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.
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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid