Friday, May 8, 2009

Lady Liberty Open Again

Being a child of New York City, when I was younger I had the amazing experience of walking to the top of the Statue of Liberty and peering out the windows of her crown.

Climbing inside the statue and seeing the infrastructure that holds her up is an event, the feeling that you're walking through history, the feeling of being one of the millions that have explored what's behind the flowing robes, yet feeling like you're seeing something not many others have in the grand scheme of things - like exploring a mysterious cave.

My only regret is that the arm of the statue remained closed to tourists ironically after the 1916 Black Tom explosion sabotage/terrorist attack. I've always wanted to stand on the platform of the torch.

The statue spelunking all ended with 9/11 and the continued fearmongering thereafter during the Bush administration that had kept the Statue of Liberty closed to tourists ever since*. Well not anymore.

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 is to formally announce the decision at a news conference at 9 a.m. on Ellis Island. In a phone interview on Friday morning, Darren Boch, a spokesman for the National Park Service, confirmed that the crown will reopen, but said that operational details would be forthcoming from the Interior Department.

You don't know how happy this makes me. As a New Yorker, there's always been an underlying pall of dejection in the city since 9/11 due to arguably necessary but onerous limits instilled in the name of national security. This is a first step, albeit a small one, in restoring a sense of normalcy back to our home town.

And as an added bonus, once the crown is reopened we'll all have a chance to get a closer look at future Air Force One flyovers.

* Liberty Island was reopened 100 days after 9/11, and only the pedestal was
reopened to tourists after a renovation to improve fire safety codes and security in August of 2004.


Annette said...

Change we can see... that's what I voted for.

jane said...

That is awesome. Thanks Carlos.