just tired of dealing with the fact it's the freaking STATUE OF LIBERTY, and everyone's... obsessed with going into her, that's all that matters to them. Not the history, the symbolism, the art, the engineering... a f***ing STAIRCASE.

May 9th, 2009, 08:37 AM
...a f***ing STAIRCASE.
...PLUS a marvelous rat's nest of iron engineering by Gustave Eiffel.

May 9th, 2009, 07:19 PM
...PLUS a marvelous rat's nest of iron engineering by Gustave Eiffel.

The aforementioned engineering, yes. :)

I'm seriously worried it's going to be altered for this, though. I understand that there's a sense of thrill, but I don't think it's worth mutilating what is arguably the Eiffel Tower's test run...

May 12th, 2009, 07:28 PM
The big difference is the Eiffel Tower's engineering is pure; it's generated by structural considerations as they were understood at the time. It's so rigorous in its dedication to the truths of mathematics that the Tower weighs less than the column of air defined by its footprint.

By contrast, the Statue of Liberty's engineering is opportunistically dedicated to the practical problem of holding together a pre-existent and arbitrarily non-structural form: the Statue itself. It has nothing in particular to teach students structural theory.

Eiffel's greatness lies in his ability to function in either arena, but there's no question that the Tower is the greater achievement from the standpoint of engineering theory.

July 5th, 2009, 02:16 AM
At Pinnacle of Liberty, Feeling a Bit Confined


For the privilege of being the first people in nearly eight years to climb the 354 steps to the crown of the Statue of Liberty, 30 visitors on the sun-kissed morning of July 4 had to first endure a bit of bureaucracy: red tape and stiff security.

No wonder by the time these huddled masses reached the top of the hot, sticky and narrow staircase, they were indeed yearning to breathe free.
“Absolutely awesome!” declared Tracy Musacchio, 32, of Harlem. But then, upon further reflection, she added, “Intensely uncomfortable.”

A history professor and Egyptologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, Ms. Musacchio likened the claustrophobic experience to being inside an underground chamber of a pyramid.

Some wonders, apparently, do come with strings attached.

The visitors, who paid $3 online for tickets to the national monument and $12 more for the 15-minute ferry ride to Liberty Island, said they had won the chance in various ways to be among the first to ascend to the crown.

Gathering in a room at the base of the statue before 9 a.m., they first had to wait as politicians gathered around real red tape — a giant red ribbon — four of them wielding an oversize pair of scissors.

Ken Salazar, the United States secretary of the interior; Gov. David A. Paterson of New York; Gov. Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey; and Representative Anthony D. Weiner of Brooklyn together cut the ribbon as Mr. Salazar proclaimed, “We are going to open up the crown to the people of America and to the people of the world.”

The statue was closed to the public after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and while the base, the pedestal and the observation deck reopened in 2004, the crown remained closed because of security concerns. For the statue’s reopening on the morning of Independence Day, uniforms were everywhere. Some parts of Liberty Island had the feel of an armed fortress, with officers from the Coast Guard, National Parks Service and the New York Police Departmental Justiceg. Coast Guard cutters and police launches bobbed in the harbor.

Before boarding the ferry at Battery Park in Manhattan, ticket holders had to empty their pockets, open their laptops and pass through magnetometers, only to repeat this experience after they debarked on Liberty Island. There they were herded through large white tents and had to pass through an air sensor that puffed in its search for chemicals, according to a worker.

The well-orchestrated events began just after 8 a.m. with a citizenship ceremony for seven military personnel. The Marine Corps brass band played “God Bless America” and “Amazing Grace,” and Jane Holl Lute, the deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, administered the oath of allegiance.

An hour later, crowds were already assembling at the granite base of the “mighty woman with a torch,” as the poet Emma Lazarus famously wrote.

The torch, soaring about 306 feet above the foundation, has been closed since 1916, when German saboteurs blew up a munitions depot at the nearby Black Tom Wharf in New Jersey.

The first 30 visitors on Saturday waited in the pedestal to climb the narrow, winding stairs, many wearing green foam crowns and holding small American flags. They were directed to the sides of the staircase, watching as news photographers snapped pictures of the ribbon-cutting. After some visitors shook hands with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, they began the dark ascent.

By 10:15, they had returned from the crown, sweat-streaked and a little out of breath. For Erica Breder, the experience had also left her speechless.
That is because when she reached the small room at the top with 25 windows overlooking New York Harbor, her boyfriend of three years, Aaron Weisinger, 26, got down on one knee and proposed marriage.

“I was beyond surprised,” Ms. Breder, 25, said in a telephone interview.

The couple had traveled from Walnut Creek, Calif., for a special weekend that Mr. Weisinger had secretly planned for months. After being shut out online and by phone for July 4 tickets, he wrote to the Statue of Liberty Club asking where he could at least propose on the island. As it happened, the club’s vice president, Brian Snyder, had proposed in the crown, and Mr. Weisinger said he helped him get tickets.

Getting the diamond ring through security without Ms. Breder knowing might have been the most difficult part. Mr. Weisinger said he transferred it from his pocket to a friend’s camera bag at the last moment before going through the second set of detectors.

