Ellis Island was originally little more than 3 acres of soft mud and clay. Landfill (from subway tunnels and from the Grand Central Station excavation) had to be brought in to create the 10 acre site for the original immigration buildings.
Ellis Island Immigration Station officially opened its doors to the world on Friday, January 1, 1892. Annie Moore, a 15-year-old Irish girl, was the first to be questioned in the immigration station’s second-floor Registry Room. More than 12 million immigrants of every race and from every corner of the world came through those doors from 1892 until 1954. The immigration museum retraces the immigrant processing experience. Restored to the 1918 – 1924 period, the peak immigration years.
Some of the immigrants who passed through Ellis Island and went on to illustrious careers include: Irving Berlin, musician, arrived in 1893 from Russia; Marcus Garvey, politician, arrived 1916 from Jamaica; Bob Hope, comedian, arrived in 1908 from England; Knute Rockne, football coach, arrived in 1893 from Norway; and the Von Trapp family of “Sound of Music” fame, arrived in 1938 from Austria.
The American Family Immigrant History Center. contains the ship passenger records of the over 25 million people who entered through the Port of New York and Ellis Island from 1892-1924, the peak years of immigrant processing at Ellis Island. Visitors can get information about their ancestors such as their arrival date, ship’s name, country of birth and point of departure from the Old World while visiting the Center or on its online database www.ellisisland.org. They can also view and for a fee obtain reproductions of original ship manifests and photos of ships of passage.
The American Immigrant Wall of Honor.
The largest wall of names in the world (featuring over 600,000 names) pays tribute to America’s rich cultural heritage, celebrating American immigration from its earliest beginnings right up to present day. Inscribing a name for posterity on the Wall of Honor isnt restricted to Ellis Island immigrants. The Wall of Honor now displays almost 7,000 new names inscribed for posterity by Americans honoring their ancestors from Italy,Russia, Germany and other lands. Honor your family name for posterity on the Wall of Honor http://www.libertyellisfoundation.org/search-woh
Location: New York Harbor
1(212) 363-3200 (National Park Service),
1(877) LADY TIX (ferry information)
Bus: M1, M6, M9, M15
Subway: (Click a subway icon for more attractions accessible along the selected line)
Ferry: From Battery Park, Manhattan and from Liberty State Park, New Jersey; every 30 to 45 minutes beginning at 9:00am. (ferry schedule subject to change) Crossing from Manhattan, takes approximately 15 minutes. Purchase tickets at Castle Clinton National Monument in Battery Park.
Staten Island Ferry:. Free cruise of New York Harbor. You’ll enjoy a spectacular view of the Lower Manhattan skyline, pass Ellis Island, Liberty Island, the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, and Robins Reef Lighthouse.
Allow a minimum of 1 hour for the round-trip. Ferries leave South Ferry in Manhattan and St. George Ferry Terminal on Staten Island on the hour and half hour. The Statue of Liberty, Lower Manhattan skyline, and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge are all lit up at night.
Admission: No admission fee. Donations are gratefully accepted.
Ferry fees: * Adults (13+): $12.00; Seniors (62+): $10.00; Children (4-12): $5.00; Children 3 and under: FREE. For the online ferry schedule and to make reservations: visit www.statuecruises.com.
Hours: 9:15am – 5:00pm open daily year-round. Extended hours during summer. Closed December 25.
Nearby Places of Interest:
1. Statue of Liberty
2. Battery Park
3. Staten Island Ferry
4. Customs House (Museum of American Indian)
5. Museum of Jewish Heritage
6. Ground Zero
7. Trinity Church
8. Wall Street Financial District
9. Federal Hall with George Washington Statue on steps
10. New York Stock Exchange
Advisory: Allow a minimum of 3 hours (visiting both Ellis Island & Liberty Island can easily take all day). Plan your visit as early as possible to avoid crowds and long waits at Battery Park and on Ellis Island (especially during the summer months).
Best Photo Opts: Sit on the right side of the ferry going, the left side coming back to Manhattan. Best Lighting Conditions: Good light on the main entrance with glass canopy all day.
Facilities, including elevators, rest rooms, and the Ellis Island Cafe are accessible to visitors with disabilities. Be careful on slippery walkways in inclement weather. No eating, drinking, smoking, or chewing gum is allowed inside the museum or exhibit areas. There is no vehicle access to Ellis Island. Camping is not permitted on the island. No pets are allowed.