The handicapped have not been free to fully enjoy one of the nation's symbols of liberty--until now. Among the hundreds of disabled people gathered on Liberty Island for Statue of Liberty Access Celebration Day was Ray Bloomer, a blind man who stroked life-size copies of the statue's foot and face. "The statue represents liberty and freedom, so we wanted disabled people to have the opportunity to experience all of that," said Bloomer, a disabled program specialist with the National Park Service. Other measures to aid the handicapped include replacing steps on the island with ramps, equipping an elevator to carry wheelchairs to the various museum levels and an observatory, lowering sinks, phones and counters and providing assistance for the hearing-impaired.
--New York City officials joined singer Diana Ross in breaking ground for a Central Park playground to be built with a $275,000 gift made after her 1983 concert at the park. Parks Commissioner Henry Stern said that Ross helped design plans for the reconstruction of the 50-year-old playground at West 81st Street. It is scheduled for completion next spring. "Some of the playgrounds (I've seen), as I've traveled throughout America and even Europe, you find the swings that pinch the fingers and the concrete that might hurt if they fell down, so my intent in creating this playground is safety first," Ross said.