Web Exclusive: EW Tours Statue of Liberty

by Angela C. Baldwin 

On a rainy morning in late August 2013, ELEVATOR WORLD traveled to the Statue of Liberty for a tour of its recent elevator renovations. After months of planning the visit with the help of Liberty Elevator Corp., prior to and then again after Hurricane Sandy, we were able to finally coordinate a trip to view the much-heard-about Life and Safety Upgrades project. The day began early with a drive from Manhattan, New York, to New Jersey’s Liberty Park, courtesy of Liberty Elevator Corp. Marketing Director TinaMarie Cortina. Once we arrived at our rendezvous point, the Liberty Park Diner, we met up with the rest of our tour group: Doug and Darren Muttart, owners of Liberty Elevator Corp.; Chris Taukus, vice president of marketing and business development for Elevator Doors, Inc./Elevator Cabs Inc. (EDI/ECI); Ahmet Tanyeri, director and president emeritus, Van Deusen & Associates (VDA); and Hakan Tanyeri, executive vice president/principal, VDA. Liberty Elevator Corp., EDI/ECI and VDA worked on the Life and Safety Upgrades project as well as the original Lady Liberty elevators, completed in 1986. For all in attendance, the day held significance.

Once we were cleared by security, we proceeded to Ellis Island, where we met our tour guide, U.S. National Park Service’s John Warren, whose task it was to take us to the elevators quickly and efficiently before the statue opened to the general public.

Even though Ellis Island remained closed due to damage from Hurricane Sandy, Warren allowed us a quick tour as we waited for the 7:45 a.m. crew boat to ferry us to Liberty Island.

Once we arrived at Liberty Island, we quickly assessed the pedestal (main passenger) elevator, the statue’s main elevator, which was replaced with a machine-room-less elevator. The replacing of this elevator was particularly nostalgic for the Muttart brothers, whose father placed the first one in the Statue.



We rode the elevator up to its highest stop, where we proceeded to exit and visit the handicapped lift and emergency elevator. Both the lift and elevator were opened for us to go inside. We were also able to visit the hoistway of the emergency elevator, where talk of the challenges of construction ensued.

The excitement and pride of those in attendance could be easily felt. For these father/son teams, working on the iconic structure, not once, but twice, proved a unique and special experience. And, seeing the successful outcome of this project made it that much better, according to Doug Muttart. “Despite the challenges with this project because of its landmark status and the restrictions placed on the work by the government, we completed it on time. We had a grand opening with the secretary of the interior in attendance. And, the next day, Hurricane Sandy hit,” Muttart explained. Eventually, the public was able to return and experience the changes, particularly the handicapped lift, which allowed new access for those with disabilities.

We weren’t allowed to linger too long in the statue, as the general public soon started to make their way through, but the time given (which is rare for the media) was much appreciated by EW. The history seen, stories shared and good work witnessed made for a good visit to a landmark U.S. project.

The specifics of the Statue of Liberty’s Life and Safety Upgrades project can be found in EW’s January 2014 issue, where it is featured as a Project of the Year 2014 winner in the Elevators, New Construction category. 

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