Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Will Reopen to the Public Tomorrow - Fully Funded by State Tourism Budget
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that New York State will reopen the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. In the wake of the federal government shutdown, the state will fully fund National Park Service personnel and costs of operations at the cost of $65,000 per day to keep the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island open to visitors. The Park will reopen tomorrow.
"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. When this administration tries to deport immigrants, when they close down the Statue of Liberty, they are attacking who we are," Governor Cuomo said. "New York will always stand up for the core values that make our nation truly great. New York State will not allow the vitriol of Washington to close the Statue of Liberty. Today I am proud to announce that New York State will keep the Statue of Liberty open. The Federal government's dysfunction has tried to close it down symbolically. We will keep it open literally."
Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, "The Statue of Liberty is an international symbol and a beacon of hope, and it serves as one of our state and nation's premiere tourist attractions. Democrats and Republicans here in New York agree that it should stay open and continue to welcome tourists and others regardless of any political differences that may exist at the federal level. I thank my partners in state government for working together to make this a reality."
Speaker Carl Heastie said, "Lady Liberty shines as a beacon of hope and opportunity to people around the world and is a symbol of our enduring democracy. We must stand up to President Trump's hateful policies during this government shutdown and I am proud that here in New York we will do our part to ensure that our voices are heard and the Statue of Liberty remains open."
Under Governor Cuomo's agreement with Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, the State will pay to reopen the park as the federal shutdown continues. The park will be fully open and functioning as usual. The State will pay the federal government $65,000 for each day that the park is open.
The Statue of Liberty National Monument and Ellis Island have a major impact on the New York State economy. According to an annual report by the National Park Service, 4.5 million people visited Liberty Island in 2016, generating $263.2 million in visitor spending per year and supporting 3,400 jobs, with an economic output of $364 million.
As a result of the shutdown which has denied access to an average of 10,000 visitors to the park daily, more than 900 direct jobs have been impacted 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 200 jobs at risk.
During the 2013 Federal government shutdown, Governor Cuomo reached a similar agreement to reopen the Statue of Liberty using State tourism funding.
Mike Burke, COO of Statue Cruises, said, "This is the second time Governor Cuomo has stepped in to ensure that visitors are able to enjoy the Statue of Liberty during a federal government shutdown, and that our employees can continue to work and provide daily tours. I thank the governor for his quick, decisive actions to minimize the impact for visitors and the businesses that rely on tourism."