Thousands of frustrated tourists had the choice of a one-hour boat trip around New York harbor or their money back, with one of the most iconic monuments in the United States closed. Dozens of people working on the boats taking people to and from Liberty Island, run by US National Parks, were on hand with infinite patience and multiple languages to help marshall the baffled tourists.

Statue of Liberty

"No statue today, nobody is going on the island," said A Statue official, who works at the Battery Park pier in southern Manhattan. "But you can join a one-hour harbor cruise that goes by the Statue, Ellis Island, Ground Zero, the Brooklyn bridge," he added. Large notice boards everywhere repeated the same information.

"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." But many visitors were reluctant to be fobbed off with a boat trip.

"I just arrived yesterday from Seattle, I bought my tickets yesterday, they could have suspended the sales, or sent notifications," said, a 26-year-old engineer. He was uninterested in the cause of the shutdown -- the latest ideological skirmish between President Barack Obama and House Republicans over the scope of the US government. "It is a very bad political system, the opposition has such strong power," he said.

Another retired visitor from Arizona, and his wife had planned their trip to New York for six months.

Instead, she was left in tears at what she said should be the last thing to close. "The Statue of Liberty is such a strong symbol for so many people. It is America, it symbolizes freedom, jobs, a government you can trust," she said. Her husband said he was fed up. "I am really unhappy with Washington, by the executive power and Congress, they cannot get anything done," he said.