Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island Still Closed Post-Sandy

Monday, February 04, 2013

The Statue of Liberty suffered no damage from Sandy, but the same could not be said of the rest of Liberty Island. (Caitlyn Kim/WNYC)

Three months after Sandy, Liberty Island and Ellis Island are still closed and without power.

Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) said New Yorkers need to know an end is in sight and Monday called on the Department of the Interior to release a timeline for repairs and to set a date to reopen the monuments.

“As an enduring symbol of our nation and our city, Lady Liberty cannot be allowed to languish any longer than necessary,” Schumer said in a statement. “The Department of Interior has done a terrific job recovering and rebuilding after the storm, and is working hard on making the necessary repairs to Liberty Island. Providing a hard timeline of their efforts would be a significant step in the right direction in the recovery process."

Schumer noted that approximately 400 people, including concessions workers and security staff, have lost their jobs since the storm hit.

Linda Friar, a spokesperson for Liberty and Ellis islands, said officials are still waiting for additional assessments from engineers and architects who will visit this week and next.

“We’re working as hard as we can and as quickly as we can,” she said.

According to Friar, storm water covered 75 percent of Liberty Island and almost all of Ellis Island, flooding the electrical infrastructure, security equipment and waste systems at both islands.

A historical boiler – retired for decades – has been revived to power portions of Ellis Island, Friar said. Meanwhile, approximately one million artifacts have been moved from the island to a climate-controlled facility in Landover, Maryland for safekeeping.

At Liberty Island, generators are being used to light the statue.

Friar said the storm also destroyed the island’s two docks and damaged walkways and railings there.

Congress approved the $59 million request by the National Park Service as part of the Sandy relief package last month, Friar said.

Department of the Interior
Pier Damaged by Sandy at Statue of Liberty
Department of the Interior
Pier Damaged by Sandy at Statue of Liberty
Department of the Interior
Pier Damaged by Sandy at Statue of Liberty
Department of the Interior
Pier Damaged by Sandy at Statue of Liberty with NYC Skyline


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Comments [18]

Hello, WNYC again. Ken Salazar, the Secretary of the Interior announced today that the park service plans to reopen the Statue of Liberty to visitors by July 4, 2013.

Mar. 19 2013 04:49 PM
plots in satara from Pune

Yes it is really very awesome to see the statue of liberty.

Mar. 16 2013 12:28 AM
Sharon Farrell from Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

My Daughter and I are travelling from Australia to a wedding in Canada in late August 2013, and have planned to travel to the USA considering we would have already travelled half way around the world, it's the opportunity of of lifetime, and we are especially excited to be visiting New York, I hope the Statue is open for visiting by then, it's one for the bucket list. To all those affected by Sandy our thoughts and prayers go out to you, we hope your lives can return to some normality real soon.

Mar. 06 2013 07:06 AM
Tom from Scotland

Absolutely gutted I can't step on the Island, travelling 3500 miles in two weeks, trip of a life time but hey ho! Mother Nature is a bitch sometimes. Still going to have a ball though. Bring it New York City!

Feb. 27 2013 06:41 PM
Gary Dennis from New York City

Not to sound terrible but I am a licensed NYC Tour Guide and I happened upon this page as I was checking to see how the sequester and other budget issues would effect the repairs to Liberty and Ellis Island. As a New Yorker, a tour guide and parent I feel terrible for those of you who posted about upcoming trips to New York. I hope that the island at least is open soon, as it was for a year a day prior to the hurricane hitting here. The statue and island had been undergoing renovations for a year. The statue was closed the entire year. It was reopened for one day, then the hurricane hit.
However, like my fellow New Yorkers have posted here, the Staten Island Ferry is an option and it is free. The boat does not stop at the photo-op moment, but it is free. There are places in lower Manhattan that are good statue viewing locations as well. Best of luck, I hope that the island at least is re-opened before your visits and that you have a great time while you are here.

Feb. 27 2013 04:22 PM

Hello - here's the latest update from the Secretary of the Interior about the reopening of the monument and what effects the sequester and budget cuts could have on the repair work and on operating hours.

Feb. 27 2013 01:00 PM
Jen Farley from Staten Island, NY

For visitors unable to get to the Statue of Liberty, consider taking the free ride on the Staten Island Ferry. It moves past the Statue of Liberty offering photo opportunities and a lovely view of the harbor. Did I mention it is free?? Though there is not as much right near the ferry terminal on the Staten Island side (and yes, I live there) you can walk along the water near the terminal and visit the 9/11 Memorial nearby. Enjoy your time in NYC!

