Ellis Island is located at the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbor. This was once the main immigration port to enter the United States in the late 19th and early 20th century. Many people who have family who immigrated to the U.S. during that period probably passed through this point. Visit this monument when you are in New York with your car rental.
The federal immigration station set up at Ellis Island saw over 12 million people pass through it before it closed in November 1954. Interestingly, it is said only about 2 percent of potential immigrants were denied entry into the United States. Usually it was because of a criminal background, or they were determined to be chronically ill or mentally disabled. Many who came through Ellis Island came from Europe and settled in the New York or New Jersey area. On the opposite side of the country, Angel Island in the San Francisco Bay had the same function, but mostly processed Chinese immigrants. Many people were detained on the island for hours or even days. More than 3000 people died on the island waiting in the hospital to be cleared through immigration. After 1924, Ellis Island was only used for detainees and refugees. All others were processed at other facilities.
Why Visit Ellis Island?
Ellis Island is the point where many families got their start in America. Park your New York car rental in the parking lot and take the ferry over to see the park and museum administered by the National Park Service. You can drive to either Liberty State Park in Jersey City or the southern tip of Manhattan with your New York car rental. While this was a great place for many, to some it was known as The Isle of Tears or Heartbreak Island because many were sent back to their home country. It was here also that many families received new names: if an immigration officer couldnt spell a name, they would write a name that was close. Although there is a bridge to the island, visitors must park their New York car rental in one of the parking lots and take the ferry over.
- The museum is part of New York, but the southern part of the island belongs to New Jersey. This part of the island has an infirmary and hospital that have not yet been restored.
- There is an interesting IMAX movie about the immigrant experience at Ellis Island. It is called Across the Sea of Time.
- Recently, Ellis Island was in a scene in the movie Hitch. Will Smith and Eva Mendes went to the island to tour the museum for a date.
A trip to Ellis Island is a great experience. Park your New York car rental and take a relaxing ferry ride over. It is open daily, except for Christmas day, from 9:30am to 5:15pm. There is a security screening that visitors must pass through before being allowed on the ferry, so leave anything that might be considered a hazard in your New York car rental. There are many exhibits and educational programs about the history of the island and the immigration process. There is no entrance fee for the park, but there is a small fee for the museum. Enjoy your visit!