Statue of Liberty reopens to public amid shutdown

new yorkNEW YORK: The iconic Statue of Liberty has reopened to the public two days after the state of New York agreed to shoulder the costs of running the site during the crippling federal government shutdown.

Ferry trips to Liberty Island National Park from Manhattan’s Battery Park resumed at 9 am and many visitors lined up to visit the popular tourist site. The site was closed on October 1.

“We’re glad to be up and running to Liberty Island,” said Statue Cruises marketing director Rafael Abreu. He said they had a 60 per cent reduction in business since the government shutdown that shuttered federal-run national parks. The company ferries about 7,000 to 10,000 passengers a day.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would pay about USD 61,600 a day to reopen Liberty Island through October 17. If the slimdown is not resolved by then, officials said, they will renegotiate to keep it open.

New York has 33 sites under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, and they have been shut since October 1 during the federal government shutdown. The sites include the statue and nearby Ellis Island, which remains closed for repairs since Superstorm Sandy last year.

Some four million people visited Lady Liberty in 2011, generating USD 174 million in economic activity, the park service said.

Meanwhile, Governors in several other US states have asked for authority to reopen parks within their borders, citing economic losses from closures. -PTI

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