Feb. 27 2013 11:50 AM
Sarah Giles Auckland New Zealand from Auckland New Zealand

Hi my family and I from New Zealand are visiting New York City from the 21st of July 2013, and are praying that Liberty Island will be open by then. Even if the Lady is closed just standing at her pedestal would be enough. So hoping that we get the chance.

Feb. 26 2013 12:07 AM

We plan to visit the Statue of Liberty on 3/14
We would like to know please ,if there is a chance that the island will be opened until then to visit
Thanks in advance

Feb. 25 2013 11:57 AM
emjayay from Brooklyn

Yes Mike Balzer, you can definitely assume there will be no chance of going to the Statue or Ellis Island in that time frame. There are boat tours of the harbor and probably some of the Hudson and East River. And for free you can take a Staten Island ferry back and forth to Staten Island from the terminal just east of Battery Park. They go every half hour or every hour. The ferry goes by the Statue. Not real close but the price is right!

Glenn Miller, even when the Statue was open, there was a three or four month wait for reservations to actually go "up the statue". Through the museum and to the top of the pedestal, a one to three week wait. And if you didn't have advance tickets even to just go to the islands, on a busy day a several hour wait in line. Go on the internet and plan this one ahead. It's not like the Monument in London.

Feb. 24 2013 04:04 PM
Becca from Eldorado, California

To New York City:

My 12 year old son and I will be visiting New York City in June of 2013, with People to People International. This is a trip I have wanted to make since childhood. I so hope even temporary facilities will be open to allow us to visit Ellis island and retrace my Great Grand Parents steps and look upon the Statue of Liberty as they did. My son is a poet and I know this visit will inspire him for many years.

Becca & Taylor

Feb. 21 2013 04:14 PM
Glenn Miller from England

I am coming to America on the 21st May 2013, me and my wife will selibrate our birthdays, we thought it would be nice to visit you great New York,
one of my great loves is to go up the Statue of Liberty,
I am hoping and praying it will be open, please work safely and do your best,
Thank you and look forward to seeing her in the flesh,

Feb. 21 2013 04:24 AM

Hello. I'm the Business Editor at WNYC. Here's the latest from the Superintendent for the Statue from 2/12:

"We are committed to welcoming visitors to Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty as soon as it is safe for guests to return. We appreciate the U.S. Department of Transportation’s assistance to restore and replace Liberty Island docks. We are working on the many other necessary repairs to ensure visitor safety and we don’t yet have a timeline for reopening the Statue of Liberty," said Superintendent David Luchsinger.

The NPS hopes to have more information after site visits finish this week. Ellis and Liberty Island both are still on generator power with no land lines, damaged docks, walkways and security screening.

Feb. 14 2013 04:08 PM
Galen from Maryland

My name is Galen. I'm an 18 year old male born and raised in Maryland. I raised my right hand and took the oath to defend the constitution of the United States of America in the United States Army approximately 3 weeks ago. This is a decision I am very proud of. It's something I have been looking forward to for quite a while. I am currently all set to ship out to Fort Benning, Georgia on April 2, 2013 to complete my basic combat training. I have been looking online for the past few days, planning a trip to New York City as a "self treat" before I leave. I had planned to step foot on Liberty Island to see the Statue of Liberty that I feel is my patriotic duty to do so before I leave. I was unaware that both Liberty Island and Ellis Island were both closed due to Hurricane Sandy. There is ABSOLUTELY nothing that I want more than to stand in front of Lady Liberty in late March, 2013 and salute her in respect and complete patriotism before I leave. Please work as safe and as fast as possible to restore Ellis Island and Liberty Island to what they once were so that I, and every other person can experience these museums as soon as possible. Thank you to everyone making this possible, and God bless.

Feb. 12 2013 08:58 PM
Mitchell Ables from Abilene, TX

I know you are getting lots of inquiries. We also would like to know if the repairs will be complete by April to be able to visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Thank you for making this forum available.

Feb. 12 2013 11:03 AM
Teresa Davey from Queensland, Australia

My husband and I are traveling to NYC from Australia in early April, and hoping to visit liberty and Ellis island. Is there any chance they will be re-opened by then?

Feb. 12 2013 03:54 AM

Me and my mom are travelling to New York in the summer holiday (july), and we want to visit the statue of liberty. Do anyone know if the island is opened again in the, or do we have to find another possible way see the statue?



Feb. 09 2013 01:06 PM
Mike Balzer

My family is coming to New York for spring break in 5 weeks, and of course wanted to visit the statue. Can I assume that we have no chance of coming onto the island in that time frame?


Mike Balzer
Des Moines, IA

Feb. 08 2013 01:59 PM

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