The Statue of Liberty is one of the most famous landmarks in the world, but if we look a little deeper we uncover a hidden secret that has been concealed from tourists for over a century. The iconic symbol of Lady Liberty graces New York City’s skyline, and while many have marveled at the breathtaking view from her crown, few are aware of a second viewing platform at the torch’s summit.
The reason for the restricted access can be traced back to a pivotal moment in history during World War I. Black Tom Island, a little-known spot in the shadow of Liberty Island, held a significant munitions depot.
As the Americans were shipping millions of dollars’ worth of munitions to support the Allies, this depot became a target for sabotage. Kurt Janka, a German-American spy and saboteur, orchestrated a devastating attack on Black Tom Island.
The resulting explosion was so immense that it registered on the Richter scale, shattered windows in Lower Manhattan, and caused severe damage to Lady Liberty herself. Shrapnel struck her, bending her arm all the way to the crown. Though repairs were made, the structural integrity of the torch was compromised, leaving it off-limits to tourists since 1916.
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Top image: Statue of Liberty with her iconic torch. Source: Delphotostock / Adobe Stock.