Cuomo reopens Statue of Liberty during federal shutdown
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said he won't sit around and let Washington shut down Lady Liberty.
Cuomo reopened the Statue of Liberty Sunday, the first time since the Oct. 1 federal stalemate put the national parks in limbo. As dozens of anxious tourists from around the world got onto ferries to Liberty Island, the governor urged the president and Congress to think about the consequences of their shut down.
"The Statue of Liberty is not just a tourist destination," he said at a news conference in Battery Park City. "It's the most profound symbol of democracy and freedom around the world."
Under an agreement between the state and the U.S. Department of the Interior, New York will pay $61,600 a day for the next three days to keep the attraction open. Cuomo said he is seriously considering paying for more days, especially since the island creates $200 million in economic activity annually and already 400 workers have lost their jobs.
"It's cheaper to have it open than to have it closed," he said.
The tourists who came to view the statue and make up part of the four million annual visitors to Liberty Island agreed.
Amanda Van Poppel, 26, was visiting from Canada with her husband and said the statue is an important part of any visit to the Big Apple.
"It's just that iconic and you have to see it," she said.
Van Poppel said she couldn't understand how the American government could be so dysfunctional that foreigners have to suffer when they want to vacation here.
"Our government has hiatuses but national attractions don't shut down," she said.
The governor said he will continue to push the federal government to end the shutdown.
"Enough is enough. It's gone on too long," he said.