I heard some good news the other day that may be of interest to anyone who is planning a summer vacation: The Statue of Liberty’s crown is being reopened to tourists.
Ever since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center, the inside of the sheet metal-clad statue has been closed to tourists. Besides the security threat of allowing the public inside the statue, the small, winding stairs that lead to its crown were never designed to accommodate them, National Park Service officials said.
It was widely predicted that the crown would never again be open to visitors, but last year the park service decided that with some new precautions in place, the crown would again offer visitors a one-of-a-kind look at Manhattan’s skyline.
Tickets for the tours, which begin July 4, are now on sale. Published reports have them selling out up to a year in advance.
I mention this because in addition to being one of the highest profile sheet metal projects in the world, Snips interviewed one of the people involved in restoring Lady Liberty’s crown. Five years ago, I profiled Syracuse, N.Y., resident Dennis Heaphy, a tinsmith and actor hired by the park service in 1999 to restore the vintage locks and hinges that worked the crown’s windows.
The work was slow and meticulous. One time, after missing the last ferry back to Manhattan, he was forced to sleep inside the statue, listening to it creak and feeling it sway all night.
At the time, Heaphy lamented that the public would likely never see his handiwork. The park service had only reopened the statue’s base to tours a few months before I spoke to him, and officials were firm that there were no plans to reopen the crown’s observation deck.
I haven’t spoken to Heaphy in years, but I see that he now works with the Ellis Island Museum of American Immigration performing historical reenactments of early 20th century immigrants. I imagine he’s pretty happy – and proud – that tourist will again get to see his work.
If you want to see Heaphy perform, go here.