Ellis Island Has Reopened after Sandy Repairs

by , under Ethnic Research, Immigration

Many Americans have immigrant ancestors who were among the 12 million people entering America through Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924.

If you are like me, you were shocked when you learned about the devastation caused to Ellis Island by Hurricane Sandy as it struck the East Coast on 29 Oct 2012. Damage was so extensive that the facility had to be closed to the public. Most of the damage has now been repaired, and the Main Building, including the Great Hall http://www.flickr.com/photos/ellisislandnps/7093756649/in/set-72157625603576251, was reopened to the public on 28 Oct 2013. Additional exhibits reopened include the renovated “Peopling of America” and the Wall of Honor. Repairs continue in other areas and those will be reopened over time, officials say.

On a personal note, I still remember my visit in 1999 to the Ellis Island Great Hall. I was able to envision my paternal grandmother with four children (my aunts and an uncle) being admitted to America in 1903. During my visit, I saw an exhibit of immigrant trunks just like the one I have as a artifact of my grandmother’s journey http://www.flickr.com/photos/ellisislandnps/6947686560/in/set-72157625603576251. Stickers on the trunk chart her trip from Finland to England to America.

“We are looking forward to the opportunity to welcome visitors back to Ellis Island from our departure points in Liberty State Park, Jersey City, and Battery Park, New York City,” said Michael Burke, Chief Operating Officer for Statue Cruises. Tickets can be purchased online at www.statuecruises.com or by phone at 201-604-2800. Online reservations are highly encouraged. The cost to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty will be $17 for adults, $9 for children (ages 4-12) and $14 for seniors (age 62 and up).

If you are planning a visit, be forwarned that visitors to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty must pass through security screening (similar to airport security procedures) before boarding a ferry. These are the prohibited items:
* All weapons, including firearms, knives (even tiny Swiss Army Knives), mace, “dual-use” items, tools, and any item that is or could be construed as a weapon are strictly prohibited in the park and on the ferries.
* No locker storage facilities are available at the ferry terminals.
* Do not carry any of these type items into the security screening area. They will be confiscated and not be returned. If you are unsure about an item, please do not bring it.
* LARGE packages, suitcases, carry-on luggage and other large parcels will not be permitted on the ferries to Ellis or Liberty Islands.

A visit to Ellis Island is one every descendant of immigrant ancestors who arrived through this portal should take, if at all possible.

For more information, including a historical overview, go to http://www.nps.gov/elis/index.htm

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