Miss Liberty's crown re-opens for July 4

NEW YORK -- With a tip of the nation's hat, the Statue of Liberty opened her crown to the public for the first time since the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

The iconic statue that sits on Liberty Island, once known as Bedloe's Island, in New York Harbor received the first passenger ferry of July 4 at 7 o'clock this morning. As part of the festivities, a special swearing-in ceremony for new citizens was held under a tent. Seven U.S. servicemen from various countries took the citizenship oath.

Visitors who climb inside the statue to reach the crown must negotiate a narrow "double helix" staircase, working their way up 146 steps with no turnarounds allowed. The total steps from the statue's base to the crown is 354.

The statue, whose official name is "Liberty Enlightening the World," was created by French architect Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and shipped from France as a gift to the U.S. in 1886, the nation's centennial year.

It is made of a pure copper sheeting hung on a framework of steel (originally puddled iron), except for the roch's flame which is coated in gold leaf. It originally was made of copper and later altered to hold glass panes. It stands atop a rectangular stonework pedestal which in turn stands on a foundation in the shape of an irregular 11-pointed star. The statue is 151 feet tall. With the pedestal and foundation, it is 305 feet.
• Visiting the Statue of Liberty
• Visiting Ellis Island
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Bare essentials for Air New Zealand

Bad taste, good taste, or just a taste of good fun?

That's the debate over the Air New Zealand commercials that have everyone from luggage-handling ground crews to pilots and flight attendants clad in nothing but body paint that resembles their work uniforms.

Private parts are strategically hidden, but for amateurs the employees do a fine job of representing their employer.

I even suspect passengers would pay more attention to the pre-flight safety briefing if these painted versions became the official everyday uniforms.

Go here for the commercial and here for the blooper outtakes.

• Tourism New Zealand
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