Lady Liberty reopens on America’s Birthday

libertyThe Statue of Liberty, closed since the destruction wrought by Hurricane Sandy, is reopening to the public this Fourth of July. The U.S. Parks Department was expecting a large crowd for the holiday and ribbon-cutting ceremony at Liberty Island with federal officials and Mayor Michael Boomberg. The first boats left from Manhattan and New Jersey at 8:30 a.m. and the first visitors ascended at 9 a.m. Some repairs to brick walkways and docks are still underway, but much of the work has been completed since Sandy swamped most of the national landmark’s 12-acre site. The statue was spared in the fall storm, but Lady Liberty’s little island took a serious beating. Railings broke, docks and paving stones were torn up and buildings were flooded. The storm destroyed electrical systems, sewage pumps and boilers. Hundreds of National Park Service workers from as far away as California and Alaska spent weeks cleaning mud and debris.