Visiting the Statue of Liberty: Part 2 (Ellis Island)

View from the second story balcony of the main hall at Ellis Island.

Over New Year’s weekend I traveled to New York and had an excellent weekend.  I watched the Times Square fireworks and toured both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  You pay a fairly small fee, about $21, to take a ferry to both the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  In a previous post, I discussed arriving at and touring the Statue of Liberty.

NY Skyline small

One of the first things you notice when you arrive at Ellis Island is the view.  You can see the entire New York skyline that spans from New Jersey (left) to Brooklyn, New York (right).  The setting sun brought out amazing colors in the buildings which were a brownish-grey color for most of the day (it was cloudy earlier).


The view of the Statue of Liberty was also amazing.  You could walk around the island part of Ellis Island, which is how I was able to get these photos.  I found Ellis Island to have better views and be less crowded than the Statue of Liberty.  Since Ellis Island is closer to Manhattan than the Statue of Liberty, you can get better pictures of the New York skyline.


As you walk around the island, you’ll notice these large metal plates that are inscribed with names (over 700,000).  Many European immigrants stopped at Ellis Island on their way to the United States between 1892-1954.  This area is called the Wall of Honor and you can look up your family member’s name prior to visiting the island by visiting the Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation’s website.  Unfortunately this trip was booked on short notice so I did not research the names of family members that may have visited the island prior to my visit.  I will definitely go back and do my research beforehand.


The large building houses most of the Ellis Island exhibits.  You can also see the Wall of Honor that starts on the left side of the picture and arcs in front of the large building.  Don’t step on the grass.

The view upon entering the large building was amazing.  You enter a huge room where folks entering the United States were held pending medical exams and a review of their paperwork–the process was more complex and there was a pretty cool movie (~30 minutes) at Ellis Island that discussed the procedure in more detail.   The movie played every 15 minutes and alternated between movie theaters at opposite ends of the large hall.  You can also see the room where folks could appeal adverse immigration decisions.  It looked like a mini courtroom.   Not pictured: about twenty rooms of exhibits, with pictures and artifacts.


Do your homework before you visit Ellis Island.  Touring the facility was amazing but I’m sure my trip would have been more meaningful if I had visited the Foundation’s website prior to visiting.

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