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Statue of Liberty to reopen to public Sunday
New York • The Statue of Liberty will reopen to the public Sunday after the state of New York agreed to shoulder the costs of running the site during the federal government shutdown, officials said.
Ferry trips to Liberty Island National Park from Manhattan's Battery Park will resume at 9 a.m. Tickets go on sale at 8:30 a.m., though it remained unclear when service might resume from the New Jersey side of the Hudson River, according to a spokesman for ferry operator Statue Cruises.
"We're glad to be up and running to Liberty Island," said Statue Cruises marketing director Rafael Abreu. He said they had a 60 percent reduction in business since the federal government shutdown that shuttered national parks. The company, which in conjunction with the National Park Service runs boats from the southern tip of Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, ferries about 7,000 to 10,000 passengers a day.
National Parks Service spokesman John Warren said Liberty Island access tickets purchased during the closure days will be honored, but space inside the monument and the crown is limited, and tourists should check in when they arrive to see if any tickets are available.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that the state would pay about $61,600 a day to reopen Liberty Island through Oct. 17. If the shutdown is not resolved by then, officials said, they will renegotiate to keep it open.
New York has 33 sites under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, and they have been shut since Oct. 1 during the partial federal government shutdown. The sites include the statue and nearby Ellis Island, which remains closed for repairs since Superstorm Sandy last year.
Nearly 4 million people visited Lady Liberty in 2011, generating $174 million in economic activity, the park service said.
Governors in several other states have asked for authority to reopen parks within their borders, citing economic losses from closures. In Arizona, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer announced the Grand Canyon would reopen.