The Statue of Liberty re-opened Thursday after months of repairs following Superstorm Sandy.
The first boats left Manhattan and New Jersey at 8:30 a.m. to allow visitors to begin to ascend the statue at 9 a.m.
Hurrican Sandy spared the statue itself, but the little island on which it rests took a serious beating. The storm broke railings, tore up docks and paving stones and flooded buildings. It also destroyed electrical systems, sewage pumps and boilers.
Hundreds of National Park Service workers spent weeks cleaning mud and debris. Some repairs to brick walkways and docks are still underway.
Neighboring Ellis Island endured far worse damage to its infrastructure and is still not open. As a result, visitors to Lady Liberty will go through security on lower Manhattan, instead of Ellis as called for in an earlier plan.
The damage to both islands is estimated at $59 million.