Visitors to the Statue of Liberty will, once again, be allowed to view New York City from its crown this coming July 4. The statue and Liberty Island itself (where Lady Liberty is situated) were closed to the public immediately following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. While the island along with the statue’s base and pedestal were reopened a few years ago, the crown remained closed while the National Park Service continued in their efforts to make it safer.
Unlike in pre-9/11 days, when visitors to the crown could have made the ascent arbitrarily, visitors will now be selected by lottery. Thirty people will be chosen every hour and be divided into groups of ten, each group guided by a park ranger up the very narrow and somewhat intimidating 168-step double-helix spiral staircase. Raised handrails along the stairwell and more rangers stationed in and around the statue are some of the measures that have been taken to provide visitors with comfort and security.
The Statue will be opened for the next two years and then will close again for more subtle renovations and indeterminate safety enhancements. What this work will actually consist of is anyone’s guess…but, in NYC, it’s a very enriching strategy to keep matters like this under wraps and out of the view of taxpayers. I’m still trying to figure out what renovations were done on the Statue of Liberty during its last overhaul in 1986.