Saturday, July 6, 2013

July 4 on Liberty Island

On July 4, 2013 under skies that wavered between ominous clouds and scorchingly bright sun, an estimated 20,000 people visited Liberty Island to get close to the Statue of Liberty. The “Mother of Exiles," as Emma Lazarus called her, was unscathed by Superstorm Sandy, but almost everything around her was demolished by the water that surged through New York harbor on Oct. 29, 2012. For eight months, Liberty Island was closed to the public.

Crews worked around the clock for three months to get the island ready to reopen. The work still isn’t finished, but at least the electricity is back, 53,000 pavers have been installed to create new pathways, the docks are once again intact.

"Lady Liberty has been a beacon of hope for 127 years," said U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell at the reopening ceremonies. “We have created the most welcoming and open society on the planet – one that thrives in its diversity, one that breeds innovation and opportunity that is the envy of the world."

People from all over the world were on Liberty Island on opening day, gazing at the statue’s handsome face and posing for photos at her feet. The sun was blazingly hot, popsicles cost $4 each, the lines for the ferries to Battery Park in Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey were long — but it didn’t matter. It was a glorious day.

Statue Cruises runs the ferries to Liberty Island. Get tickets in advance at Adults, $17; seniors 62+, $14; children 4 to 12, $9; under 4 – free. Ticket prices include an audio tour, available in Arabic, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish. If you wish to visit the crown, tickets are $3 more each. Ferries run every 15 minutes. The first departure is at 8:30 a.m. and the last return trip leaves Liberty Island at 6:15 p.m.