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Statue of Liberty's crown re-opens for July 4 celebration

Video by Shona BHATTACHARYYA

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-07-05

In celebration of the US Independence Day on July 4, tourists will be able to climb up to the top of the Statue of Liberty today, for the first time in eight years. Climbing to the crown was banned after the September 11 terror attacks in 2001.

In New York Harbour, Lady Liberty's crown re-opens to the public on Saturday, coinciding with the Fourth of July holiday, and will remain open for two years only.

 

The crown, the highest accessible part of the statue, is the last part of the statue to open to the public after being shut down in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City.

The authorities, however, are still cautious. If the statue ever needs to be evacuated in an emergency, the stairway comprising 354 steps is the only way out. That's why only 200 people will be allowed to go to the top every day, and then only ten at a time.

A security guard interviewed on site said, "Could you imagine being up here on that fateful day, 9/11... ? That panic we had to get down those stairs. So that's one of the reasons for this small number of people being allowed here, to avoid any kind of problems."


Tickets to climb up the statue went on sale on June 13, and sold out for the entire summer in just a few hours. It's no surprise - the crown's been off limits for eight years and will close again in 2011 for essential maintenance work.

Date created : 2009-07-04

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