Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island Safe After Shutdown Averted

By Victoria Cavaliere
|  Saturday, Apr 9, 2011  |  Updated 12:59 PM EDT
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NYC Sites, Parks to Stay Open

AP Images

Tourists won't have to miss the Statue of Liberty after all.

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Thousands of federal employees in New York and New Jersey will report to work as normal after the federal government reached a last-minute budget deal, preventing a shut down of the federal government.

The deal avoided furloughs for some 800,000 employees around the country -- including thousands in the New York and New Jersey area.

New York City's ten national parks and historic sites will stay open for the weekend.  This includes the Statue of Liberty, Grant’s Tomb, and Ellis Island. According to Darren Boch, spokesman for the National Park Service, the Statue of Liberty gets about 10,000 visitors a day in April.

“The economic impact will really be felt by the ferry and the food and merchandise concessionaires,” said Boch of a possible shutdown. “There’s a lot of revenue associated with operating a national park.”

Tourists visiting New York had hoped that they wouldn't have to miss some of the country's most historic and iconic sites.  It was business as usual at a stand in Battery Park, where workers sell entry tickets and tours of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Bodil Fjeldli, a tourist from Norway, said "the top priority to come to New York to see the statue.  So that would have been really sad."

Tourist Karen Bettencourt, who is visiting the city this week, says she was also worried she would miss out on seeing the statue. 

"We were planning our trip and thinking what if there's going to be a shutdown. We need to go to the statue today (Friday) in case there is a shut down....it was worth it.  It gave me chills, bumps, and made me want to cry."

Last year, a record 48.7 million tourists visited the city.

Also spared from the shutdown -- The Rockaway Little League teams in Queens that play on federal park land. The Little League season opened Saturday. Coach Kamon Green said "We have 700 kids who wanted to play baseball and we were scrambling to make alternate plans but luckily everything turned out."

As threats of a shutdown loomed, government officials said public safety and national security agencies, including FBI, DEA, military and Homeland Security, would continue to operate no matter what. 

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