Currents E-Newsletter to Feature Update on Coastal Change Education Materials for Metro NY Area
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Statue of Liberty to reopen July 4 for the first time since Superstorm Sandy

New York, NY, July 3, 2013 - In the wake of Sandy late last October, Liberty Island (home to the Statue of Liberty, pictured below) and Ellis Island were both closed indefinitely while the National Park Service (NPS) assessed post-storm damage. Although the statue itself was not damaged by the storm, Liberty Island suffered significant damage to its infrastructure. Bricks were ripped up from pavements and Liberty Island’s dock, where tourists arrive by ferry may need to be rebuilt completely.

Photo: Paul C. Focazio, NYSG

Last summer, New York Sea Grant (NYSG) Hudson Estuary Specialist Nordica Holochuck (pictured at far right) hosted Bryan Chan (pictured at far left), a College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University (CALS)-sponsored undergraduate intern in her Kingston office. Chan worked with NYSG Web Content Manager Paul C. Focazio (pictured in middle) to develop educational curricula for a number of sites, including Liberty Island, as part of a Web-based mapping project on coastal change over time along more than 500 miles of New York's urban coastal and estuarine environments. This content will be online in the coming months.

For more on this story, including video blogs of Chan's weekly progress, see NYSG's related news item, "Sea Grant Helps Cornell Document Change, Develop Educational Curricula for NYC Sites." Also, see NYSG's related impact statement for more on this project (pdf).

An update on this project will be included in NYSG's Spring 2014 NY Coastlines / Currents e-newsletter. Make sure you're on our list to receive a copy in a few clicks at

Photo Series: Liberty & Ellis Islands - Post-Sandy Update
All photos by Paul C. Focazio, NYSG

On July 4, 2013, the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island will reopen to the public for the first time since Hurricane Sandy made landfall on October 29, 2012. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will join New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis, and other dignitaries in a ceremony and ribbon cutting on Liberty Island to celebrate the reopening at 10:30 a.m.

A ferry from the Marine Inspection Office will provide accredited media access to Liberty Island to cover the reopening ceremony. There will be no media access to the Statue or pedestal.

NPS provides updates on the status of access to Liberty Island via a section on their Web site,

One of the interpretive sign about planning your visit to Liberty Island from "the New Jersey side," via Liberty State Park ...

Liberty State Park, NJ (as well as Battery Park on the New York Side) provide ferry service to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. In the wake of Sandy late last October, both sites were both closed indefinitely while the National Park Service assessed post-storm damage.

A view of the Battery, the southernmost portion of Manhattan, from Liberty State Park.

Once aboard one of the cruise boats that leaves from Liberty State Park, we first stopped off at  Ellis Island (pictured here, with Liberty Island off to the left).

Though Ellis Island remained in the dark for several weeks after Superstorm Sandy in late-October 2012, according to museum officials, there was little or no damage to the curatorial and archival collections stored in the Immigration Building.

As of July 4, 2013, ferry service had not yet resumed to Ellis Island. It did, however, start up again to Liberty Island.

With the Battery off in the distance, our boat headed for the Statue of Liberty.

Although the statue itself was not damaged by Superstorm Sandy, Liberty Island suffered significant damage to its infrastructure. Bricks were ripped up from pavements and Liberty Island’s dock, where tourists arrive by ferry may need to be rebuilt completely ...

The Statue of Liberty, which celebrated its 125th year in 2012, had just completed an extensive $30-million renovation project that closed her crown to visitors for a year. Her long-awaited re-opening lasted for just six hours before Superstorm Sandy crashed into New York Harbor in late-October 2012. Damage to her flood-water-soaked mechanical systems had laid the iconic structure dark for approximately two weeks ...

After Superstorm Sandy began impacting the metro New York area on October 29, 2012, Lady Liberty was finally illuminated on Friday, November 9, 2012 for the first time since the massive storm.

During the 19th and early 20th centuries the area that is now Liberty State Park was a major waterfront industrial area with an extensive freight and passenger transportation network. This network became the lifeline of New York City and the harbor area. The Park's Center provides interpretive and educational programming focusing on the natural history and ecology of the Hudson River Estuary and New York-New Jersey Harbor Estuary. Visitors here are invited to learn more about salt marshes, fish life, endangered species, early settlements of the area and the Industrial Revolution.

Today, Liberty State Park continues to serve a vital role in the New York Harbor area ...

As the railroads and industry declined, the land at Liberty State Park was abandoned and became a desolate dump site. With the development of Liberty State Park came a renaissance of the waterfront. Land with decaying buildings, overgrown tracks and piles of debris was transformed into a modern urban state park ...

Liberty State Park was formerly opened on Flag Day, June 14, 1976, as New Jersey's bicentennial gift to the nation. Most of this 1,122 acre park is open space with approximately 300 acres developed for public recreation.

Lady Liberty, in the distance, as seen from Liberty State Park.

More Info:

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York, is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Sea Grant College Program (NSGCP) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSGCP engages this network of the nation’s top universities in conducting scientific research, education, training and extension projects designed to foster science-based decisions about the use and conservation of our aquatic resources. Through its statewide network of integrated services, NYSG has been promoting coastal vitality, environmental sustainability, and citizen awareness about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources since 1971.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG also offers a free e-list sign up via for NY Coastlines, its flagship publication, and Currents, its e-newsletter supplement, each distributed several times a year.

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