Saturday, July 05, 2008

Statue of Liberty's crown may reopen to public

NEW YORK - "The National Park Service is considering reopening Lady Liberty's crown for the first time since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, according to documents a congressman released on July Fourth.

The park service requested bids last month to study what it would take to safely open the Statue of Liberty's iconic headpiece to the public, according to documents released by U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y.

Liberty Island was closed after the terrorist attacks. The statue's base, pedestal and lower observation deck reopened in August 2004, after a $20 million effort to enhance fire safety.

But the crown and its interior observation deck, which soar about 265 feet above New York Harbor, remained closed because the Park Service said there was no way to evacuate them safely in an emergency. The narrow spiral staircase that leads up to the crown doesn't comply with fire and building codes."

Crown schmown. My grandfather happened to be one of the last people to officially ascend into the old torch, as visitors were permitted up through the arm and into an observation area inside the original beacon, that for a time was actually used as a lighthouse. It all ended in 1916 when terrorists set off an explosion on Ellis Island that loosened some of the Lady's nuts and bolts.

Climbing to just the crown is hard enough for certain folks, as the stairway is very narrow and not all that commodious to certain 300 pounders who often demanded that they had a 'right' to rest in the stairwells while catching an elusive breath, and in doing so backed up the line interminably. Thats the real reason re-opening the crown would be a nightmare.

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