Network News

X My Profile
View More Activity

When Will We Get Inside Lady Liberty's Head?

By Ed O'Keefe

In what would be a reversal of current policy, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar seemed to all but reopen the Statue of Liberty's crown to public access today, but said the Interior Department would wait for the results of a feasibility study due in April before taking action.

Statue of Liberty
Visitors may soon get full access to the Statue of Liberty's crown. (Photo by Bloomberg News.)

“As a U.S. senator and now as secretary of the interior, I believe the crown should be re-opened to the public if at all possible," Salazar said during a visit to New York's Liberty Island. "I am here today to tour the statue and promise to work hard with the National Park Service to explore all feasible alternatives to re-opening it.”

The Park Service closed the Statue of Liberty and nearby Ellis Island to the public following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. The statue's pedestal was reopened to the public in Aug. 2004. There is broad support in New York and New Jersey for granting full public access to Liberty's crown, but the Park Service has deemed it risky especially since the narrow staircase to the crown -- originally intended for maintenance workers, not visitors -- might need reinforcement. Visitors also might have to sign a waiver in the future in order to enjoy the unrivaled view.

As a senator, Salazar joined with other lawmakers asking the Park Service to determine what if any physical changes would be needed to bring Lady Liberty into compliance with various fire and safety codes. Baltimore-based Hughes Associates, a fire protection consulting firm, is expected to release the findings of that congressionally-mandated study in mid April, with a special focus on accommodating public access to "the statue’s interior up to and including the crown," according to the Interior Department.

“We will explore all opportunities to re-open the crown while reducing risk to the public,” Salazar said today. “I hope we can find a way. It would proclaim to the world -- both figuratively and literally -- that the path to the light of liberty is open to all.”

Should visitors have access to the Statue of Liberty's crown? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

Follow The Federal Eye on Twitter!

By Ed O'Keefe  | January 23, 2009; 3:28 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: GAO's 'High Risk' List Comings and Goings
Next: LaHood Officially in the Driver's Seat

Comments

Oh, wow, I hope so! I fulfilled a lifelong dream when I visited the Statue of Liberty for the first time early in 2006, not long after the post-9/11 reopening. The security was a nightmare, with lots of opportunities for screeners to act like petty thugs. I'm still glad I went, but I was too exhausted (and running late for lunch with a friend) to stop at Ellis Island. I was awfully disappointed not to get to go up into the crown.

Easing the excessively tight security and letting sightseers back into the crown for one of the best views in the world would be a big step toward restoring what is great about America. The same is true for the harsh measures that have more or less eliminated one of the greatest pleasures of living in Washington, the nighttime tour of the monuments.

Posted by: csdiego | January 23, 2009 4:09 PM | Report abuse

They really should reopen the crown of the Statue of Liberty! My first visit inside Lady Liberty was during my 8th Grade end-of-year field trip to NYC. I and all of my classmates were thrilled to run all the way to the crown of the statue and look out over the harbor! I have been back to NYC many times since, and visiting the Statue of Liberty is a must for any visit to NYC. Alas, I have never been able to climb to the crown with my nieces and nephews. But they're amazed when I tell them that I have done it myself. Hopefully, one of these days I'll be able to climb to the crown with the next generation of my family!

Posted by: sdecker | January 23, 2009 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I love it! We voted Obama, we get Liberty, justice, and a new day in America!

Neocons, go to Utah!

Yeagh!

Posted by: bs2004 | January 23, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

I have climbed to the top several times and hate to burst anyone's bubble, but I didn't think it was worth waiting in line for 2 hours. On one trip, we were on the first boat of the day, and it still took 2 hours to reach the top. I think we started out 8 abreast and the line gradually had to narrow as it got more and more restricted until finally we were single file on the winding staircase. Forget about taking a backpack up there. Take the Staten Island Ferry for an eye-popping view - and it's free. To get to the Statue, you have to pay for the boat ride to it. The last part is a very slow climb up a winding staircase. One time I made the trek an elderly woman collapsed after finally reaching the top. With such a narrow access, I don't know how medics can get a stretcher up there. I don't think she was bad enough that someone had to attempt rescue.

