Access inside the Statue of Liberty was suspended for many years following the terrorist attacks of 9/11, initially due to security concerns and then to allow restoration work inside the statue to safely accomodate visitors and meet stringent new security requirements. Travellers are allowed to take items such as backpacks and bottled water from Manhattan to Liberty Island even though all visitors must pass through airport style security. You will not need to use the lockers if you do not have tickets to access the Statue of Liberty itself, but otherwise you will almost surely need to use the provided lockers.
Why Are Lockers Needed At The Statue Of Liberty?
Part of the stringent security requirements to enter the internals of the Statue of Liberty are that all visitors are restricted to carrying one camera and essential medication. This means all bags, wallets, keys, bottled water etc must be either left with someone who is not joining your group inside the statue or must be securely stored in one of the provided lockers. You will not be able to sneak any of this stuff in as you have to undergo additional security screening, including another metal detector before entering the Statue of Liberty itself.
What Makes The Lockers At The Statue of Liberty Special?
The lockers are some of the first in the country to rely completely on biometrics - you are not given a key that you wouldn't be allowed to take into the statue anyway. Instead, you use your finger by placing it on the provided touch screen to register a locker. Once you stow your gear and take the tour inside the statue, you come back to the locker area, place your finger on the pad again and your locker will open.
How Large Are The Lockers and How Much Do They Cost?
The lockers can comfortably accomodate a "school yard" size back pack with room for a medium size handbag and wallet. They are only $1 per 2 hours to hire, so if worse comes to worse, it will only cost you and extra $1 to hire a second locker if you are carrying more gear. The price is very good considering that they have a captive audience, it isn't like most visits could visit the island without such necessities as wallets, house keys or hotel room keys, so it is nice that they have kept the price of the mandatory lockers affordable.
Is The Biometrics Easy To Use?
In a word - Yes. Unused lockers are open, so you just need to go to an open locker, place your gear inside then shut the door and register your fingerprint on the touch pad and pay. Even if you forget your locker number you only have to go to a central area and place your finger on a screen and it will tell you which locker number is yours! From there you just go back to your locker, put your finger on the touchpad and hey presto, the door will open. Lockers like this should be rolled out in more places, it would be a big relief at places like water parks and ski resorts if patrons didn't have to worry all day about losing their locker key.
A lot of visitors who have secured tickets to enter the Statue of Liberty are unaware of the strict security requirements barring bringing in almost anything. But never fear, the biometric lockers in use on Liberty Island are not only cheap and easy to use, they are far superior to traditional lockers and should be used more extensively in tourist areas.
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