which includes historical artifacts, suffered no damage, the infrastructure was badly beaten. The NPS reports that doors and windows in the ferry building were severely damaged, and exhibits were toppled over. Beyond that, the mechanical systems and fire suppression systems were damaged; power and communications systems were destroyed; there was flooding throughout the Island, and standing water remained in the basement of the Immigration building, where the concessioners’ supplies are stored.
“Statue Cruises has not been able to take visitors to Liberty or Ellis Island since the storm hit.” —Michael Burke, Statue Cruises
STATUE CRUISES GOES INTO ACTION
By Shirley Del Valle, Associate Editor
DAMAGE AND LAYOFFS But since Hurricane Sandy made landfall on October 29, 2012, both Liberty and Ellis Island have been closed to the general public, disrupting Statue Cruises’ operations and causing tremendous losses for the operator. While touring Liberty Island late last year, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar estimated that repairs to both Ellis Island and Liberty Island could cost as much as $59 million.
According to the NPS, while Lady Liberty herself was not harmed, 75% of the 12-acre Liberty Island was submerged under water— the utilities and backup generator were damaged, and the island’s power systems destroyed. Sandy’s ferocity also uprooted the brick pathways around the island and damaged passenger and auxiliary docks. Over on Ellis Island the damage seemed far worse. While the museum collection,
Before Sandy made landfall, Statue Cruises put in place its Hurricane Contingency Plan, sending its fleet north to ensure the vessels would be protected from the storm. Unfortunately for the operator its lower Manhattan offices were flooded forcing it to relocate its base of operations to one of its very own ferries, docked by Liberty State Park, Jersey City, NJ. As for its operations, “Statue Cruises has not been able to take visitors to Liberty or Ellis Island since the storm hit,” explains Michael Burke, COO, Statue Cruises. The islands closure led to the loss of 70 percent of Statue Cruises’ revenue and the lay off 130 Statue Cruises employees, approximately 75 percent of the company’s workforce. In total, between staff on both Ellis and Liberty Islands, security screeners and Statue Cruises employees, 500 individuals were laid off. To keep business afloat, Statue Cruises has been operating 120 harbor tours a week. The hour-long tour departs from Battery Park, explains Burke, then “sails past the World Trade Center, Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty, the South Street Seaport, around Governors Island and finally, under the Brooklyn Bridge before it returns to Battery Park.” The goal is to give passengers a taste of New York City and, of course, bring visitors as close as possible to Lady Liberty herself. To add to the experience NPS Rangers are on board to answer any and all questions for passengers. April 2013 MARINE LOG 53