Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Will Reopen to the Public Tomorrow - Fully Funded by State Tourism Budget
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo 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.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A transcript of Governor Cuomo's remarks is available below.
Good afternoon everyone. Welcome to Battery Park City on this beautiful, beautiful day in full view of our beautiful Statue of Liberty. She has the day off today, she's resting. She deserves it. She's had a stressful few weeks. But she's going to go back to work tomorrow and that's what we're here to announce.
As you know, the federal government shutdown, part of what happens is that the tourist sites close, the Department of Interior manages the tourism sites across the country, the federal tourism sites, and the federal tourism sites close. One of the sites that closes is the Statue of Liberty with Ellis Island. That is an economic problem for the State of New York. Tourism is very big business here in the city and the state and when the Statue of Liberty closes, it disrupts many tourist's plans. People who were planning to see the Statue of Liberty, planning to come. We have contacted the federal Department of the Interior and we worked out an arrangement where New York State will fund the federal employees who operate the Statue of Liberty, so it will reopen tomorrow at state expense.
We will pay in essence the federal employees who will operate the Statue of Liberty. From our point of view, it's a good investment because the revenue we gain from the tourists is multiples of what it will cost to actually pay to open the Statue of Liberty. And again, we want to keep tourism flowing, we want people coming and we don't want any disruption. So, our arrangement with the federal Department of the Interior will last for the period of shutdown. We will pay to keep the Statue of Liberty open every day.
I'm joined by, on my right, Lindsey Boylan, the Executive Vice President at the Empire State Development Corporation, my left is the Secretary of State Rosanna Rosado.
That's the good news, and we're excited about that, for anyone who was here planning to see the Statue of Liberty or planning to come to see the Statue of Liberty tomorrow, it's going to be open and running as normal. I also think, in many ways, the Statue of Liberty is symbolic for what's going on right now in Washington. The issue is about immigration and the sense that some people have that this country should close the doors and stop immigration. And speaking for myself, and on behalf of many New Yorkers, we have the Statue of Liberty in our harbor, Statue of Liberty, America, New York, are all about immigration. It's all about welcoming people, it's all about bringing people here. The concept of closing the doors to immigrants is repugnant to the concept of America. That's what we've been arguing for years.
We're all sons and daughters of immigrants. Unless you're a Native American, you are an immigrant. I know people like to think, well I've been here a long time, I'm no longer an immigrant. You are an immigrant. Denial is not a life strategy. I am an immigrant. My grandparents were poor Italian uneducated people who came here, who couldn't speak the language, who couldn't read, but they wanted an opportunity to work. And they did their best and they gave back to this country. They had a son who became governor, they had a grandson who became governor. That's what America is all about. And in many ways, this shutdown in Washington, to me takes us back to that fundamental concept, which is they are against immigration. They want to close the doors and we want to keep them open.