The battle between the NYPD and federal officials over Statue of Liberty security procedures appeared to be settled in March when authorities announced screening facilities would be moved from Battery Park and New Jersey to Ellis Island. However, on Monday, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Sen. Chuck Schumer held a press conference to declare that the National Park Service’s plan puts the monument at “greater risk” for a terrorist attack. “Imagine if airline passengers were not screened before they boarded a plane, but instead were screened after they landed,” said Schumer. “It makes no sense. The Park Service is making a serious mistake here and we’re asking them to change it.”
The tented pavilion where screenings were conducted in Battery Park was damaged during Hurricane Sandy, and reinstalling it might not be so simple. The New York Times notes that even before the storm, the people who run the park wanted the pavilion moved because it was unsightly and left the park clogged with tourists. The Park Service attempted to move the facility to Pier A and a Coast Guard building, but couldn’t make a deal to use those properties.
The Statue of Liberty is scheduled to reopen on July 4, so officials will have to resolve the security issue in the the next six weeks, or delay the opening yet again.