A crowning achievement: Welcome back, Lady Liberty

Once again, the whole monument is open. Although currently limited to 250 people a day, hopefully crown capacity will soon return to the pre-COVID 500 daily.

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Editorials

October 13, 2022 - 2:50 PM

Lady Liberty SARAH BROWN/UNSPLASH

This week, after more than two-and-a-half years of COVID closure, visitors returned to the top of the Statue of Liberty, climbing the 146 winding steps up the double helix spiral staircase to reach inside her crown and look down on the harbor from the 25 windows, exactly as intended when she was given by France to the United States in 1886.

This column fought for eight years after 9/11 to get the whole statue, including the crown, reopened, challenging successive secretaries of the interior and National Park Service directors face to face until Secretary Ken Salazar, on his and President Barack Obama’s third day in office, agreed with us, ordering the NPS to open it up beginning July 4, 2009. Now, once again, the whole monument is open. Although currently limited to 250 people a day, hopefully crown capacity will soon return to the pre-COVID 500 daily. Hip, hip, hooray.

Also worth celebrating on Liberty’s 136th birthday on Oct. 28 (and every day) is that the illegal ticket hawkers swarming over tourists in the Battery and pressuring them to buy pricey boat rides that didn’t go to Liberty or Ellis islands are gone. COVID put a big dent in their illegal racket as Liberty and Ellis were closed down, and since the reopening, 80% of visitors have purchased advance tickets or online, making it not worth the hawkers’ time.

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