A narrow, 40-foot-long (12-meter-long) ladder is the only way to the torch, the Statue of Liberty's highest point.
The torch has been off-limits to visitors since the "Black Tom" explosion of July 30, 1916. Debris from the attack on U.S. ammunition supplies on nearby—and long since subsumed by landfill—Black Tom Island, New Jersey, pierced the statue.
Another attack—the terrorist assault on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001—prompted the full closure of Liberty Island, which was reopened a hundred days later. The Statue of Liberty would reopen in 2004, and the reopening of the crown will complete the process on the Fourth of July, 2009.
Photograph courtesy Historic American Engineering Record, Library of Congress