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No Estimate On Reopening Liberty Island; Statue OK

By KAREN MATTHEWS

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Tourists will miss out for a while on one of the hallmarks of a visit to New York â¿¿ seeing the Statue of Liberty up close.

The statue itself survived Superstorm Sandy intact, but damage to buildings and Liberty Island's power and heating systems means the island will remain closed for now, and authorities don't have an estimate on when it will reopen.

The brick paths around the 12-acre island are torn up, and some docks are splintered. The metal railing that surrounds the island is broken in some places. The waterline on some of the buildings reaches 8 feet.

The storm flooded the island's power and heating systems, Superintendent David Luchsinger said as he led reporters on a tour Friday. The National Park Service still does not know when the statue will reopen to the public or how much the island repairs will cost.

Temporary power has managed to illuminate the statue at night since Nov. 9, and that lighting is to remain in place until permanent repairs are made.

Historical artifacts on neighboring Ellis Island, the renowned gateway for immigrants, were undamaged, as well. But that island's infrastructure was also crippled.

The last stop on the tour was Luchsinger's own house. It's still boarded up after the storm blew out the windows and doors.

The Statue of Liberty had 3.7 million visitors last year, making it the 19th most visited national park in the nation.

Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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