Mr. Weisinger said his great-grandparents had arrived at Ellis Island after emigrating from Hungary and Russia, while Ms. Breder’s father, Peter, had come to New York from Czechoslovakia. He drove a taxi before bringing his mother and wife over.

“That’s why it was so important,” Ms. Breder said. “It’s the perfect place for both of us.”


July 9th, 2009, 09:11 AM
Stolen Statue of Liberty replica decapitated in chilling video saying 'Death to America'

BY Matthew Lysiak (http://www.nydailynews.com/authors/Matthew%20Lysiak)
Updated Wednesday, July 8th 2009, 10:30 PM

Vox Pop Coffee Shop manager Debi Ryan watches Statue of Liberty video in horror and admits, 'I feel very nervious.'
Lady Liberty disappears from Brooklyn coffee shop (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/06/26/2009-06-26_replica_of_statue_of_liberty_disappears.html)

A replica Statue of Liberty (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Statue+of+Liberty) swiped from a Brooklyn (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Brooklyn) coffee shop has turned up in a shocking YouTube (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/YouTube+LLC) video that shows it blindfolded, beheaded and then smashed to pieces.
The slogans "We don't want your freedom" and "Death to America (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/United+States)" float across the screen in the chilling clip - reminiscent of real terrorist videos.
The NYPD (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/New+York+City+Police+Department)'s computer sleuths are investigating who posted the video. They could call in the FBI (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Federal+Bureau+of+Investigation) if they feel it's more than a sick joke, sources told the Daily News Wednesday.
The manager of Ditmas Park (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Ditmas+Park)'s Vox Pop - known as much for lefty politics as java - said she couldn't sleep after watching the footage.
"I'm scared. I'm hoping I don't have to fear for my life, but I feel very nervous," Debi Ryan (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Debi+Ryan) said.
"This was clearly politically motivated. Whoever did this is trying to shut us up. They were targeting what we represent."
The 8-foot fiberglass figure vanished June 21 from the sidewalk in front of the Cortelyou Road coffeehouse. A $250 reward and "Find Liberty" rally failed to spark its return.
The YouTube clip, dated July 4, was sent anonymously to the Daily News on Tuesday and to Ryan the next day.
"Liberty is the holy masquerade of the decapitated, so we decapitated it in the struggle for a truly free unity," the vandal wrote in the e-mail.
The minute-long clip, titled "Liberty Vox Pop Death," opens with the American flag followed by a scene of Lady Liberty (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Find+Liberty) blindfolded.
A gloved hand is shown sawing the head off and bashing it with a baseball bat. The screen flashes the message: "We don't want your freedom."
The video ends with a black-clad faceless vandal grabbing the smashed head by the crown and holding it up to the camera before the message, "Death to America."
Ryan says the video is a clear imitation of terrorist videos, like the Daniel Pearl (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Daniel+Pearl) assassination.
"It harkens back to images of reporters being beheaded," she said.
There has been some tension between the community and Vox Pop.
Seen as a harbinger of gentrification, it was both defended and mocked for hitting up locals for donations after being shut down for health violations.
Patrons were horrified that someone would take the dispute so far.
"There has been some friction in the neighborhood over some of the changes on Cortelyou over the past few years, but it's unthinkable what would provoke anyone to do something like this," said Ditmas Park teacher June Degreen, 53.
"It looks like these people may just want publicity for their boneheaded cause or, of course, they could be dangerous and up to something far more sinister. I would prefer to err on the side of caution."
Vox Pop regular Angie Ruckel (http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/Angie+Ruckel), 29, said she hopes police are taking the threat seriously.
"The people who did this are deranged and need to be taken off the street," Ruckel said. "If this isn't hate speech, I don't know what it is. They destroyed an important symbol of freedom with the intent of intimidating us. This is terror."
mlysiak@nydailynews.com (mlysiak@nydailynews.com)
With Alison Gendar

September 12th, 2009, 06:46 PM
On the way to Red Hook ...





February 15th, 2010, 07:08 PM

April 4th, 2010, 11:21 PM
the line to get on the ferry in Battery Park.




April 9th, 2010, 04:21 PM
http://images.ny-pictures.com/photo2/m/34966_m.jpg (http://ny-pictures.com/nyc/photo/picture/34966/statue_liberty_liberty_hang_gliders)

Picture of Liberty Island (http://ny-pictures.com/nyc/photo/topic/6148/Liberty_Island) thanks to soldiersmediacenter (http://ny-pictures.com/nyc/photo/photographer/605223/soldiersmediacenter) and New York Pictures (http://ny-pictures.com/nyc/photo/)

May 2nd, 2010, 08:36 PM
ghesquiere (http://www.flickr.com/photos/ghesquiere/4541299994/in/pool-47438114@N00)

July 1st, 2010, 07:57 PM
Great piccis and view.

October 15th, 2010, 10:59 AM
October 13, 2010

Statue of Liberty hit by lightning - incredible picture captures the moment

This is the moment the Statue of Liberty was hit by lightning - and caught on camera by a photographer who waited two hours in a storm-hit New York City.


New Yorker Jay Fine apparently waited more than 40 years for the shot before braving the storm last month in Manhattan's Battery Park City.

