MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. – While Republicans and Democrats continue to have it out down in the nation’s capital, Westchester County residents continue to be shut out of St. Paul’s Church in Mount Vernon.
St. Paul’s, the only National Historic Site in the county, has been closed for 10 days following the federal government shut down that began on Tuesday, Oct. 1. The gates have been chained and locked and the doors to the church remain closed as politicians argue over spending in Washington D.C.
“It’s completely ridiculous. If I just decide to stop working at my job, I get fired,” resident Arturo Lopez, 53, said. “What is the benefit of closing a tiny church in Mount Vernon. All they’re doing is hurting other people at this point.”
When the federal government opted to shut down last week, all national parks and historic sites were also shut down to the public. Other notable New York parks that are closed include the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and the FDR Homestead.
East Lincoln Avenue resident Diane Marks compared the federal government to the local government, which has come under fire in the past year.
“It’s bad enough that we have corrupt politicians running the city, but now we have to deal with our [federal] government pulling something like this,” she said. “Lock them in a room until it’s finished and we can all go back to our lives.”
St. Paul’s began offering self-guided tours earlier this year. Visitors are free to tour the historic grounds, which include religious and spiritual epitaphs that have been carved into gravestones over three centuries. Locally, politicians are also fed up with what is going on in Washington.
“I believe it is totally irresponsible of both political parties to allow the federal government to shut down,” Tuckahoe Trustee Greg Luisi, a Republican, said. “It is unfortunate that innocent citizens are being held hostage by its elected leaders in Washington.”