NEW YORK — New security plans for the Statue of Liberty could leave visitors vulnerable when it reopens July Fourth, New York officials said Monday.
Sen. Chuck Schumer and New York police Commissioner Raymond Kelly called for the National Park Service to reverse its plan, which calls for visitors to board boats either in lower Manhattan or New Jersey and stop at nearby Ellis Island for security checks.
Previously, passengers were screened with airport-style metal detectors before they boarded boats for Liberty Island from Battery Park in lower Manhattan and Liberty State Park in New Jersey.
"The NYPD and the Park Service have differences over how to best protect visitors from a potential terrorist attack," said Kelly, adding that he has written to the secretary of the interior about the issue.
"I know the NPS cares deeply about the monument and its visitors," Schumer said, "but in this case I think they've made a mistake and should rethink this policy change."
Park service representatives did not immediately respond to comment requests.
"This screening was put in just after the horrific events of Sept. 11. And I can tell you, in our judgment, the threat has not abated," Kelly said.
The statue was closed after Hurricane Sandy. Storm surges flooded Liberty Island, destroying boilers and electrical systems, but the statue, which is on higher ground on the island, remained intact.
Kelly and Schumer said any additional costs for security checks could be covered with a small increase in the fee charged to visit the island.