What do you get a lady for her 125th birthday?
If she’s the Statue of Liberty, you get her a gun salute, fireworks, some musical performances and a naturalization ceremony for 125 new Americans.
The National Park Service is hosting a series of events Friday to mark the Oct. 28, 1886 dedication of one of the nation’s most iconic landmarks. In an effort to recreate some of the original festivities (which included an appearance by President Grover Cleveland), the U.S. Coast Guard plans to sponsor a flotilla of vessels, the New York Fire Department fireboats plan to provide a water spout display and the Park Service is hosting a morning concert.
Later, in a nod to the 21st century, officials plan to unveil a new “torch webcam” providing viewers with views of New York Harbor and the statue from within Lady Liberty’s torch.
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar — who oversees the Park Service — also plans to preside at a naturalization ceremony for 125 new Americans. A fireworks display scheduled for 7:45 p.m. Friday will cap the day’s events.
Once the party is over, officials plan to close the statue Saturday for up to a year in order to complete major renovations of the statue’s interior. The Park Service promises that most visits to Liberty Island won’t be disrupted, because 85 percent of visitors never actually venture into the statue, according to agency statistics.
The renovations include widening and replacing the statue stairways, updating electrical and fire suppression systems and replacing and renovating the elevators and restrooms. In one of his first acts as interior secretary, Salazar ordered the reopening of the statue’s crown after years of keeping it closed due to safety concerns. After reopening the crown on July 4, 2009, the Park Service announced the statue would close this weekend for the $27.25 million renovation.
The Statue of Liberty is comprised of 31 tons of copper and 125 tons of steel. It sways up to three inches in high winds exceeding 50 miles per hour, according to the Park Service.
It’s mighty tall, measuring 305.1 feet from the ground to the tip of its torch and 111 feet tall from the statue’s heel up to the tip of the torch. The statue’s eyes are two feet, six inches wide, and the nose measures four feet, six inches. The length of the statue’s right arm — the one holding the torch — measures 42 feet.
And measuring around its flowing robe, the Statue of Liberty has a 35-foot waist, according to Park Service statistics.
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