LAS VEGAS -- The small masses huddling near the replica Statue of Liberty on the Las Vegas Strip in the wee hours of Friday included some who were tired and others who were poorer than when their night began in the nearby casinos.
Bathed in light that is a trademark of this city, eight workers in two baskets suspended by cranes were moving around, above, below and on top of the spectacular landmark at the foot of MGM Resorts' New York New York Hotel & Casino.
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With the sun rising, some five hours after the crews' work had begun and 48 hours after gusting winds had foiled their first attempt, the 150-foot-tall, 21-year-old statue was wearing a 6,000-square-foot, 620-pound Vegas Golden Knights sort-of jersey.
It was a perfect way to start a day that will see the Golden Knights host the Los Angeles Kings in Game 2 of the Western Conference First Round at nearby T-Mobile Arena (10 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, TVAS, ATTSN-RM, PRIME) and quite a change from the statue that stood in traditional dress only a few hours earlier.
Brian Killingsworth, chief marketing officer of the Golden Knights, said the idea of dressing the statue in a Vegas jersey was floated for next season. But with the Golden Knights qualifying for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in their inaugural season, the plan was fast-tracked.
It was hoped that the jersey would be on the statue Wednesday, when the Golden Knights played, and won, Game 1 of the best-of-7 series, but weather issues delayed the installation.
Cindy Kiser Murphey, president and chief operating officer of MGM Resorts' New York New York Hotel & Casino, said during the pre-dawn, windy first attempt Wednesday that the jersey had been in the works for only a couple of weeks.
One crane with four workers couldn't get Lady Liberty dressed on Wednesday, two U.S. flags at her base snapping out horizontally in stiff winds. So, on Friday, reinforcements were brought in -- a second, taller crane with a second steel basket doubled the high-rise crew.
From 2 a.m. until past dawn, an AviSight drone shooting still and video images from overhead, an eight-man aerial crew worked high over the Las Vegas Strip to successfully wrap the statue with a Golden Knights garment that is fashioned to resemble a jersey and seems large enough to tarp a baseball infield.
It was breezy, but the crew didn't have the unsolvable problem of Wednesday, when the statue unceremoniously for a brief time wore a veil, the huge wrap curling around her face and coming dangerously close to being punctured on the sharp prongs of her crown.
Safety came first and the work was halted. But the second effort on a lucky Friday the 13th made good and now, as if this city needed yet another tourist attraction, a giant statue, a replica of a cornerstone in the U.S., will stop even more traffic for as long as the Golden Knights are in the playoffs.