Statue of Liberty will stay open during government shutdown

Posted On Mon, December 24, 2018 By

Posted On Mon, December 24, 2018 By In Policy

Photo via NPS

The third partial federal government shutdown of 2018 kicked off this weekend after Congress failed to pass an appropriations bill. As with the first two that occurred earlier this year, the government shutdown can affect New York City by temporarily closing its national parks and some of its federally-funded museums, leaving thousands of federal workers in the city without pay. But one major landmark will remain open throughout the duration of the shutdown. With help from the state, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will stay open during the shutdown, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.

Cuomo said New York State will pay the $65,000 it costs per day to keep the monument and Ellis Island open to visitors, which includes personnel and operation costs. The governor reached a similar agreement in January with the Department of Interior, which oversees the National Park Service, during the year’s first government shutdown.

The shutdown comes after failed negotiations between Congress and President Donald Trump’s administration to fund the government, with the president’s demand for $5 billion for a border wall the main point in the standoff.

“We will not allow President Trump’s repugnant symbol of division close the true representation of who we are as a state and nation,” Cuomo said in a press release.

“As we’ve done before when Washington’s dysfunction has shut down the government, New York will step up and ensure the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island remain open for the world to look to for strength and hope during this tumultuous time.”

While keeping Lady Liberty and Ellis Island open to visitors is clearly a symbolic gesture, it also is a lucrative one. According to the NPS, about 4.5 million people visited Liberty Island in 2016, helping generate over $263 million in visitor spending each year.

The Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum and the National Museum of the American Indian will remain open through Jan. 1, using funds from previous years. But both of these federal museums and the Statue of Liberty will be closed on Dec. 25 for Christmas.

Other NYC monuments and parks will temporarily close during the shutdown, including Federal Hall, the African Burial Ground, and Hamilton Grange.

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