Statue of Liberty is closed indefinitely in the aftermath of monster storm Sandy
The Statue of Liberty, reopened last weekend after a $30 million refurbishing, is closed indefinitely after the hurricane’s massive storm surge flooded its New York Harbor home. Liberty Island and its historic neighbor, Ellis Island, were both victimized by the record high water level in the harbor as Hurricane Sandy took no mercy on the national landmarks, said National Parks Service spokeswoman Mindy Rambo. A quick examination showed no damage to the statue and no water damage to the Ellis Island museum, she said. But a team of federal inspectors was due at the two sites Saturday to conduct a full assessment of any possible infrastructure problems at the two island sites. “There was water damage to the Statue of Liberty site,” said Rambo. “We will not know until the team is through exactly how long the site will be closed.” The statue’s crown just reopened to the public last Sunday after a year-long renovation for Lady Liberty. New steps — a daunting 393, up from the old total of 354 — allowed better access to the crown with its panoramic views of the city skyline and the Jersey shoreline. Other upgrades included new granite staircases outside the monument, upgrades to the pedestal elevators and wheelchair access to the observation decks. It was unclear if the storm damaged any of the new additions to the 126-year-old gift from the people of France. Parks officials expected about 13,000 visitors to scale the new stairs to the crown in the last two months of this year — with all the tickets for a 2012 trip sold out before the statue was reopened. It was closed last October for the work to begin.