• Immigrants awaiting inspection in front of Ellis Island's Main Building

    Ellis Island

    Part of Statue of Liberty National Monument NJ,NY

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  • Ellis Island is open on a limited basis while repairs continue.

    Ellis Island has reopened on a limited basis. Due to the nature of the destruction caused by Hurricane Sandy, parts of the historic Main Building and museum remain closed at this time. The museum's artifacts remain in off-site storage. More »

Ellis Island seawall repair

Since most of Ellis Island is landfill, the seawall around the edge of the island has sagged over the years. A major repair of the entire seawall is set to begin Summer 2010 and will continue for approximately 19 months. This project is being funded through ARRA (The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act).

As this work progresses, some public areas of Ellis Island, including portions of the Immigrant Wall of Honor, will be within the work zones, and therefore not accessible to the public.



Flagpole area on Ellis Island closed for construction

Flagpole area on Ellis Island


The flagpole area at Ellis Island has been closed off to facilitate work on the seawall.

(The blue-and-white diving flag means "I have a diver down (in the water); keep well clear at slow speed". It has the same general meaning as the red-and-white flag you see.)

Ellis Island Dock closed with "Diver Down" flag

Ellis Island seawall closed, with diving flag


The entire front seawall on Island #1 has been closed for repair work.

The red flag with the diagonal white stripe is commonly used to indicate "Diver Down", in other words, a diver is in the water.




Work is getting underway to make extensive repairs to Ellis Island's seawall. Some of it will have an effect on your visit. Not only will portions of the Immigrant Wall of Honor be closed off, but the area around the flagpole will be restricted to construction personnel only. This work is scheduled to be completed by June 2011.

You will also see seawall repairs being done on the other side of the ferry slip. While this work will not directly affect your visit, be aware that it may influence the ferry boats entering and leaving the slip.

Did You Know?

Ellis Island's Distinctive Facade and Towers

Although Ellis Island is federal property and has always been historically considered in New York, the U.S. Supreme Court appointed a "Special Master" to mediate. The ruling in 1998 determined that the original island belongs to New York and the rest of the island, added after 1834, belongs to New Jersey.