Posted by: swissmiss150 | January 23, 2009 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Of course the crown should be opened. And we shouldn't worry so much about silly risks, or the efforts of the Department of the Interior to keep us 100% safe from every little problem that might ever crop up in life.

Just like SDecker who posted earlier, I visited The Lady in middle school, and we all took great pleasure in running up the stairs, then back down, and back up, and down, and up again, finally stopping the at bottom when our teachers decided they had had enouogh. That's a simple pleasure and connection to our history that every child should have.

Posted by: tombuch | January 23, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

God, it's great to be sweeping away the culture of fear engendered by the previous administration.

Live free or Die.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
— Benjamin Franklin

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves… — Abraham Lincoln

We, and all others who believe in freedom as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.
— Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission. — John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Posted by: Waspman | January 23, 2009 5:46 PM | Report abuse

the way i see it, we have THREE choices;

1) open her up so that we can all climb under her dress and enjoy her

or

2) send her back to france c.o.d.

or

3) melt her down and make one big A$$ penny!

d:D <--- make sure you wear your hardhat!


Posted by: DriveByPoster | January 23, 2009 6:33 PM | Report abuse

God, it's great to be sweeping away the culture of fear engendered by the previous administration.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
— Benjamin Franklin

Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves… — Abraham Lincoln

We, and all others who believe in freedom as deeply as we do, would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.
— Franklin Delano Roosevelt

The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission. — John Fitzgerald Kennedy

Posted by: Waspman | January 23, 2009 6:40 PM | Report abuse

The Statue of Liberty ? Tear it down ,its a relic of a bygone era.Totally insignificant ,just like the Gettysburg battlefield or the constitution.Americans are slaves...they are just too stupid to realize it.Americans you have sold your soul,it cannot be reclaimed.

Posted by: jellyhouse56 | January 23, 2009 8:14 PM | Report abuse

Yes, open the crown!
Right before my grandmother died, she reminisced about climbing up to the crown, a lifelong dream for the child of immigrants from Germany who had passed through Ellis Island. I can still remember her looking out of the crown as if she was able to see the ship her parents arrived on. I also remember the pride she felt when we got back to the pedestal, exhausted but happy.

I know the view isn't worth the climb, but hanging on the the memory of having made the climb is priceless. Yes, my grandmother could have had a heart attack and died, but I am sure she would have thought that was a good way to go, just as her grandparents could have died coming here, but took that risk.

While we have this freedom from fear thing going, can we allow people to park around the Ellipse when the National Christmas Tree is up? And maybe at the Jefferson Memorial?

Posted by: DWinFC | January 23, 2009 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I see no real need or reason for not allowing people up in the Statue of Liberty's Crown. I don't believe there really was a good reason to keep people away because of 9/11.

This statue is a powerful icon of the hope that is America for millions of people who came here generations ago. The statue is their first image of America.

When troops returned from the world wars they came through New York and were greeted by Lady Liberty.

Ask those people and their families for the recollections of those returning from war when they first saw her up raised arm.

If this is a beacon of freedom then remove the restrictions.

Posted by: Thatsnuts | January 26, 2009 7:38 AM | Report abuse

I've climbed to thh crown a couple of times, as a school kid growing up in NY kid and later (also pre-9/11) for work.

I agree that the view isn't great. The symbolism, on the other hand, is! Likewise going to Ellis Island.

I'd love to see the torch re-opened, but I doubt that will ever happen!

Posted by: wd3q | January 26, 2009 11:29 AM | Report abuse

Open it, yes. And let us all peer under the lady's robes, as one commenter suggested; as Americans, we should view her unmentionables as eminently mentionable.

And reopen Pa. Ave in front of the White House too. Bush is gone, let him take his butt-covering along with him.

Posted by: jehovahjones | January 26, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2010 The Washington Post Company