Lady Liberty’s crown reopens


Image from NPR (Kena Betancur via Getty Images)

Hanseok Lee, Contributor

After closing on March 16, 2020 in response to the pandemic, the crown on the Statue of Liberty has been reopened to visitors for the first time in nearly three years. 

COVID-19 was not the first time this iconic landmark became off-limits to the public. From 1984 to 1986, the sculpture went through a massive centennial restoration, prohibiting people from going inside. It closed once again after the 9/11 attacks, then another time for a year-long renovation that took place in 2011.

Ever since its dedication in 1886, the Statue has been arguably one of the most famous symbols of the Big Apple. It was designed by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi to commemorate the friendship between the people of France and the people of the United States. The seven spikes on the crown represent the light of the sun, which is meant to enlighten the seven continents and seas.

The crown sits 246 feet above ground level, equivalent to a 27-story building. Unlike the other observation deck located on the pedestal of the Statue, the crown is not wheelchair accessible and visitors need to climb 162 stairs in order to reach the top. The National Park Service advises that visitors be free of health issues, such as heart or respiratory conditions and fear of heights or closed spaces. With quite a long way up, feel free to take a rest at one of the four platforms designated to do so. Though it is a difficult task, the view serves as a massive reward.

Visitors who opt for this journey get to see the inside of the sculpture and have a closer look at Lady Liberty’s features. It also serves as a more personal experience, as the crown’s observatory deck is only wide enough to accommodate 10 people at once. Instead of the panoramic views down at the pedestal, the crown has 25 framed windows that look out at Manhattan, getting a one-of-a-kind view of what it looks like from the perspective of Lady Liberty. 

Students who are planning to visit Lady Liberty’s crown should purchase tickets through Statue City Cruises. Adult tickets for ferries departing from either New York or New Jersey cost $24.30 per person. Due to the site’s popularity, there are limited reservations and tickets do sell fast; as of Oct. 22, even the cold month of December is almost fully booked. 

Tickets can be picked up at the ticket office in either Battery Park, NY, or Liberty State Park, NJ. Be sure to bring a photo ID and the credit card used for the reservation.

On top of an airport-level security check before boarding the ferry, tourists visiting Lady Liberty must pass an additional screening. Only mobile phones, cameras, bottled water and necessary medication are allowed inside the monument, but there are lockers near the entrance for any other items that need to be stored. 

Throughout all the uncertainties of this year, the crown’s reopening signals moving toward a new normality.