The 58-year-old photographer caught the incredible snap - but it was a rather arduous process capturing the perfect picture.


He said: 'I had been watching weather reports so I knew a storm was coming and it just seemed like a great opportunity.

'I was ready and waiting and took 81 shots before finally getting this one.

'I was shocked when I realised what had happened.

'It was pure luck really, a once in a lifetime opportunity. It's the first photograph of its kind I have ever seen.'

The iconic statue - which stands at 305ft tall - was built in 1886 and is said to attract over 600 bolts of lightning each year.

© 2010 Associated Newspapers Limited

October 15th, 2010, 02:21 PM
She be STRONG!

February 25th, 2011, 06:18 AM
City looking at new safety regs for Lady Liberty visitors

BY Aline Reynolds

The implementation of new security procedures for Statue of Liberty visitors has been delayed, according to officials.

The new plan, proposed by the U.S. Department of Interior, would transfer visitor-screening services from Battery Park to the north end of Ellis Island, which is owned and operated by the National Park Service. Federal and municipal authorities, however, have expressed reservations about the plan, saying they’d like to take a closer look at it before giving it their stamp of approval.

“We’ve asked to be given the opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the plan before it is implemented,” said Paul Browne, deputy commissioner of the New York Police Department.

The N.Y.P.D. is working with federal officials on the specifics of the plan. Though he confirmed that alternatives to the existing security arrangement are being considered, Browne wouldn’t comment on the specifics of the proposal.

The tents set up at the Battery Park waterfront, where the screening currently takes place, were installed in December 2001 in response to the 9/11 attacks. The park was supposed to be a temporary locale for screening operations.

However, just over nine years later, the same security measures are in place, and plans to modify them have not yet materialized.

The screening at Battery Park makes the current Liberty Island visitor experience “abysmal,” according to Michael Burke, chief operating officer and vice president of Statue Cruises.

The screening equipment is antiquated, and the crew is understaffed, Burke reported, causing crowds that have resulted in three-hour-long waits on holiday weekends.

Burke said the current system is “insufficient to meet the needs of the visitors, and it doesn’t process enough people safely and efficiently to allow all people who want to go to the statue to go.”

The proposal to move the screening to Ellis Island is a “win-win” for visitors, he said, in that it would virtually eliminate the wait at Battery Park and significantly expedite the screening process over at Ellis Island.

“The difference would be minutes versus hours,” said Burke.

The screening would take place in the Ellis Island’s baggage and dormitory building. Updated security equipment and more centralized management, he said, would also streamline the process.

Statue Cruises has investigated other options for screening locations, such as another area in Battery Park, or Pier A. After careful consideration, however, Burke said, Ellis Island seems to be the only viable alternative.

The southern portion of Battery Park is off limits, according to Burke, since the Coast Guard Foundation has expressed interest in building a museum or heritage center there.

“The Coast Guard is the only military service without a national museum,” said Captain Ron LaBrec, chief of Coast Guard public affairs.

An operator for Pier A still must be selected via a public bid process that has not yet been completed, according to Leticia Ramauro, a spokesperson for the Battery Park City Authority. She wouldn’t comment on whether the National Park Service, who would be in charge of setting up the Liberty Island screening post, is one of the bid candidates.

David Luchsinger, superintendent of Liberty Park, wouldn’t comment on the screening proposal, but agreed that changes definitely need to be made.

“Obviously the conditions we have presently are not the best of circumstances for the visitor,” said Luchsinger. “We’re looking for all kinds of options in order to make that experience better.”

“The Secretary of Interior’s Office will work closely with the Mayor’s Office in reaching a long-term resolution,” said Jane Ahern, chief of public affairs at the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island.

The proposal “makes sense to me,” said Community Board 1 Waterfront Committee Co-Chair Bob Townley. Moving the screening services to Ellis Island would have the dual benefit of transporting people more quickly to Liberty Island, he said, and freeing up space in Battery Park.

Jeff Galloway, co-chair of the C.B. 1 Battery Park City Commiteee, said he would also be in favor of moving the screening site, especially since it would free up congestion from the waterfront area.
“I’d want to make sure it satisfies whatever security requirements there are,” said Galloway.

Burke confirmed that all necessary measures will be taken to uphold security on Liberty Island.

The thought of relocating it to Ellis Island, Galloway said, is peculiar. “It sounds a little odd to me that they would wait until they get to [Ellis Island] to screen them,” he said. “I’m not sure what the thinking behind that is.”

Despite the delays in finalizing the security plan, Burke said it could be up and running in the next year for the estimated three-to-four million people that annually visit the Statue of Liberty.

The Dept. of the Interior nor the city would provide an estimated timeline on the proposal, and the mayor wouldn’t comment on the plan, since it is tentative at this point.

Kendra Barkoff, a Dept. of the Interior spokesperson, only issued a statement, saying, “The Department of the Interior is working with the mayor’s office and the N.Y.P.D. to look at opportunities to improve the management of parks in New York City.”


July 12th, 2011, 01:11 PM
Beware of the demon that lurks nearby ...

(from an ally and supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry)


July 13th, 2011, 12:48 AM
Woooowww...just wow. What a sad f***in idiot!! People like this scare me way more than any terrorist group.

