Photo of the Statue of Liberty courtesy of the NPS
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Sunday said the state of New York will pay $65,000 per day to reopen the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island during the ongoing federal government shutdown, which forced the park to close over the weekend. Cuomo said the state made an agreement with the Department of the Interior, which oversees the National Park Service, to keep New York Harbor’s landmark open. The government closed midnight on Saturday after Republican and Democrats in Congress failed to pass an appropriations bill.
“The Statue of Liberty is a symbol of freedom and opportunity for all, and it is a gross injustice that this administration’s dysfunction caused it to shut down,” Cuomo said. “When this administration tries to deport immigrants, when they close down the Statue of Liberty, they are attacking who we are.”
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Photo via Wiki Commons
Sorry, New York. Ellis Island, America’s first and biggest immigration center, technically belongs to New Jersey. In May of 1998, the Supreme Court ended a long-standing argument between New Jersey and the Empire State over who actually owns the Island, as Smithsonian Magazine discovered. Based on a land claims agreement between the two states made before Ellis Island became a gateway for nearly 12 million immigrants, the Court decided it belonged mostly to New Jersey, in addition to the federal government, since it’s overseen by the National Park Service.
But it wasn’t so easy
Looking for peace and quiet? Well you aren’t going to find it in NYC–or for the most part, the eastern half of the United States. A fascinating new map created by the National Park Service (NPS) shows us where we can find solace in silence (head for the dark blue) and where to expect sleepless nights (avoid the yellow). The map was generated from 1.5 million hours of acoustical monitoring, produced from staking out areas as remote as Dinosaur National Monument in Utah to our very own bustling NYC for representative samples to model sound—on an average summer day—across the entire surface of the US. From there, the NPS used algorithms that considered measurements like air quality and street traffic volume to improve the predictions. The quietest places to emerge from the bunch included Yellowstone National Park and the Great Sand Dunes National Park where noise levels were lower than 20 decibels—a silence as deep as before European colonization, researchers say. Noise levels in cities like ours averaged 50 to 60 decibels by comparison. The map is ultimately being used to determine how human-made noise is affecting wildlife with hearing more sensitive than human ears, like owls and bats that rely on quiet for hunting.
[Related: Rudolf Stefanich’s SONO Could Help Block Out City Noise and Keep Your Home Quiet]