Gov. Andrew Cuomo Says New York Will Reopen Statue of Liberty Amid Shutdown

On Sunday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the state would be reopening The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, in spite of the federal government shutdown.

“New York State will reopen the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island,” he wrote on Twitter. “We will not stand by as this symbol of freedom and opportunity goes dark.”

“Shutting down the park jeopardizes an economic driver for the State of New York,” the governor continued. “But the Statue of Liberty is more than just an economic driver. This park is a symbol of New York and our values. And her message has never been as important as it is today.”

The iconic statue was one of the first federally funded tourist sites to close after the U.S. congress failed to pass a budget on Friday. The National Parks Service announced on Friday afternoon that they would close Ellis Island if lawmakers didn’t reach a deal by midnight.

All weekend, tourists have been arriving at Battery Park only to discover that Statue Cruises, which operates the ferry to the island, is closed. Some travelled great distances and bought their tickets weeks or months in advance to see the place where thousands of immigrants entered the U.S. in the 19th and early 20th century.

Other landmarks, museums and exhibits across the country closed over the weekend, or will close if politicians don’t reach an agreement soon, but in New York, Cuomo promises to minimize the effects on New Yorkers.

“The federal government has just shut down for the first time when one party controls Congress and the White House,” he tweeted on Friday. “We're witnessing a catastrophic failure of leadership from the GOP.”

“New York State services will not be affected by the federal shutdown,” he went on, including a link to the state’s website where all the services affected and not affected were laid out.

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Social security benefits, Medicaid and Medicare are all unaffected by the shutdown.

Likewise, the U.S. Postal Service, law enforcement agencies, foreign embassies, military and intelligence agencies will all continue to operate as normal. State governments and the services they provide are not affected by the shutdown either.