LOWER MANHATTAN — The National Park Service has scrapped its plan to relocate its security checkpoint for passengers traveling to the Statue of Liberty from Battery Park to Ellis Island, officials said Monday.
The decision comes a week after Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Sen. Charles Schumer warned that moving the security off of mainland Manhattan when the monument is slated to reopen on July 4 could endanger the hundreds of passengers heading to Lady Liberty on unscreened boats.
Terrorists could possibly smuggle bombs or weapons on the ferries to Ellis Island, Schumer said last week.
Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel said in a released statement that her “highest commitment is to the safety and security of all visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.”
Jewel said that they would set up a temporary screening checkpoint at Battery Park starting July 4 that would include screening of passengers and bags with x-ray scanners and magnetometers, while the Park Service continues a “thorough review of security procedures” for travelers to Lady Liberty.
For years, the much-maligned security tents sat in Battery Park as a screening point for passengers to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. The NYPD has long said that moving security out of Battery Park would be problematic, and did not support the move after Hurricane Sandy shuttered Lady Liberty.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg praised the decision to keep security in Battery Park.
"It’s the right decision, and an example of government agencies working together to achieve practical solutions," he said in a released statement.