You still can’t visit the Statue of Liberty in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, but you will once again be able to see the beloved American icon shining bright after sunset in New York Harbor.
The storm knocked out power on Liberty Island, so Lady Liberty has been enveloped in darkness at night for almost two weeks now. But starting Friday, the statue will be re-lit by a temporary, generator-powered system donated to the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks.
Musco Lighting, a company that specializes in lighting sports stadiums and arenas, is providing the equipment and services that will illuminate the statue, while the National Park Service evaluates the damage to the attraction’s permanent lighting system.
“While we work to do everything necessary to reopen the statue and every other national park damaged by the hurricane, we are grateful to Musco and the National Park Foundation for turning the lights on Lady Liberty, another step forward in the recovery of this region,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, in a statement.
The temporary fix consists of LED light fixtures, powered by small generators and mounted on portable structures that can be moved as needed during the restoration work.
Liberty Island was closed on Oct. 29 as the hurricane approached, and it never reopened after the storm caused considerable wind and water damage to the grounds.
There is now minimal power on the island and crews are on site cleaning up the debris, but it’s still unknown how much it will cost to return the attraction back to normal or when it will reopen to the public, said Linda Friar, a spokeswoman for the National Park Service Incident Management Team.
The group – charged to help New York Harbor-area national parks after the storm – now includes 320 NPS employees from 38 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
“The statue, as far as we know, (is OK, but) the full assessment has not been done,” Friar said.
“Most of the damage we’ve identified is more about the base and the infrastructure – the sidewalks and the mechanical systems, the docks.”
The repair list released by National Park Service is extensive:
- Water flooded the basement of the Visitor Contact Building.
- Concession facilities and security screening facilities were significantly damaged.
- More than half of the brick pavers in the promenade around the island have been dislodged.
- Railings and other protective barriers have been damaged or are missing.
- The vast majority of Liberty Island has debris and/or “trip and fall” hazards.
The National Park Service this week released photos showing some of the damage, including torn-up walkways, debris littering the grounds and submerged docks.
But there is some progress: The fire alarms are back up and working, Friar said, and crews are on the site daily, weather permitting.
It’s been a distressing turn of events for the National Park Service, which had just reopened the Statue of Liberty crown to the public on Oct. 28 after a year of renovations, only to have to shut down the entire attraction a day later because of the storm.
But visitors yearning for a photo op with the statue still have some options.
Statue Cruises, the official ferry provider for Liberty Island, is now offering a “Statue of Liberty Harbor Cruise,” which gives visitors close-up views of Lady Liberty from the water. People who booked tickets to visit the statue can exchange them to board the cruise. If you prefer to reschedule your trip or receive a refund, email the company at firstname.lastname@example.org.