October 12th, 2011, 03:28 PM
Downtown Express
October 12, 2011

Lady Liberty museum to close for a year


Visitors to the museum beneath the Statue of Liberty are greeted by the lady’s original torch, dating from 1886, and the flame, which was altered from its original design. Downtown Express photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

The Statue of Liberty, whose exterior is one of the most familiar sights in the world, has a remarkable interior, which is visited by relatively few people compared with the hundreds of thousands a year who set foot on Liberty Island or see it as they enter and leave New York harbor. There are just a few more days to glimpse the statue’s interior before it closes to the public for a year.

The Statue of Liberty (formally known as “Liberty Enlightening the World,”) a gift from France to the United States, was supposed to open in 1876 to celebrate the United States’ first hundred years. However, there were problems with funding and also political squabbles. Finally, on Oct. 28, 1886, U.S. President Grover Cleveland unveiled the statue amid a flotilla of three hundred boats in the harbor. The day was declared a holiday and around a million people lined the streets of New York to witness a parade of soldiers, firemen and marching bands. Downtown Manhattan’s first ticker tape parade took place that day.

This year, on Oct. 28, there will again be a celebration with music, speeches and fireworks and then the next day the pedestal will close in order to update the statue’s mechanical and electrical systems, to install new elevators and to reconfigure the interior staircases to make them safer. The $27.25 million refurbishment is expected to take a year to complete. During this time, Liberty Island itself will remain open with tours led by National Park Rangers, an audio guide available in nine languages, stunning vistas of the statue and of New York harbor, a restaurant with good, well-priced food and a gift shop.

But the interior of the pedestal of the statue really is special. On the ground floor, vsitors are greeted by the lady’s original torch dating from 1886. On the second floor are most of the museum’s artifacts and photos. A gigantic, copper-clad face and foot from the time of the 1986 restoration, fabricated in the same way as the original with copper sheathing, show the dimensions of the statue next to puny humans.

Photos depict the genesis of the statue from the time it was proposed by French scholar Edouard de Laboulaye, who wanted to recognize the affinity of France and the United States in the quest for liberty, through the years that sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi mused on the project. The exhibit includes his drawings and models and a record of Bartholdi’s visit to New York harbor in 1871 where he saw what was then called Bedloe’s Island for the first time and said that’s where his statue should be placed.

Bartholdi was taken with the immensity of the United States and wanted to make something equally immense. His passion and tenacity are recorded in photos and words as is the genius of the engineer who made Bartholdi’s vision possible. Gustave Eiffel, best known for the Eiffel Tower in Paris, came up with a method for making the 151-foot-tall statue strong but flexible enough to withstand New York harbor’s biting winds. “It will stand,” he said simply of his extraordinary design.

Visitors can currently ascend to the top of the pedestal (whose architecture, funding and fabrication are also described in the exhibit) and peer through portals in the ceiling to Eiffel’s support structure. A narrow, spiral staircase goes even further up to the statue’s crown. Special tickets were required to ascend the stairs. No more are available until the statue reopens in around a year.

A walkway on the exterior of the pedestal affords panoramic views of Manhattan and of New York harbor.

Entry to the monument pedestal is by Pedestal/Museum ticket only, available with the purchase of a reserved ticket online from Statue Cruises at www.statuecruises.com or by calling (201) 604-2800.

Only 3,000 pedestal tickets are available a day. There are just a few chances left.

Published by: Community Media, LLC

October 24th, 2011, 12:01 PM
October 24, 2011

New Statue of Liberty 'Torch Cams' Offer Stunning City Views

By Julie Shapiro
DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

A fish-eye view of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor, from the statue's torch.

A New York Harbor sunrise, as seen from the Statue of Liberty's torch.

Five new cameras in the Statue of Liberty's torch will broadcast their view to the world.

Brian Cury, CEO of EarthCam, installs cameras in the Statue of Liberty's torch.

A view of New York Harbor and the rising One World Trade Center from the Statue of Liberty's torch.

One of the cameras in the Statue of Liberty's torch will look down toward the crown.

A new webcam offers a look inside the Statue of Liberty's torch.

Nearly 100 years have passed since members of the public climbed up to Lady Liberty's torch and took in the stunning views of New York Harbor.

Closed for safety reasons in 1916, the torch has long been inaccessible to everyone except for a few maintenance workers.

But this week, in honor of the Statue of Liberty's 125th birthday, the National Park Service is launching new webcams that will broadcast the long-restricted vistas continuously to people all over the world.

"It's like nothing you've ever seen before," said Brian Cury, CEO of EarthCam, the company that donated and installed the cameras. "You can enjoy an American icon from a vantage point that no one has really seen. It's really and truly amazing."

The "torch cam" is actually five separate cameras posted on the torch, 305 feet above the ground. One points upward to offer a fish-eye view of the torch itself, one points down at the statue's crown and the other three capture panoramic views of lower Manhattan, Governors Island, Ellis Island and beyond.

All five feeds will be available round-the-clock at the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation's website (http://www.ellisisland.org/) starting Oct. 28.

