The Statue of Liberty, a symbol of New York City as a welcoming cultural and commercial capital to the world, stood firm against the fury of Hurricane Sandy's first few hours battering the city, despite widespread Internet rumors to the contrary.

Not that it wasn't up against the full force of nature.

A storm surge brought on by winds as high as 60 miles per hour Monday afternoon made the waterfront surrounding Lady Liberty and much of Lower Manhattan an animated sight. The rise in sea levels led to flooding of some of the lowest-lying parts of Manhattan around Battery Park and meant the sea was literally nipping at the mighty green statue's heels.

Wanting to see the effects of the catastrophic weather event, onlookers defied a city order and gathered in that park Monday afternoon, trying to stay upright while snapping pictures of the turbulent seafront. Onlookers also gathered to take pictures of the sight from the Brooklyn waterfront around Red Hook, where this picture was taken, and elsewhere.

Another storm surge is expected to cause even more flooding sometime between 9 p.m. and midnight, at which time New York City will also be feeling the worst of the hurricane's windy destruction.

It remains to be seen how Lady Liberty will withstand that surge.