Mayor Bloomberg and Interior Secretary Gale Norton have announced that the Statue of Liberty will re-open in August. Visitors have been able to go to Liberty Island, but the Statue itself has been closed since the 9/11 attacks, while it was retrofitted with enhanced security and a new emergency staircase.
The cost of the renovation was covered by some $19.6 million in public money and about $7 million in private donations, with Mayor Bloomberg himself ponying up $100,000. The New York Daily News also threw in $100,000, while raising $60,000 more from its readers.
There's a catch: the public will be admitted only to the Statue's 16-story pedastal. For now, and possibly forever, the steps leading up to the Statue's crown will be closed. Secretary Norton claimed that the Statue's designer "never intended visits to the inside of Lady Liberty." Intended or not, the long climb was a rite of passage for visitors to NYC, although the old joke was that natives almost never did it. I myself made the climb twice, both times as a tourist. My son will evidently never have that chance.
It's a cliché to say that "the terrorists have won," but this time that just might be true.