28 October 2012
A good news for the accessible tourism sector! Coinciding with the monument’s 126th birthday, the iconic Crown of the Statue of Liberty will reopen on October 28, 2012, after being closed for a year for renovations to make the New York landmark safer and more accessible to people in wheelchairs.
The renovations include new staircases and an elevator that will make the tourist attraction more accessible for persons with disabilities. For the first time, tourist in wheelchairs will be able to access the observation decks. The final cost for the renovations totaled about $30 million.
There are also more stairs than ever before, with a daunting 393 steps to the crown, where there were previously 354 slightly steeper steps. Wheelchair accessible elevators inside the pedestal bring visitors to just below Lady Liberty's sandals.
The statue is 151 feet from base to torch. It sits atop the 89-foot (27-meter) tall stone pedestal, which sits on a 65-foot (20-meter) tall foundation in the shape of a star.
Visitors in wheelchairs, who could view the statue only from the ground before, can now ascend to the top of statue's pedestal and see inside the structure. Though they can not access inside the body of the statute still due to design constraints.
Designed by Frédéric Bartholdi, the iconic statue in New York Harbor, the statue, a gift from France to the United States, was dedicated in 1886 and declared a national monument in 1924. In 2009, the crown was reopened to the public for the first time since the attacks of September 11, 2001.