NEW YORK: A standoff over security screening procedures for the reopening of the Statue of Liberty next month was resolved on Monday after authorities agreed to carry out checks on tourists in Manhattan.
The world famous landmark has been closed since Hurricane Sandy struck last October, destroying security checkpoints at Battery Park in Manhattan which had been in place since the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The National Park Service had initially planned for visitors to be screened upon their arrival at Ellis Island — which neighbors the statue’s Liberty Island — when the monument reopens on the July 4 holiday.
But that plan had been criticized by New York police chief Ray Kelly and Senator Charles Schumer, who had argued that it would leave the area surrounding the Statue of Liberty unnecessarily vulnerable to a terrorist attack.
Schumer and Kelly said visitors should be screened before boarding ferries headed for the statue. “Leaving the ferry with hundreds of people on board heading towards a national symbol without screening, that’s like a sitting duck in New York Harbor,” Schumer said last month.
The federal park service has now relented and will resurrect security controls in Battery Park, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced.
“It’s the right decision, and an example of government agencies working together to achieve practical solutions,” Bloomberg said in a statement.