U.S. Government Shutdown Includes Closure of Statue of Liberty; Angers Tourists (VIDEOS)
By Vittorio Hernandez | October 2, 2013 9:29 AM EST
Besides the 700,000 American federal workers who have been victimised by the shutdown of the U.S. government, another group of people are angry over this political development. They are tourists whose arrival in New York happened to coincide with the shutdown.
Looking forward to see and enter an iconic Big Apple landmark, the Statue of Liberty, the experienced of discovering that the favourite tourist destination is closed frustrated and angered thousands of tourists on Tuesday.
Brian Fahey, an employee of Statue Cruises at the Battery Park harbour in southern Manhattan, has the tough task of telling foreign visitors they could not go to Liberty Island. He advised tourists to instead join a one-hour harbour cruise that travels by the statue, Ellis Island, Ground Zero and the Brooklyn bridge.
Their other option, especially those who purchased packaged tours, is a refund of their payment for the planned tour.
Given the political bickering between U.S. President Barack Obama and the House Republicans, there is remote chance that tourists could visit the statue and other government-run landmarks within October, prompting some of the frustrated tourists to comment that the U.S. has a very bad political system.
About 8,000 people visit the Statue of Liberty daily at this time of the year in New York. Prior to the U.S. government shutdown, the statue - a gift from the French government - was closed for eight months after Hurricane Sandy devastated the landmark in October 2012.
However, in the case of the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., the closure of the park didn't stop 91 veterans who traveled from Mississippi from visiting the memorial.
The veterans went past Park Police who attempted to keep them out but failed.
The New York Post reported that Leo Shane III, a reporter of Stars and Stripes, witnessed how the vets took temporary control of the memorial while the National Park Service police appeared overwhelmed by the seniors.
"Honor flight vets just knocked over the barriers at the WWII memorial to get inside, #shutdown or no," Mr Shane tweeted, quoted by the New York Post.
On the part of the furloughed federal workers, some of them spent their free time by serving as stand-in tour guides in closed museums and monuments to point visitors to sites that are still open. Some were stationed outside the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History and gave out leaflets that provided a list of open or closed landmarks.
The furloughed employees, who are members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, are wearing green and blue union T-shirts, carry signs and will stay at the Constitution Avenue side of the Natural History Museum from 10 am to 12 noon on Wednesday. They plan to add more volunteers at other museums of the shutdown would be prolonged.
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