Saturday, October 12, 2013
Join our E-Mail list!
Send an e-mail request to
with the word "Subscribe" in the
For site information and
viewing tips, click here.
All content copyright © 2003-2007
Statewide News Network, Inc.
Contents may not be reproduced
in any form without express written consent
NEW YORK - New York State has reached an agreement with the federal government to reopen the Statue of Liberty. Under the agreement, the State will fully fund National Park Service personnel at the daily cost of $61,600 to keep Liberty Island National Park open to visitors as the federal government shutdown continues. The Park will reopen this weekend.
“The Statue of Liberty is one of this country’s most recognizable landmarks, attracting millions of visitors to the state every year, and its closure these last 12 days has had a terrible impact on the local economy and tourism industry,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “Every day that Liberty Island is closed means we are losing visitors who would otherwise be spending at our local businesses – not to mention the employees who maintain the park and have been forced out of work. As the shutdown continues, we cannot afford to lose the thousands of visits to the park each day. So while the dysfunction and gridlock in Washington D.C. has failed to keep this important state asset open, New York is stepping up to take over this responsibility. With the Columbus Day holiday weekend upon us, I am pleased to reopen Lady Liberty to visitors and look forward to seeing local businesses bustling once again. We will not allow this international symbol of freedom to remain closed because of the dysfunction and gridlock of Washington. I commend Secretary Jewell for reaching this agreement, and urge Congress to open the government.”
Under Governor Cuomo’s agreement with Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, the State will pay for the first four days of reopening the park, with funding coming from the State’s tourism budget. To keep the park open, the State must give the Department two days’ notice for every additional two days. The park will be fully open and functioning as usual. The State will pay the federal government $61,600 for each day that the park is open.
Liberty Island National Park has a major impact on the New York State economy. According to a 2012 annual report by the National Park Service, 3.7 million people visited Liberty Island in 2011, generating $174 million in economic activity and supporting 2,218 jobs. Every visitor spends an average of about $35 for the ferry, food and souvenirs at Liberty Island and Ellis Island. Additional expenditures outside the park are estimated to be as high as $100 with each visit. The park generates more than $15 million in revenue from concessioner and franchise fees for the federal government, as well as $3.2 million in license fees to New York City parks plus sales taxes.
As a result of the shutdown – which has denied access to more than 10,000 visitors to the park daily – more than 400 direct jobs have been lost at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, including with the National Park Service and Evelyn Hill, Inc. Statue Cruises which provides ferry rides to the island has seen its daily ridership drop 50-70 percent, and the company now has 180 jobs at risk. In addition, the federal government itself is losing $50,000 per day in concessioner fees.
This shutdown also follows an 8-month closure of Liberty Island due to Superstorm Sandy. Ellis Island remains closed to the public.