Ellis Island | A New Home & Beginning for Millions

by Denise Marie

Standing prominently between New Jersey and New York City, Ellis Island is a major landmark that welcomed millions of immigrants into the United States. The island includes original buildings that once processed waves of new arrivals between the 1890’s until the 1950’s.

Ellis Island

Click to visit Ellis Island official website

Brief History and Facts

Ellis Island has served a number of purposes in its history. It was first a source of delicious oyster beds for the original settlers of New York. Then it was a pirate hideout, a military fort, a federal arsenal and barracks, before becoming the busiest immigration inspection station in the United States.

Established in the late 1800’s, Ellis Island served as an important entry point into the United States of America for nearly 12 million arrivals. They left their old lives behind and began new ones all across the United States. For decades, the venue processed the massive waves of immigrants from Eastern Europe, Russia, Italy and other regions in Europe. After World War I, the island was mainly used as a detention complex. Immigration quotas in the 1920’s ultimately led to the decline of the island’s role in processing immigrants.

Since 1965 Ellis Island has been part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. In 1990, it has been home to a museum of immigration. Today, more than three million people still come to Ellis Island every year, visiting as tourists to explore their own personal histories or the history of the United States. It is a moving and powerful stop on any trip to New York City, and offers the very best view of the Manhattan, New Jersey, Brooklyn and Staten Island skylines, not to mention the Statue of Liberty.

Highlights

The Ellis Island Information Desk is the official visitor center on the island. You can obtain official maps, request audio tours and ask for special accommodations. The audio tours at this world-famous attraction are available in more than 10 languages.

You’re encouraged to begin your tour on the northeastern side of the island, which includes the Immigration Museum. The museum occupies the historic Main Building that retains the original French Renaissance Revival facade. Visitors will admire the limestone exterior and other distinct architectural elements of this national landmark.

Once inside, guests will also be in awe of the massive size and open layout of the Great Hall. Some of the Immigration Museum’s permanent galleries include Journeys: The People of America, New Eras of Immigration and American Flag of Faces. Visitors can also search for their ancestors at the American Family Immigration History Center. This venue contains an extensive collection of documents relating to millions of immigrants who entered the United States through the island.

The southwestern side of the island has a complex of other preserved facilities, including a morgue, hospital, powerhouse, measles wards and isolation wards.

Ellis Island Peopling of America Center

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Location and Getting There

Occupying 27.5 acres in the New York Harbor, Ellis Island is exclusively accessible by ferry. A bridge that connects the island with Jersey City is designated only for official use. You can board a ferry in Lower Manhattan’s Battery Park or Jersey City’s Liberty State Park. Most of the sightseeing boat tours also stop at the neighboring Liberty Island that’s home to the iconic Statue of Liberty. Note that Statue Cruises is the only company authorized by the National Park Service to provide ferry tickets and tours to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

Click to visit Ellis Island official website.

Radio City Music Hall | A Historic Entertainment Venue

by Denise Marie

Radio City Music Hall has been a prominent fixture in Midtown Manhattan since the 1930’s. Nested into the Rockefeller Center, this historic venue has hosted world-famous musicians, orchestras and other entertainers. It’s hard to miss the signature marquee signs above the main entrances to this entertainment hub in the heart of New York City.

Shows and Events

The Christmas Spectacular is without a doubt the most popular show at Radio City Music Hall. Scheduled during the weeks leading up to Christmas, this annual spectacle has been presented since the early 1930’s. The beautiful Rockettes are the stars of the 90-minute show that celebrates the magic of the holiday season in the Big Apple. These skilled precision dancers are best known for their synchronized high kicks and other maneuvers that truly amaze the audience.

The Christmas Spectacular also features classic Christmas jingles and other tunes that will surely get spectators in the spirit for the holiday. From music concerts and awards shows to comedy acts and sports conferences, Radio City Music Hall also hosts an array of other diverse events throughout the year.

You don’t have to buy tickets to any events to explore this iconic entertainment venue. Led by friendly staff members with passion for NYC’s rich culture, guided behind-the-scenes tours are available throughout the year. You’ll get the chance to view the historic Grand Foyer that’s decorated with dramatic Art Deco installations. Murals and tubular chandeliers are some other notable pieces inside the 60-foot foyer.

You’ll also gain access to the exclusive Roxy Suite, which is typically reserved for VIP guests during events. Additionally, the guided tours take visitors to the Grand Stage in the main auditorium. Three mezzanine levels and an orchestra level surround the main stage. The music hall is usually illuminated by a distinct red hue with an orange flare. The oval-shaped auditorium is also optimized for pleasant acoustics, especially during live concerts.

Radio City Stage Door Tour

Click to book your Radio City Stage Door Tour

Location and Getting There

Radio City Music Hall is prominently situated at the corner of 6th Avenue and 50th Street in Midtown Manhattan. This signature attraction is part of the Rockefeller Center that includes several skyscrapers. The B, C, D, Q and several other lines of the NYC Subway stop within walking distance of the mixed-used complex.

Click to visit the Radio City Music Hall official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the company in question.

Statue of Liberty | An Iconic Symbol of Freedom

by Denise Marie

Installed on a small island in the New York Harbor in the late 19th century, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the United States. Accessible only by official ferries, this national monument is one of the most visited tourist attractions in NYC.

Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Guided Tour

Click to book your Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island Guided Tour

Highlights

After landing on Liberty Island, visitors are encouraged to browse the Statue of Liberty Museum. Open to the public since the spring of 2019, the museum is one of a few major installations on the historic island in decades. Guests can explore up to 26,000 sq feet of galleries that are split into three sections. The exhibits present detailed information on the history of the iconic monument that was designed in France. The main highlight at the all-new museum is an original torch that was installed on the statue in the late 19th century.

After learning about the fascinating history of the Statue of Liberty, visitors should proceed to the famous pedestal, an architectural masterpiece that’s attributed to Richard Morris Hunt. When you reach the top of the pedestal, you’ll be rewarded with great views of the neighboring Ellis Island and New York Harbor. Space is extremely limited inside the pedestal, so all guests should make reservations in advance. Similarly, reservations are highly recommended for access to the crown. The climb to the crown’s observation area is 146 stairs.

After a visit to the top of the monument, you could refresh and recharge at the Statue of Liberty Crown Cafe. This casual restaurant serves sandwiches, hamburgers, French fries and other classic items in American cuisine. Don’t forget to buy some cool souvenirs at the adjacent gift shop inside the new museum. From history books and figures to plush toys and house decor, the store sells fun items that celebrate one of America’s most iconic landmarks.

How to Get There

The Statue of Liberty dominates the landscape of Liberty Island, a 14.7-acre island in the middle of the New York Harbor. You can only reach this small island by riding a ferry from Battery Park in Lower Manhattan or Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Both ferry routes also stop at Ellis Island, which is situated less than 2,000 feet away from the world-famous national monument. Public transit is readily available near the Statue Cruises docks in Lower Manhattan. For example, the Bowling Green and South Ferry subway stations are located within walking distance of Battery Park.

Click to visit the Statue of Liberty official website.

Note: This information can change without notice. Confirm all details directly with the company in question.