U.S. Interior secretary Ken Salazar announced this morning on the Today show that the crown of the Statue of Liberty, closed since the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001, will reopen to the public on July 4. The thrilling perch, accessed by a twelve-story narrow staircase, will be open to 30 tourists an hour, selected by lottery from visitors to Liberty Island. This is a big victory for Representative Anthony Weiner (you know, the guy who's fucking Ben Affleck), who has fought for years for the reopening of the popular and iconic site, in spite of the fact that the tiny space is viewed as having insufficient exit routes and fire-safety precautions. The Times' City Room blog has a good account of the history of tourism on Liberty Island this morning. (Though sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi never intended people to use the inside of the statue, it was opened to "curiosity seekers" in 1886. The torch was closed to visitors for good in 1916 after a bomb was planted there.) In January, Weiner took Salazar to the crown to see for himself what people were missing. When he got back down, he explained his reaction simply: "One word: Awesome."
Statue of Liberty’s Crown Will Reopen July 4 [City Room/NYT]