"It's a breathtaking view," Stephen Briganti, the foundation's president, said in a statement. "The foundation is delighted to…bring never-before-seen views of Liberty Island and New York Harbor to the general public."

The new torch cameras are just one piece of a daylong celebration of Lady Liberty on Friday, marking the 125th anniversary of the statue's dedication.

The festivities will kick off with a naturalization ceremony for 125 immigrants hailing from more than 40 countries, including Haiti, Honduras, China, Croatia and Senegal.

Then, the formal program at 10 a.m. will feature Sigourney Weaver reading the Emma Lazarus poem "The New Colossus" and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar presenting a gift of friendship to a French representative, as a token of thanks for their gift of the Statue of Liberty in 1886.

"The statue has evolved in meaning since she first graced our shores 125 years ago," David Luchsinger, superintendent of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, said in a statement.

"She began as a symbol of friendship between France and the United States, evolved into a symbol of our great country, and is known today as an international symbol of freedom for people everywhere. This coming Friday is an opportunity to celebrate her complete legacy."

The celebration will conclude Friday evening with a 7:45 p.m. fireworks show sponsored by Macy's, which, for the first time in 25 years, will feature pyrotechnics launched from Liberty Island itself. The 12-minute show will be scored to patriotic tunes including "God Bless America" and "The Stars and Stripes Forever."

Following the ceremony, the Statue of Liberty will close for a year of renovations, but Liberty Island will remain open to visitors.

For more information about the 125th anniversary events, visit the National Park Service's website (http://www.nps.gov/stli/index.htm).

Copyright © 2009 - 2011 Digital Network Associates dba DNAinfo.com. All rights reserved.

October 26th, 2011, 03:55 PM
That is awesome.

If they can keep them in good repair for another 100 years, imagine the movie they could make....

October 28th, 2011, 01:05 PM
EarthCam: Statue of Liberty Cams (http://www.earthcam.com/usa/newyork/statueofliberty/)

October 28th, 2011, 01:37 PM
Wow that Harbor Cam is the best, you don't have to wait for it to refresh.

October 31st, 2011, 10:13 AM
Mac, could you offer the original link so I can forward w/o a direct link here?


November 2nd, 2011, 09:56 AM
Sorry for the late response. Here it is:


November 2nd, 2011, 11:27 PM
What a moving image..

Benjamin GS (http://www.flickr.com/photos/benjamin-gs/6302257738/sizes/l/in/pool-63919873@N00/)

November 3rd, 2011, 01:56 PM
Tanks Mac!

October 12th, 2012, 06:41 AM
Give Me Your Tired Monuments

Statue of Liberty to reopen with improved accessibility.

by Liz McEnaney

Section through the monumental base. Courtesy M+SA

One hundred and twenty-six years after the people of France gifted her to the United States, the Statue of Liberty is scheduled to reopen to the public this fall following a year-long project to improve accessibility and safety at the monument.

Dedicated in 1886, the statue was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi, whose fellow countryman Alexandre-Gustave Eiffel engineered the statue’s skeletal support system. American Richard Morris Hunt designed the granite pedestal for the “Mother of Exiles,” as the statue was called by Emma Lazarus whose sonnet The New Colossus (“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”) is engraved on a bronze plaque mounted inside the pedestal.

A multi-disciplinary design team headed by New Jersey–based Mills + Schnoering Architects (M+Sa) led the upgrade project for the National Park Service (NPS). The goal of the project was “to make the monument code compliant in the context of historic preservation,” said Hugh Duffy, project manager at the NPS. One of the “pinch points” for the project was to install a new elevator and two new code compliant stairs in the shaft of the pedestal, allowing visitors access to the pedestal’s observation level, as well as the crown observation platform.

http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/statue_liberty_03.jpg (http://www.archpaper.com/uploads/statue_liberty_03.jpg)
Detail of staircase and nested fire staircase.

The team at M+Sa used 3-dimensional building information modeling (BIM) and laser scanning technology to determine the location of the new elevator and stairs—a challenge in a space that measures approximately 30 feet wide and is spanned with Eiffel-designed steel support beams. Almost 1,300 cubic feet of historic concrete dating from 1886 had to be removed from the pedestal to accommodate these new means of egress. The two new stairs do a “dance in the middle of the pedestal” to avoid the historic Eiffel fabric, described Michael Mills, partner at M+Sa.

Work to the monument also included the installation of a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system to improve visitor comfort. The NPS has been working for the past four years to preserve the Statue and make it code compliant. In 2009, improvements including new handrails and guiderails were made to the double helix staircases leading to the crown. Visitors can see these stairs when looking up from the top level of the pedestal through the interior of the statue to the crown.

The new design will improve the trip and experience of all parts of the monument. “By enhancing safety and accessibility to this national monument, we continue to celebrate America’s most lasting legacy,” said Duffy.


October 12th, 2012, 12:48 PM
Holy Escher Batman!

October 25th, 2012, 08:59 AM
Statue of Liberty to reopen after a year of renovations - CNN.com
By Leigh Remizowski , CNN
updated 7:56 AM EDT, Thu October 25, 2012

New York (CNN) -- The Statue of Liberty is set to reopen Sunday after a year of renovations intended to make the iconic 19th-century gift from France easier to navigate and more accessible to visitors with disabilities.
The interior of the copper colossus has been closed to visitors since October 2011.

