July 4, 2013
The Statue of Liberty reopens on the Fourth of July; months after Superstorm Sandy swamped its little island in New York Harbor.
A large crowd gathered for the holiday and ribbon-cutting ceremony at Liberty Island with federal officials and New York's mayor. Lines stretched blocks long for the boat, which left from Battery Park in Manhattan.
The statue was spared in the fall storm, but Lady Liberty's island took a serious hit. Railings broke, docks and paving stones were torn up and buildings were flooded. The storm also destroyed electrical systems, sewage pumps and boilers. Hundreds of National Park Service workers from as far away as California and Alaska spent weeks cleaning mud and debris.
Some repairs to brick walkways and docks are ongoing but much of work has been completed since Sandy swamped most of the 12 acres of the national landmark.
The tiny island was decorated with star-spangled bunting Thursday, but some parts remain blocked off, and the main ferry dock was boarded up.
Visitors went through security on lower Manhattan after city officials criticized an earlier plan to screen them at neighboring Ellis Island, which endured far worse damage to its infrastructure and won't be open to the public anytime soon.
The damage to both islands was $59 million.