NEW YORK — Months after Hurricane Sandy swamped her little island, the Statue of Liberty will welcome visitors again on Independence Day.
Sandy made landfall one day after the statue’s 126th birthday, flooding most of the 12 acres that she stands upon with water that surged as high as 8 feet. Lady Liberty herself was spared, but the surrounding grounds on Liberty Island took a beating.
Railings broke, docks and paving stones were torn up, and buildings were flooded. The storm destroyed boilers, sewage pumps and electrical systems. Hundreds of National Park Service workers spent weeks cleaning mud and debris. In recent months, all mechanical equipment was moved to higher ground as workers put the island back in order.
The damage to Liberty Island and neighboring Ellis Island cost about $59 million. Some repairs to brick walkways and docks are still underway, but on July 4 visitors will arrive via ferry boats once again to tour the landmark.