The National Park Service officially reopened the crown atop New York City’s Statue of Liberty on Tuesday after a two-year pandemic-induced closure. The crown is the highest viewpoint open to tourists on the statue and has been closed since March 16, 2020, when the National Parks Service closed the entirety of the site to tourists in an attempt to reduce transmission of Covid-19.
Demand for access to the crown has been high since the announcement, and tickets are already sold out through November 8th. With fall as one of the best times to visit New York City, many tourists have been making plans.
Although the viewing platform in the crown has just reopened this week, visitors have been able to access other sections of the iconic statue over the past 2 years. The popular pedestal deck reopened in July of 2021 at 50% capacity, but the crown had remained closed until this past Tuesday.
According to CNN, Jerry Willis, a spokesperson for the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island, the reopening was delayed for several reasons, including city, state, and federal pandemic restrictions and a “record-low hiring pool.” The pedestal deck is accessible by elevator. However, the only way to the top of the crown is up its 162 narrow winding steps, and additional staff is needed when the crown section is open.
The National Park Services, which manages the landmark, warns of the strenuous climb to the crown and advises visitors with certain medical conditions and children less than four feet tall to avoid venturing to the top. Climbers over six feet are advised to watch their heads as they ascend and descend the narrow staircase.
Sightseers who reach the peak can peer out any of the 25 windows on the crown while taking in views of New York Harbor and the skylines of nearby Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. From this vantage, visitors have a birds-eye view of New York’s most iconic sites.
Tickets to visit the Statue of Liberty must be reserved in advance online or by phone through Statue City Cruises, the only authorized ferry service to the attraction. Ferries depart from either New York or New Jersey and cost $24.30 for an adult, $18.30 for a senior, and $12.30 for children ages 4-12.
The round trip service includes a stop at the Statue of Liberty Monument on Liberty Island as well as a stop at Ellis Island to visit the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration. Liberty Island is just a short ferry ride from several of New York City’s top hotels, making it an easy destination for out-of-town visitors.
The Statue of Liberty, whose official name is Liberty Enlightening the World, was a gift from the people of France and arrived in New York in the summer of 1885. French sculptor Auguste Bartholdi selected Liberty Island as the statue’s location because of its visibility to ships entering New York Harbor, often described as the gateway to America. Assembly of the statue on the island took over a year, and the monument was unveiled in October 1886 to great fanfare.
Lady Liberty’s crown is the highest viewpoint on the statue open to tourists, but it is far from the tallest point. The tip of the statue’s flame stands just over 305 feet from the ground but has not been open to the public since the Black Tom explosion in 1916. Only National Park Staff are allowed to climb the 40-foot ladder to the tip to maintain the floodlights inside the torch.
Although tourists cannot physically visit the viewpoint on the statue’s torch, the location’s unique view is available to all through a series of webcams. The National Park Service installed several cameras that broadcast live views from several different locations on the statue. The webcams are free to access and can be viewed online.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com