On Sunday, the monument's 126th birthday, visitors using wheelchairs will for the first time be able to visit one of the observation decks, located near the feet of Lady Liberty.

"You see this stuff on TV ... but to actually be here, it takes on a whole brand new dimension," said Larry Hughes, a Vietnam War veteran and the first wheelchair user to ride the newly installed elevator to the deck.
As he looked out onto the Manhattan skyline, Hughes said he felt blessed to be inside the statue instead of looking at it from afar.

The renovations include new staircases to allow visitors to better traverse the statue's pedestal and observation platform, as well as an emergency elevator.
Statue of Liberty Superintendent David Luchsinger called the additions phenomenal, and estimated the new design will allow some 26,000 more people to visit inside the monument each year.
About 3.5 million visitors greet Lady Liberty each year.

"Folks that have never been able to maneuver on the staircases can now go all the way up to the observation deck and experience that," he said. "She's not only our Statue of Liberty, she's the world's statue of Liberty."
The final cost of renovations will be about $30 million when they are completed in early 2013, Luchsinger said.

Visitors need advance reservations to ensure they're able to go inside the monument. Reservations are now available through the end of 2012.

After the September 11, 2001, attacks, the inside of the statue was not open to the public until 2004. It wasn't until five years later that visitors were able to climb stairs to the top of her crown.

October 25th, 2012, 06:55 PM
The statue's epically compact staircase was the most memorable part of my visit in 1999 (or was it 2000?). As a kid, I found its narrow width and crowds awesome; nowadays I might find it claustrophobic. Extra access features might take away some of that charm, but that's the type of charm you find in, say, an abandoned factory - if open for mass public access, safety comes first. Thanks for posting the alterations to the lower levels, but I'd love to see plans/images of the interior in the upper portion, the one with the spiral staircase.

October 25th, 2012, 08:33 PM
At least you can go into the crown again, and it being handicapped accessible is a plus. Maybe they can do a periodic lottery, with each ferry group, where a handful can even go up into the torch.

November 2nd, 2012, 08:53 PM
Go ahead, Sandy. Blow all you want. I'm not going anywhere. These people need me. I have always been here, and I'll be here long after you're gone.

Statue of Liberty is closed indefinitely in the aftermath of monster storm Sandy

Lady Liberty had just reopened last weekend after a $30 million overhaul. While Liberty Island and Ellis Island were both threatened by rising flood waters, the statue and museum don't appear to have suffered any significant damage. By Larry Mcshane (http://wirednewyork.com/authors?author=Larry Mcshane) / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1195542.1351797761!/img/httpImage/image.jpeg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/liberty-1.jpeg(AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)

Waves crash over the bow of a tug boat as it passes near the Statue of Liberty on Monday. Lady Liberty is being closed off indefinitely.

Thursday, November 1, 2012, 3:57 PM
The Statue of Liberty, reopened last weekend after a $30 million refurbishing, is closed indefinitely after the hurricane’s massive storm surge flooded its New York Harbor home.
Liberty Island and its historic neighbor, Ellis Island, were both victimized by the record high water level in the harbor as Hurricane Sandy took no mercy on the national landmarks, said National Parks Service spokeswoman Mindy Rambo.
PHOTOS: HURRICANE SANDY'S PATH OF DESTRUCTION (http://www.nydailynews.com/news/hurricane-sandy-strikes-east-coast-gallery-1.1194577)
LIVE BLOG: THE AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE SANDY (http://live.nydailynews.com/Event/Tracking_Hurricane_Sandy_2)
A quick examination showed no damage to the statue and no water damage to the Ellis Island museum, she said. But a team of federal inspectors was due at the two sites Saturday to conduct a full assessment of any possible infrastructure problems at the two island sites.
“There was water damage to the Statue of Liberty site,” said Rambo. “We will not know until the team is through exactly how long the site will be closed.”
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1195543!/img/httpImage/image.jpeg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/liberty-2.jpeg(AP Photo/Richard Drew)

The passenger terminal for a ferry that takes riders to the Statue of Liberty was in shambles from superstorm Sandy on Tuesday.

The statue’s crown just reopened to the public last Sunday after a year-long renovation for Lady Liberty. New steps — a daunting 393, up from the old total of 354 — allowed better access to the crown with its panoramic views of the city skyline and the Jersey shoreline.
Other upgrades included new granite staircases outside the monument, upgrades to the pedestal elevators and wheelchair access to the observation decks. It was unclear if the storm damaged any of the new additions to the 126-year-old gift from the people of France.
Parks officials expected about 13,000 visitors to scale the new stairs to the crown in the last two months of this year — with all the tickets for a 2012 trip sold out before the statue was reopened. It was closed last October for the work to begin.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/statue-liberty-closed-indefinitely-article-1.1195550#ixzz2B7GD8lJK

November 4th, 2012, 05:54 PM
I saw the damage done to that horrid white tent when I went down to Battery Park on Friday.

Maybe now they'll get that ugly thing off the breakwater, and return the waterfront to open space.

