The good news is that visitors to New York City will once again be able include a visit to the Statue of Liberty on their itinerary as of the July Fourth holiday.
But the bad news is that criticism is already surfacing about the new plans for security procedures, requiring visitors to board ferry boats in Lower Manhattan or nearby New Jersey prior to enter through Ellis Island.
Both the Police Commissioner of New York and State Senator Charles Schumer are criticizing the newly revised security plans, which eliminates screening passengers before they board the tour boats using metal detectors similarly used for screening airline passengers.
Although the Obama administration has called for lowering security levels because they believe terrorism threats have reached levels prior to September 11, 2001, the Police Commissioner has sent a written letter to the Secretary of the Interior formally opposing the new security plan.
Commissioner Raymond Kelly insists that screening passengers for illegal weapons or other dangerous objects using a metal detector prior to them boarding tour boats to travel to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty National Park is an essential security feature that should not be abandoned since the threat of terrorist activity remains very real.
“The NYPD and the Park Service have differences over how to best protect visitors from a potential terrorist attack,” said Kelly, adding that he has written to the secretary of the interior about the issue.
“I know the NPS cares deeply about the monument and its visitors,” said Schumer, “but in this case I think they’ve made a mistake and should rethink this policy change.”
According to the Wall Street Journal, previously, passengers were screened with airport-style metal detectors before they boarded boats for Liberty Island from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey.
“This screening was put in just after the horrific events of Sept. 11. And I can tell you, in our judgment, the threat has not abated,” Kelly said.
Park service representatives did not immediately respond to comment requests.
The statue was closed after Superstorm Sandy late last year. Storm surges flooded Liberty Island, destroying boilers and electrical systems, but the statue, which is on higher ground, remained intact.
New Statue of Liberty security
New Statue of Liberty security: New Statue of Liberty security risky