NY governor vows to reopen Statue of Liberty as shutdown enters Day 2

NEW YORK, Jan 21 (Reuters) - As the federal government shutdown entered its second day on Sunday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo vowed to use state money to reopen the Statue of Liberty before Washington restores funding to operate the popular tourist destination.

The site was among many federal monuments and parks that closed at midnight Friday after lawmakers in Congress failed to agree on a spending plan to keep the government running, triggering the first shutdown in four years.

In the hours leading up to the shutdown, the Trump administration was working on ways to keep hundreds of parks open without staff in an effort to avoid public anger, though it was unclear which ones would close.

"Not all parks are fully open but we are all working hard to make as many areas as accessible to the public as possible," U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said on Twitter on Saturday.

In Washington, the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo will remain open through Monday, using prior-year funds. In a tweet, the Smithsonian said it would update its status beyond Monday "as soon as we know."

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Statue of Liberty
The forearm and torch of the Statue of Liberty on display at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, 1876. In order to raise funds for the completion of the statue and its pedestal members of the public could pay fifty cents to climb to the balcony of the torch. (Photo by FPG/Getty Images)
Segments of the Statue of Liberty during its construction in the workshop of French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, Paris, France, circa 1880. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
circa 1884: The left hand of the Statue of Liberty under construction. Sixty men have worked for almost ten years on the various parts of the statue, not including its designer Frederic Bartholdi and his assistants. Original Publication: From The Strand Magazine. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The feet of the Statue of Liberty arrive on Liberty Island 1885. The statue was a gift from the people of France to the United States, It represents Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
View of portions of the Statue of Liberty during its construction in the workshop of French sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, Paris, France, circa 1880. Bartholdi stands at left. (Photo by Musee Bartholdi/Authenticated News/Getty Images)
Statue of Liberty, New York City, USA, 20th century. Officially titled 'Liberty Enlightening the World', the Statue of Liberty was sculpted by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi. Dedicated in 1886, it was a gift to the United States from France to commemorate the friendship between the two countries. Sunbeam Tours stereoscopic card detail. (Photo by The Print Collector/Print Collector/Getty Images)
View of the head of the Statue of Liberty, designed by sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, on display on the Champ de Mars, Paris, France, 1878. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, the creator of the Statue of Liberty, explains the inner construction of the Hand section of the statue to a visitor. (Photo by Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)
(Original Caption) New York, NY: Statue of Liberty Toes and base of torch on ground prepatory to being hoisted into position onto the pedestal on Bedloes Island. Undated Photograph. BPA2# 1885

But in Philadelphia, visitors were turned away at the Liberty Bell, while tourists in New York on Saturday expressed disappointment that they were unable to take the ferry to the island that houses the Statue of Liberty.

During the last shutdown in 2013, a number of governors used state funds to keep certain parks open, including the Statue of Liberty, which at that time cost $61,600 per day to reopen.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Cuomo called it a "gross injustice" to close down the statue, a symbol of American freedoms. The Democratic governor said he would use state money to pay for operations, both because it is an emblem of New York and the United States and because the cost is justified from a tourism standpoint.

"We're going to be talking to the federal government as soon as somebody answers the phone," he said.

In Arizona, Republican Governor Doug Ducey vowed last week to keep the Grand Canyon operating using state funds in the event of a shutdown.

But in South Dakota, home of Mount Rushmore, Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard on Friday said he would not take any action to keep the monument open during a shutdown.

(Reporting by Joseph Ax; Editing by Frank McGurty and Jeffrey Benkoe)

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