November 4th, 2012, 10:04 PM
(and welcome back)

November 4th, 2012, 10:35 PM
Thanks. I enjoyed out downtown adventure in the dark and without electronic toys. What we went through was nothing, especially compared with what others are having to deal with.

Hoping Zip is OK.

Here's a great pic of our little island after the deluge (Thursday, 1 November):


Photo: Iwan Baan

November 4th, 2012, 10:42 PM
Friday afternoon, while I was walking around down by Battery Park, a big explosion suddenly went off out in the harbor. Then another. Smoke rising from the northwest edge of Ellis Island. Then "BOOM" again. And again. One about every ten minutes. Sirens screaming, NYPD & FDNY converged at the water's edge. No one knew what the hell was going on.

Turned out that the FBI & Coast Guard were setting off munitions (http://observer.com/2012/11/hear-that-boom-fbi-reportedly-detonating-explosives-damaged-by-sandy-on-ellis-island/) that had been water damaged in the storm.

But it seems nobody notified NYC since the action was technically taking place in New Jersey territory. Cops on scene in BPC were somewhat humored by it all, after the fact.

So much for coordinated efforts in times of emergency. Everybody has a lot to learn from this bad experience, on all fronts.

November 5th, 2012, 02:53 PM
But it seems nobody notified NYC since the action was technically taking place in New Jersey territory. Cops on scene in BPC were somewhat humored by it all, after the fact.

So much for coordinated efforts in times of emergency. Everybody has a lot to learn from this bad experience, on all fronts.
Nothing to see here folks! Head on home.:cool:

http://wirednewyork.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=16612&d=1352086464&thumb=1 (http://wirednewyork.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=16612&d=1352086464)

Photo: Iwan Baan

Looks undressed.

November 9th, 2012, 10:49 PM
Storm Leaves Lady Liberty and Ellis Island Cut Off From Visitors


Kevin Daley/National Park Service More than half of the brick pavers from the promenade
around Liberty Island were dislodged by the storm surge from Hurricane Sandy.

Hurricane Sandy did no real harm to the Statue of Liberty but caused “significant damage” to the infrastructure of Liberty Island and Ellis Island, which will leave them closed to tourists indefinitely, a spokesman for the National Park Service said on Thursday.

Most notably, the dock at Liberty Island that receives the large ferries filled with tourists arriving from Battery Park in Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey may need to be rebuilt. Statue Cruises, the company that operates the ferries, said it had stopped selling tickets to visit the islands and did not know when its service would resume.

The storm hit just a day after the interior of the statue was reopened after a yearlong renovation. On Oct. 28, Ken Salazar, the secretary of the interior, visited the statue as the storm was roaring up the East Coast. The Park Service had hoped to allow tourists into the statue again by Nov. 1, but the damage to the islands was much more severe than expected.

Mike Litterst, a spokesman for the “incident management team” that the Park Service has assembled in New York City, said the statue, its pedestal and its base received “little or no damage.”

But, he added, none of the mechanical systems, including electricity, on Liberty Island were functioning after the basement of the building that houses a cafe and gift shop flooded.

The basement of the museum building on Ellis Island filled with several feet or water, which ruined mechanical equipment but did not harm any of the museum’s archives or artifacts, Mr. Litterst said.

The security screening apparatus housed in a large tent on the Battery Park waterfront was also “significantly damaged,” he said. A water line on the side of the tent indicated the tide had risen to about the level of the conveyor belts on the magnetometers inside the tent.

Tourists with tickets to visit the statue and Ellis Island have been showing up there only to be disappointed to find that the islands are closed off.

Malcolm Gurr, 70, a retired public servant from Melbourne, Australia, was in town to watch his son run in the New York City Marathon, which was canceled last Friday, and on Thursday went to the Battery with hopes of visiting Ellis Island.

“I just assumed it would be open,” he said.

Mr. Gurr said he went to Ellis Island once before, in 2002, and found it fascinating. “I’m into history, and it’s a crucial part of American history,” he said. “Australia is a nation of immigrants as well.”

A pair of Danish tourists on their first visit to the city — Finn Christiansen, 52, and his partner, Berit Sorensen, 52 — had planned to ride a ferry to the Statue of Liberty.

“We wanted to visit if we could; it’s one thing we are knowing from New York,” said Mr. Christiansen, who sells plants and gardening supplies from his home near Copenhagen. “You see it in the newspapers, that’s why we wanted to visit.”

Nearby, Statue Cruises was loading dozens of tourists onto boats for cruises around the harbor that would take them as close to the statue as the Park Service would allow. Normally, the ferries take about 7,500 passengers to the islands each day at this time of year.

Mr. Litterst said the incident management team comprised 238 Park Service employees from around the country, including representatives of 150 national parks. Its leader, he said, came from Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and his deputy came from Everglades National Park in Florida.

The team is helping to clean up all of the national park sites in and around New York City, almost all of which remain have closed since the storm, Mr. Litterst said. He said that Federal Hall on Wall Street lacked power and that a marina in Gateway National Recreation Area sustained a lot of damage. At Sandy Hook in New Jersey, floodwater seeped into all of the buildings, and the roads need to be cleared of sand and debris.

