The Statue of Liberty reopened to the public Sunday after the state agreed to shoulder the costs of running the site during the federal government shutdown.
Ferry trips from Manhattan to the Statue of Liberty resumed at 9 a.m., and eager sightseers lined up in Battery Park to visit the iconic landmark., which had been closed since Oct. 1.
Simon and Dominik Balz, brothers visiting from Bern, Switzerland, had booked their trip in May, with the statue among their planned stops. The shutdown had made that seem impossible, "so we were very disappointed,'' Simon Balz said.
That disappointment turned into excitement when they found out about the reopening. The statue is "well-known all over the world,'' he said. ``It's very special.''
Esther Athanase, a 26-year-old au pair from Le Havre, France, was using a ticket she'd booked months ago with a friend. "We have to do this,'' she said. "It's an American symbol. And it was a gift from France.''
Ahmed Albin-Hamad, 24, a Saudi Arabian student at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, said he came to Battery Park to get a view of the statue.
"I assumed it was closed, but at least I could see it,'' he said. He was surprised and excited when he found out the statue had reopened.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that the state would pay about $61,600 a day to reopen Liberty Island National Park through Oct. 17. If the shutdown is not resolved by then, officials said, they will renegotiate to keep it open.
On Sunday, Cuomo said it was in the state's economic interest to make sure the statue was accessible.
"When you close down the Statue of Liberty, you close down a good portion of the tourism that comes to New York City, and that is untold millions of dollars of damage,'' he said.
New York has 33 sites under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, and they have been shut since Oct. 1. The sites include the statue and nearby Ellis Island, which has remained closed for repairs since Hurricane Sandy last year.
Nearly 4 million people visited Lady Liberty in 2011, generating $174 million in economic activity, the park service said.