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, including most of the exhibits, remain closed at this time. 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.
DECEMBER 2010-JANUARY 2011/MARCH 2011
NPS PHOTO - V. SCOTT
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.)
NPS PHOTO - V. SCOTT
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?
Although most immigrants processed at Ellis Island stayed between three and five hours, about 20% stayed overnight in dormitory rooms until their cases could be cleared. Many immigrants found these accommodations a big improvement over the severe conditions of traveling to America in "steerage".