LOWER MANHATTAN — More than 4.5 million tourists sailed to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island last year — the highest number of visitors the landmarks have ever seen.
The new record marks a resurgence of tourism since 9/11, according to Statue Cruises, the boat line that ferries visitors to the iconic sites.
The previous record for visitors to the islands was set in 2000, the year before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, with 4.37 million tourists, Statue Cruises said in a statement.
In the wake of 9/11, an airport-style security checkpoint was set up for visitors, a process that has been streamlined in recent years to cut down on wait times, the ferry company said.
The islands also took a hit after Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Because of damage, Liberty Island was shuttered for eight months, while Ellis Island was closed for a year after the massive storm.
The number of Statue of Liberty visitors also bolstered a citywide record for tourism in 2016, with more than 60 million people flocking to the city, the most ever.