Statue of Liberty reopens amid government shutdown with state funding

statue of liberty government shutdown
After nearly two weeks closed during the government shutdown, the Statue of Liberty reopened this weekend with funding from New York State.
Credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

After nearly two weeks closed during the government shutdown, the Statue of Liberty reopened Sunday.

New York State will pay the federal government $61,600 each day of the shutdown to fund the national park, officials announced this weekend.

“The Statue of Liberty is more than just a tourist destination…it’s probably the most profound symbol for freedom and democracy,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday. ”We’re not going to let that message cease operation if we can have anything to do about it.”

The state will pay for park operations through Wednesday using the tourism budget, officials said. For every additional two days New York wishes to fund the park, the state must give the Department of the Interior two days notice.

Cuomo said the state is prepared to keep the park open until the shutdown is over.

Funding for the park will not be returned to New York unless Congress passes a law to reimburse individual states making similar deals to keep certain national parks open.

Each day the park was closed, local businesses and furloughed workers suffered, Cuomo said.

“The economic damage done by closing the Statue of Liberty is profound,” he said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces the Statue of Liberty to reopen after a 12-day shutdown by the federal government. Credit: Office of the Governor
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announces the Statue of Liberty to reopen after a 12-day shutdown by the federal government.
Credit: Office of the Governor

More than 10,000 visitors were denied access to the statue every day during the shutdown. Over 400 jobs were lost as a direct result from the closure, officials said.

Statue Cruises, which ferries visitors to Liberty Island, said daily ridership decreased 50 to 70 percent during the shutdown and estimated 180 jobs were at risk because of the shutdown.

Every visitor spends about $35 for the ferry, food and souvenirs at Liberty and Ellis Islands, though the latter remains closed after Superstorm Sandy.

Tourism from both supported some 2,218 jobs and generated $174 million in economic activity in 2011, according to a report from the National Parks Service.

Officials don’t know exactly how much the tourism industry as a whole lost because of the statue’s closure.

“That has been untold millions of dollars in damage,” Cuomo said.

The 12-day closure was particularly brutal following an eight-month closure because of Sandy.

Sales have dropped nearly 70 percent this year because of the storm, according Bradford A. Hill, the president of Evelyn Hill, Inc., which manages the gift shops and restaurants on Liberty Island.

“Needless to say, after surviving a natural disaster, we were once again struggling to survive,” Hill said Sunday.

The concession company’s staff, laid off during the shutdown, was hired back Sunday.

“It is heartening to know that when Washington, D.C., fails to deliver to Americans and there is no end to the gridlock in sight, we have a state we can rely on to step up to the plate.”

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor reveals new tech hub Digital.NYC

Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed Digital.NYC on Wednesday, a new online platform aimed at connecting all things tech in New York City. The public-private partnership…

Local

Falling debris hits two men in Times Square

Two men were taken to the hospital Wednesday morning after being hit by falling debris from 110 feet above Times Square. Nancy Greco from the…

Local

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough accused of misusing campaign…

Queens Assemblyman William Scarborough has been indicted on state and federal charges for allegedly withdrawing campaign funds as cash for personal use. Scarborough, a Democrat…

News

U.S. Secret Service director Pierson resigns under fire

U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigned under fire on Wednesday after a series of security lapses came to light.

Television

TV watch list, Wednesday, Oct. 1: 'Criminal Minds,'…

The "Criminal Minds" team adds some supernatural assistance, as the "Ghost Whisperer" herself, Jennifer Love Hewitt, joins the show. She's playing an FBI agent, but you never know when someone…

Music

See the most popular Pandora station in your…

Who knew Bachata music was so popular?

The Word

The Word: Twilight just won't die

You thought our "Twilight" days were behind us, didn't you? Well think again. Series creator Stephenie Meyer (who would rather you not ask about "Twilight"…

Going Out

Which NYC restaurant lost its three-star Michelin rating?

A record 73 restaurants in New York City collected coveted Michelin stars on Tuesday as a mix of trendy spots and fine-dining stalwarts underscored the…

NFL

Rex Ryan fields more questions about Geno Smith,…

The idea Geno Smith will be replaced by backup Michael Vick appears to be all smoke, as the Jets are intent to ride with their second-round draft pick.

NFL

Will Beatty playing like franchise left tackle again…

Left tackle Will Beatty, who is the elder-statesman of Giants’ line, has turned around his season and become a consistent force on Manning’s blindside.

NFL

John Conner back with Jets for second stint

He'll be back. It's "Terminator 2" for the Jets, who brought back John Conner to the team on Tuesday after placing fullback Tommy Bohanon on…

NFL

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry…

Fantasy football: Ben Tate to break out, Larry Donnell will stay solid

Career

Creating a support system for minority women in…

When Kathryn Finney founded digitalundivided — an organization devoted to engaging minority communities with the tech world — she didn’t know quite what to expect.…

Sex

We can learn a lot from animals about…

There’s a lot we can learn about love from the birds and the bees — and the chickens, monkeys and squirrels that we share the…

Style

Saint Laurent

Our review of the Saint Laurent Spring '15 show at Paris Fashion Week.

Style

Céline: Paris Fashion Week Spring 2015

Our review of the Celine Spring '15 show during Paris Fashion Week.