The only national park site in the area that has reopened is St. Paul’s Church, Mr. Litterst said. Four others — Federal Hall, the African Burial Ground, Grant’s Tomb and the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace – could reopen as soon as Saturday.

He had no estimate of when the Statue of Liberty’s torch, which went dark when Hurricane Sandy struck, would again serve as a beacon in New York Harbor.


November 13th, 2012, 10:46 AM
Quick comment... brick pavers? NP. I would be concerned about their support... which LOOKED OK from the picture.

Cosmetics can always be "refurbished", but substructure.... if you do not replace it, repairs can never really get it back to what it was.

December 28th, 2012, 08:49 PM
Statue of Liberty or Dipstick of the Apocalypse?


This image by Owen Freeman illustrated last month’s New York Times post-Sandy op-ed by James Atlas, “Is This the End?” (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/opinion/sunday/is-this-the-end.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0) Freeman says in his blog (http://24houremergency.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-new-york-times-is-this-end.html) that it was commissioned by Times Art Director Erich Nagler, who “proposed an underwater, Atlantis-type view of New York City.” Freeman shows working sketches for the Statue image as well as underwater views of Grand Central Terminal and a city intersection with skyscrapers. The Times’ selection of his Statue of Liberty image says something about what rattles us most. It also extends a long tradition of using the statue as a post-apocalyptic milestone, one with roots pre-dating the statue itself.


The Statue of Liberty is seen even farther submerged by global warming, but from above the water line, in Steven Spielberg’s 2001 Science Fiction film, A.I. As a sci-fi film device, this image has a clear heritage . . .

Franklin J. Shaffner’s 1968 film, Planet of the Apes, ends with this visual kicker, revealing that – spoiler alert! – the planet ruled by apes is no less than our own future earth, turned into a vast desert by man himself. Same recipe as now, but with sand substituted for water.


Planet of the Apes may have been the first film to show a ruined Statue of Liberty, but the idea has a longer history in print, as documented by the surely pseudonymous Joachim Boaz in his blog Science Fiction and Other Suspect Ruminations (http://sciencefictionruminations.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/adventures-in-science-fiction-cover-art-the-statue-of-liberty/). He displays no fewer than six pulp science fiction covers showing the statue underwater, buried in desert sand, and discovered by spacemen or post-apocalyptic primitives. Selected above are, left to right, a 1941 magazine cover by Hubert Rogers, a 1953 magazine cover by Alex Schomburg and a 1959 novel cover by an illustrator known only as Blanchard. These might be assumed to reflect Cold War insecurity, except for the Astounding Science Fiction cover from pre-Bomb 1941, which shows an overgrown statue approached by raft-borne throwbacks. Clearly, there’s something older at work.

full article at ArchiTakes (http://www.architakes.com/?p=10795)

January 3rd, 2013, 09:35 AM
The Statue is rather flimsy, having required multiple extensive repairs, and that 1916 incident almost dropped its right arm. I understand the symbolism and drama of the statue in cinematography, but realistically I expect numerous other tall structures across the city to weather an apocalypse better than ole Lady Liberty.

March 19th, 2013, 05:16 PM
^That's why Hollywood does it. They love that kind of thing. It's not as dramatic to them simply showing a tall building collapsing. They gotta destroy one of the national symbols first or their movie will feel incomplete.

Statue of Liberty, closed since Hurricane Sandy, will re-open by July 4

Severe damage made the island unsafe for visitors. A new dock will be built.

Dan Friedman (http://wirednewyork.com/authors?author=Dan Friedman) / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Tuesday, March 19, 2013, 3:29 PM

http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1293011.1363721248!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/liberty20n-1-web.jpgBryan Smith/for New York Daily News

The walkways and docks that serve the Statue of Liberty were badly damaged in Hurricane Sandy — but the island will reopen by July 4.

WASHINGTON — The Statue of Liberty, closed since Hurricane Sandy last year, will reopen by the Fourth of July, officials announced Tuesday.
The statue was unharmed in the Oct. 29 superstorm, but the storm surge severely damaged docks and walkways, rending Liberty Island unvisitable.
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1293009!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/liberty20n-3-web.jpgDavid Handschuh/New York Daily News

A dock was also rendered useless.

RELATED: YEARNING TO BREATHE FREE (http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/yearning-breathe-free-article-1.1259249)
The rising tide rose to just a few feet from the base of the fabled statue, which salutes America’s “tempest-tost” immigrants.
http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1293010!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/liberty20n-2-web.jpgBryan Smith/for New York Daily News

The Oct. 29 storm damaged brick and marble along the promenade.

The closure of the island and statue also tossed 400 National Park Service workers to the unemployment line. They will all return when the island reopens, said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).
RELATED: CITY, FEDS CLASH OVER LIBERTY ISLAND SECURITY (http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/city-feds-clash-liberty-island-security-article-1.1278429)
The island is slated to receive millions in recovery funding through the Sandy relief bill approved this year.

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/liberty-island-reopen-july-4-article-1.1293012#ixzz2O1S6vvwV

June 30th, 2013, 09:57 PM
Wow they said they were going to do it, and they actually did it. Liberty set to open for July 4th!