New Security Plan For Statue of Liberty National Monument on Hold

Efforts to come up with a new security plan for visitors heading to Ellis Island have come up short and authorities are revisiting their options. Currently, visitors have to head through screening tents at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan before boarding ferries to Ellis Island. NPS photo of security checkpoint.

Efforts to come up with a new, less of a hassle, security plan for visitors heading to Statue of Liberty National Monument have been restarted, as various state, local and federal agencies have failed to reach agreement on a new plan.

"The U.S. Park Police, New York City Police Department, the mayor’s office and Interior Secretary (Ken) Salazar’s office are all sitting down, going through the proposal by detail," said Oliver Spellman, the Northeast senior program manager for the National Parks Conservation Association. "They've reopened the conversation with more agencies involved."

Since 9-11 visitors heading to Liberty Island have had to go through a security screening process at Battery Park in Lower Manhattan. That process, however, has led to long, slow-moving lines. And then, if visitors wanted to visit both Ellis Island and Liberty Island, they had to go through another security check at Liberty Island if they wanted to enter the statue's pedestal or crown.

While there had been a proposal to move the security operation to Ellis Island, U.S. Park Police officials had concerns with that option, according to Mr. Spellman. According to an article in the New York Times, the Park Police were not comfortable with letting visitors board ferries to Ellis Island without going through a security check.

What options are being considered, understandably, are not being discussed in public.

“They’re trying to see if they can find a way that works out for everyone, even if they could find a location outside of Battery Park," the NPCA representative said. “They’d rather err on the side of security, and that's really the question, how many checkpoints do you really need.”