The US Federal Government shutdown caused the closing of some of the nation’s most popular tourist spots, including the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and the hundreds of national parks around the country.
In New York, large notice boards show repeated information everywhere:
“The government has temporarily shut both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Please join our one hour sightseeing tour and see the magnificent sights of New York harbor.”
Thousands of irritated tourists had the choice of either a one-hour boat trip around New York harbor, or receive their money back, with one of the most iconic monuments in the United States, closed to the public.
Washington, D.C. resident Rod Rioja, 35 years old, a tourist with his girlfriend and her mother, said that they turned on the news and learned that the government has completely shut down. The Statue of Liberty was supposed to be the main attraction of their trip. … “It kind of ruined our trip.” he said.
Another tourist, Shriram Parameshwaran, a 26-year-old engineer said that he just arrived from Seattle, bought his tickets the day before but blamed the tour company’s management, since they could have suspended the sales, or could have sent notifications. He said he was uninterested on the cause of the shutdown, which was the ideological skirmish between President Barack Obama and House Republicans, he only wanted his money back.
Stefan Neuhaus, a retired person on holiday from Berlin with his wife, was upset but rational enough to look for an alternative plan of action to enjoy the day.
Expressing his disappointment, Neuhaus said that he was very happy he had tickets, but now it’s impossible… there is no possibility to tour until November and by then, they will be gone. He also aired his disgust over a very bad political system; that the opposition having such strong power.
Marco Bedoya, Statue Cruises worker, said he’s been using his language expertise in English, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, French and German — to further explain the condition to visitors.
“It’s been confusing for some people but I’m glad I can try and help them out in their own language,” Mr. Bedoya said. “Some people want refunds. Some are disgusted but others take the cruise anyway. Most are understanding.” he added.
In Washington, D.C., memorials and museums along the National Mall were also closed or blocked by barricades, including the Lincoln Memorial. But a hundred of WWII veterans from Mississippi who were in town thumped those barriers and entered the park as spectators cheered.
Ironically, also included in the shutdown is Yosemite National Park in California, which marked its 123th anniversary on Tuesday.