Hurricane Sandy Recovery
After Hurricane Sandy
On October 29, 2012, flood waters from Hurricane Sandy covered 75% of Liberty Island and almost all of Ellis Island, flooding basements of all buildings with the exception of the Statue and Monument. Winds and flooding from the storm destroyed most of the infrastructure on both islands including; electric, water, sewer, HVAC systems, phone systems, security systems, and radio equipment. The visitor security screening facilities at Battery Park and Liberty State Park were destroyed. The main passenger pier and the work/emergency pier on Liberty Island were severely damaged, as were the perimeter walkway and railings around the island.
The Statue of Liberty is on Liberty Island, a 14 acre island located a mile south of lower Manhattan. Normally, the confines of the New York Harbor protect Liberty Island from extreme weather. However, when Hurricane Sandy hit, Liberty Island was in the direct path of a massive storm surge. Nearby in Battery Park, water rose 13.8 feet (4.2m). On Liberty Island, that meant nearly 75% of the island was under water according to former Statue of Liberty Superintendent David Luchsinger.
Repairs and Restoration
On July 4, 2013, Liberty Island and the Statue of Liberty reopened to the public. The primary and secondary heating and electrical systems that serve the Island were replaced after being destroyed. The damaged system includes the boilers for the heating system and primary switchgear for the electrical system that were distributed between the basements of the Administration Building and the Concessions Building. Similar damage also took place at Ellis Island. On Liberty Island, the improvements necessary to create the central plant included a new elevated structural floor. Planners then calculated how to protect similar equipment on Ellis Island.