Give me Liberty or . . . Actually, just give me Liberty

Yesterday, Sec. Interior Salazar visited the Statue of Liberty, the crown of which has not been re-opened since Sept. 11 2001. The National Parks Service claims this is for safety reasons, that the crown does not meet modern safety and fire codes. Two pieces of evidence cut against this explanation:
1. It was closed immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks, it seems extremely unlikely that they realized these problems existed exactly at that time.
2. When I was in 5th grade, I raced up the stairs along with a large number of other children. No one was hurt. While anecdote isn't the singular of data, I haven't seen any data about injuries which indicate that the stairs are dangerous, so anecdotes will have to do.

So, I agree with Rep. Weiner and Sen. Menendez, re-open the entirety of the statue. Besides all the symbolic benefits, I can't believe doing so would be anything but revenue positive, both for the federal and state governments and for private businesses which cater to tourists in that area.

On a somewhat related issue, what's the deal with the massive subsidy to Staten Island residents called “The Staten Island Ferry”? Are there some additional costs imposed upon them which justify this and make it better idea than providing free transport from the Bronx, Brooklyn, or Queens to Manhattan? I suppose it would be hard to enforce a system in which the subway was free if and only if your boarded in the last stop in one borough and got off in the first stop in another, but surely that can't be the reason. Is it just that Staten Island is too far away from Manhattan to build a bridge or subway from there?