After nearly 8 years of being closed off to the public, Lady Liberty is opening up her crown to visitors this July 4th, according to Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, who announced the news with much fanfare on the Today Show this morning. Access will be very limited, with an estimated only 30 people up in the crown each hour, gaining access by lottery. The torch is still off-limits, as it has been since 1916.
Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar toured the Statue of Liberty, including the crown, in January of this year and had promised at that time to work with the National Park Service to consider how to reopen the crown while not compromising U.S. safety.
“The Statue of Liberty is unique among our national parks as a symbol of freedom not only to Americans but also to people around the world,” Salazar said then. “[Re-opening the crown] would proclaim to the world—both figuratively and literally—that the path to the light of liberty is open to all.”
Liberty Enlightening the World was a gift from France to the United States in 1886, celebrating the centennial of the United States and to act as a symbol of unity and friendship between the two countries. The 152-foot-tall figure was sculpted by Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi and erected around an iron skeleton engineered by Gustav Eiffel. To ship it from Paris, the statue was taken apart. Once in New York Harbor, it took four months to reassemble the 350 pieces.
For information on visiting the Statue of Liberty, contact 212/363-3200 or www.statuecruises.com.
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