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Statue of Liberty Security Screening Moving to Ellis Island

By Irene Plagianos on March 22, 2013 5:57pm | Updated on March 22, 2013 6:51pm

 Security for the Statue of Liberty will be moved from Battery Park to Ellis Island when Lady Liberty reopens on July 4, 2013.
Security for the Statue of Liberty will be moved from Battery Park to Ellis Island when Lady Liberty reopens on July 4, 2013.
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DNAinfo/Theodore Parisienne

LOWER MANHATTAN — The much-maligned security tents in Battery Park are finally on their way out.

Starting this summer, the security screening for passengers traveling to the Statue of Liberty will be moved from Battery Park to Ellis Island, officials announced Friday.

The new plan comes a few days after Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the July 4 reopening of the Statue of Liberty and its Sandy-ravaged home, Liberty Island.

The National Park Service had previously proposed tearing down the Battery Park security tents, where visitors were screened before they boarded the ferry to the attractions, and moving the security to Ellis Island instead — but the NYPD had objected to moving the security out of Battery Park.

“Safety is our highest priority for visitors to our national parks,” National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis said in a statement. "As we move forward with developing the long term facilities for screening on both Liberty and Ellis islands, we will continue our dialogue and coordination with New York City and New Jersey officials."

But police officials said Friday that moving the security screening could endanger visitors to Liberty Island.

"The Park Service's decision to reopen the Statue of Liberty without screening in Manhattan was made against the NYPD's recommendation and leaves unresolved the vulnerability to attack on ferry passengers en route to both Liberty and Ellis Islands," Paul Browne, the NYPD's chief spokesman, said in a statement.

Starting July 4, all visitors heading to Liberty Island will board a Statue Cruises ferry in Battery Park or New Jersey's Liberty State Park and then stop at Ellis Island for the screening.  Once screened, visitors will continue to Liberty Island. Passengers entering the Statue of Liberty will still need to have a secondary screening before entering the monument, the National Park Service said.

The initial screening facilities on Ellis Island will be temporary as Park Service designs permanent security structures.

Statue Cruises will begin taking reservations for tours of Liberty Island and access to the Statue of Liberty's crown in mid-April, officials said.

Though security will be housed there, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum remains under repair from storm damage, and it will likely not reopen until next year, officials said.

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