The National Park Service is planning a lottery for those wishing to climb the narrow, circular staircase of 168 steps inside the statue to its crown, which has been closed since the Sept. 11 attacks.
The lofty crown of the Statue of Liberty, closed to the public since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, will reopen July 4, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced this morning.
Salazar announced the reopening, with the National Park Service planning a lottery for those wishing to climb the narrow, circular staircase of 168 steps inside the statue to the crown, in an appearance inside the crown this morning on NBC News’ “Today” show.
Admission will be “egalitarian,” the secretary said of a planned lottery for visitors wishing to make the staircase climb.
The reopening of the crown atop the statue, a gift to the United States from France in 1885 and a symbol of freedom standing on its island in New York City’s harbor since then, will take place on Independence Day — the anniversary of July 4, 1776, the date inscribed on the tablet that Lady Liberty holds in her hand.
Salazar, acknowledging that standing in the crown this morning gave him “goose bumps,” said Park Service employees are being trained on ways to usher selected visitors up and down the single narrow stairway inside the statue.
He acknowledged that this would entail “risks” but also said that everyone allowed inside would have undergone “double screening” for security purposes at a national monument whose pinnacle has been closed to the public since terrorists attacked the World Trade Center towers in New York with hijacked airliners.
Although the crown has remained closed, the base, pedestal and lower observation deck have since been reopened.