News / USA

US Immigration Landmark Ellis Island to Reopen, a Year after Sandy

FILE - An aereal view of the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island and Ellis Islands (L), next to New York's Lower Manhattan skyline, New York.
FILE - An aereal view of the Statue of Liberty, Liberty Island and Ellis Islands (L), next to New York's Lower Manhattan skyline, New York.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Ellis Island, the patch of land in New York Harbor where millions of immigrants first touched U.S. soil, will partially reopen to the public on Monday, a year after it was submerged by Superstorm Sandy's floodwaters.
 
The storm destroyed the island's electrical, communication, water and sewage systems, but otherwise left its historic buildings largely undamaged, the National Park Service said.
 
Repairs are ongoing, but from Monday morning visitors will be able to see its famous views of the downtown Manhattan skyline and tour parts of the immigration museum in the island's Beaux-Arts main building, including the Great Hall that was once crowded with newly arrived immigrants.
 
“There's a lot to be done,” said John Warren, a spokesman for the National Park Service. “We're at a point where we're able to allow the public to come in and enjoy the buildings.”
 
The bulk of the museum's collection of documents and historical artifacts is still in storage in Maryland while new climate-control systems can be installed in the building.
 
Although the storm had dipped below hurricane force by the time it slammed into the city on October 29, 2012, it still had the power to devastate. Much of lower Manhattan was plunged into darkness for days, and the nation's largest subway system ground to a halt.
 
The late-season storm killed at least 159 people, damaged or destroyed more than 650,000 homes and caused some $37 billion in damage along the East Coast.
 
Liberty Island, a short ferry ride away, was also deluged and its infrastructure similarly damaged, although the Statue of Liberty itself, high on a pedestal above the storm surge, was undamaged.
 
Liberty Island reopened on July 4.
 
The National Park Service estimated the total cost of repairing the damage done on both islands at $77 million.
 
After the first federal immigration station opened on the island in 1892, more than 12 million immigrants, mostly from Europe, presented themselves for inspection in its halls. Almost all of them had sailed in steerage class, while first- and second-class passengers, who were perceived to be less likely to harbor either disease or criminal tendencies, were generally allowed to continue on to Manhattan.
 
In 1924, after immigration laws were tightened the station was used mainly to process deportations and war refugees until it closed in 1954.
 
About a third of the U.S. population today can trace their ancestry to someone who disembarked on Ellis Island.
 
President Lyndon Johnson declared the 27.5-acre island to be part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument in 1965, and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum opened in the island's main building in 1990.

You May Like

Russia-Ukraine Crisis Could Trigger Cyber War

As tensions between Kyiv and Moscow escalate, so too has frequency of online attacks targeting government, news and financial sites More

Egyptian Court Jails 23 Pro-Morsi Supporters

Meanwhile, Egyptian officials say gunmen have killed two members of the country's security forces More

Pakistani Journalists Protest Shooting of Colleague

Hamid Mir, a host for private television channel Geo, was wounded after being shot three times Saturday, but is expected to survive More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid