Music Box: Patti Labelle & the Lady of the Harbor

It’s hard to believe that, as a native New Yorker, it’s been over 3 decades since my first – and last – visit to the Statue Of Liberty. It was during a 4th grade class trip, years before it was closed (from 1984 – 1986) for a much needed face-and-body lift. As someone who’s loath to tourist attractions, I’ve avoided revisiting. Now, it’s set to close again this week for further multimillion dollar (re)construction. (After the September 11 attacks in 2001, it was closed for reasons of safety and security; the pedestal reopened in 2004 and the statue in 2009, with limits on the number of visitors allowed to ascend to the crown.)

There are no elaborate celebratory plans to commemorate this 125th birthday milestone, so I decided to pay tribute myself by posting the celestial Patti LaBelle (accompanied by the late, great Billy Preston on organ) saluting Lady Liberty in a great 1986 July 4th concert that aired to fête the 1986 re-opening, which coincided with her 100th birthday. It’s an other-worldly gospel performance so joyful it almost made this atheist a god-fearing believer! (I said almost!)

Happy Birthday Lady Liberty. I promise to visit you soon, that is, once you’re available for company…

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