Nation
    Next Score View the next score

    Statue of Liberty reopens amid federal shutdown

    Tourists waited to embark on a visit the Statue of Liberty, which reopened Sunday.
    Kena Betancur/Getty Images
    Tourists waited to embark on a visit the Statue of Liberty, which reopened Sunday.

    NEW YORK (AP) — Lady Liberty was once again welcoming visitors to her shores Sunday after the state agreed to shoulder the costs of running the famed statue during the federal government shutdown.

    Eager sightseers stood in line in Manhattan’s Battery Park, waiting for the ferry trips to the Statue of Liberty, which had been shut since Oct. 1.

    Esther Athanase, a 26-year-old au pair from Le Havre, France, was using a ticket she’d booked months ago with a friend. ‘‘We have to do this,’’ she said. ‘‘It’s an American symbol. And it was a gift from France.’’

    Advertisement

    Ahmed Albin-Hamad, 24, a Saudi Arabian student at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, said he came to Battery Park to get a view of the statue.

    Get Ground Game in your inbox:
    Daily updates and analysis on national politics from James Pindell.
    Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

    ‘‘I assumed it was closed, but at least I could see it,’’ he said. He was surprised and excited when he found out the statue had reopened.

    Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that the state would pay about $61,600 a day to reopen Liberty Island National Park through Oct. 17. If the shutdown 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 Oct. 1 during the partial federal government shutdown. The sites include the statue and nearby Ellis Island, which remains closed for repairs since Superstorm Sandy last year.

    Nearly 4 million people visited Lady Liberty in 2011, generating $174 million in economic activity, the park service said.

    Advertisement

    Governors in several other states have asked for authority to reopen parks within their borders, citing economic losses from closures. Arizona reopened the Grand Canyon on Saturday. Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota and Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado also reopened along with several parks in Utah, according to the parks service website.