NEW YORK -- The National Park Service said it is taking steps to
alleviate visitor overcrowding and heat-related medical emergencies
at the Statue of Liberty this summer.
Starting June 28, the National Park Service will extend summer
hours at the 112-year-old monument and implement a pass system for
visitors who wish to climb to Lady Liberty's crown.
Circle Line Statue of Liberty ferries will depart from Battery
Park in lower Manhattan and from Liberty State Park in Jersey City,
N.J., beginning at 8:30 a.m. seven days a week.
The last boats will leave both cities at 4 p.m.; the last
ferries will depart Liberty Island at 7 p.m.
The expanded schedule will be in effect through Sept. 7.
Meanwhile, during July and August, only those passengers on the
8:30 a.m. ferries will receive special passes to climb to the crown
in an effort to reduce heat-related medical problems during the
hottest part of the day. The Park Service said pass holders can get
in line to climb to the crown until noon. The restrictions apply
only to those wishing to climb to the crown, with all other areas
of the statue and Liberty Island operating as usual.
In previous years during July and August, more than 1 million
people visited Liberty Island, often encountering waits of up to
five hours to purchase tickets, board ferries and enter the
Once inside the statue, visitors wishing to climb to the crown
must climb a narrow spiral staircase consisting of 354 steps in
temperatures often reaching 100 degrees. At best, only 350 people
per hour can be accommodated in the crown.
When the Statue of Liberty reopened to the public in July of
1986, following an extensive face-lift, the National Park Service
anticipated 2.1 million visitors a year with a maximum of 13,000
visitors a day. Soon after reopening, however, as many as 20,000
people a day were lining up to visit Liberty Island.
The monument attracted more than 3.8 million visitors last year,
according to Liberty Island superintendent Diane Dayson.