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Fundraising effort to re-open Statue of Liberty

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November 25, 2003

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and American Express Chairman and CEO Kenneth I. Chenault today announced a nationwide campaign to raise a minimum of $5 million to reopen the Statue of Liberty. The fundraising campaign will raise money to make critical safety improvements to the Statue of Liberty so that the monument, which has been closed as a result of security concerns since September 11, 2001, will again be open to the public. The improvements include: upgrading fire suppression and emergency notification systems; creating additional exits from the Statue's base; and enhancing visitor safety and security measures throughout the Statue. To raise awareness about the initiative, American Express has commissioned acclaimed film director Martin Scorsese to produce and narrate a documentary on the Statue of Liberty that is scheduled to air on the History Channel on January 15. In addition, American Express has pledged a minimum of $3 million to kick-off the nationwide fundraising campaign. The announcement was held in Battery Park in Lower Manhattan.

"New York has always loved the Statue of Liberty from the moment she was dedicated in 1886," said Mayor Bloomberg. "For years, New Yorkers and visitors from around the world have visited Lady Liberty, and celebrated America's rich immigrant past. But sadly, since 9/11, the Statue has been closed due to security concerns. That is why I am so pleased to be here today and joining American Express to kick-off a nationwide fundraising campaign for the necessary security improvement to reopen the statue. Especially at a time when many of New York's sons and daughters are serving in the U.S. military right now, fighting around the world in a war that began on the streets of Lower Manhattan, reopening the Statue of Liberty will show that New York will always stand for freedom and remain the world's second home."

"Supporting the Statue of Liberty is a special part of American Express' own heritage," said Kenneth I. Chenault, Chairman and CEO, American Express. "She has inspired people the world over for more than 100 years and today she needs our help. By reopening her doors to the public, we hope to attract visitors from around the world who will rediscover her role as a beacon of freedom and hope."

"The Statue of Liberty resonates with everyone across the globe," said Martin Scorsese, filmmaker. "On a personal level, the Statue made a lasting impression on my grandparents when they first came to America early in the 20th century. Reopening the Statue to the public is an important cause and I hope that people will take the time to look closely at the ideas and values the Statue represents."

"I applaud the commitment of American Express, The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, and the citizens of this nation who have given so much of their time and resources to preserving and protecting this treasured national icon," said Fran Mainella, Director of the National Park Service in Washington, D.C. "Partnerships and collaborative efforts such as this have been a long standing tradition at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. We have been working with the Foundation and are making great progress on many improvement projects toward reopening the Statue."

"The Statue of Liberty is the symbol of opportunity on which our nation was founded," said Stephen A. Briganti, Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation President and CEO. "We must ensure that her doors are open for every generation to experience what she stands for. As they have so many times in the past, American Express has once again come to the aid of The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation and we are grateful for their continued commitment."

To learn more or to donate money, please visit www.statueofliberty.org

From nyc.gov

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That's a shame I never knew they closed it. All you ever hear from CNN now is war this war that never anything from the home front. I hope they do open it I want to go see it when I go to NY next summer.

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The island was re-opened not too long after September 11th, but you need to practically have a body cavity search to get on the boat. The Statue itself, including the pedestal, has been closed since September 11th. So you can go to the island, but you can't go inside.

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Lady Liberty to reopen soon


STAFF WRITERS March 27, 2004

America will soon get back its symbol of freedom.

The Statue of Liberty, closed to visitors since the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, will reopen shortly, National Park Service Deputy Director Don Murphy said at a congressional hearing this week.

Murphy said the reopening is "really imminent," now that a $7 million fund-raising drive for the 117-year-old monument is nearing its close. An official announcement will follow as early as next week, he added.

At Battery Park Friday, people boarding a Circle Line boat for a grounds-only tour of Liberty Island praised the news.

"Lady Liberty is part of our American family," said Donald Raper, 30, an accountant from Harlem who was in Battery Park on his lunch break. "It marks New York, and without it, there is no New York City, there is no America, there is no world."

Tourist Lorna Bryson, 67, of Portland, Ore., remembered her first visit to the statue as a third grader during World War II.

"As soon as the Statue of Liberty will reopen, I will come back, in hopes that I will have that same liberating experience in seeing her as I did in 1944," said Bryson, a mortgage broker clerk.

Along with corporate pledges and grants, thousands of people have contributed to raise the $7 million needed for safety improvements, including an emergency exit and upgraded fire safety system, through statueofliberty.org, said Peg Zitko, spokeswoman for the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation.

So far, $5.9 million has been raised.

"We are confident that we will raise [the remainder] of those funds before the completion of the project," Zitko said.

In November, officials said visitors would likely have access to the statue's pedestal, but not its crown. The statue's torch has been off limits since 1916.

Clay Harris, 17, of Evansville, Ind., was happy enough to be on the statue's grounds for the first time Friday, singing the national anthem with 100 classmates from Evansville North High School.

"It's the most exhilarating experience I can ever have," he said.

From New York Newsday

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