Wednesday, October 27, 2010


We decided to eat when we reached Ellis island so we headed into the
cafe and bought lunch. I had a turkey burger with french fries and we
found a seat outside on the patio. The food was good, and the portions
were generous so the meal was well worth the price. But there were 
a lot of pigeons hanging about the tables looking for food and when one
tourist obliged with her leftover kettle chips we had a ringside seat to the
pigeon version of "King of the Hill". Other than that, it was a pleasant

We went inside afterwards and picked up our audio players and started
our tour. The Ellis Island tour consists of 20 stops numbered 1 to 20.
Each stop has additional information audios starting with number 100 if
you want to learn more about the subjects the exhibits cover. It starts in
the large hall where the immigrants sat waiting to be questioned by
immigration officials. The audios include the memories of immigrants
who came through Ellis island and combined with the displays in each
room they provide a moving experience for the listener.

I won't go into a description of the tour here, but I think it's something
every American with immigrant ancestors should see. My Irish and
German ancestors entered America through Castle Garden in the years
before Ellis Island but I'm sure there were similiarities in the process at
both places. Seeing Ellis Island gave me a greater appreciation for what
my McFarland and Offinger relatives went through to enter this country.

 It took us a little over an hour to finish the tour and we decided to forego
the additional exhibits on the second and third floor because we wanted
to visit the World Trade Center site on the way out of NYC. We returned
the audio players and boarded the next ferry back to Battery Park where
there were a lot of people out enjoying the great weather and a large
number of street artists.We retrieved the car from the garage and headed
up West Broadway which took us right past the WTC. It's a sobering
site and I wondered how long it would take before the construction there
is finally completed.

Cheryl navigated us through the busy street without a hitch and after a
brief delay on Roosevelt Blvd. we were back on I-95. We stopped at a
Crackerbarrel in Connecticut for dinner and there was a brief (successful)
hunt for an open Dunkin Donuts in the wilds of Coventry, Rhode Island,
but we were back here in Abington by 11:05 pm!  It had been a long but
very enjoyable day.

Thanks again to Cheryl for the pleasure of her company and for helping 
make some good memories!


Cheryl Palmer said...

That is something I missed on my first visit to New York, Ellis Island. I saw it but we didn't have enough time for a tour. Next time. We did spend some time walking all around the World Trade Center site, very emotional also. Sounds like you had a great day Bill!

Deb said...

So glad you visited Ellis Island! We spent an afternoon there many years ago. Our children were all young, and I hadn't caught the genealogy bug yet. Do remember it being very emotional. Would love to get back again to spend the entire day. Great post!

Claudia's Genealogy Blog said...

I have never been to Ellis Island but I would like to go. My mother emigrated in 1926 and she was four at the time.

She remembered being there and coughing and her mother "Don't cough, they will send us back."

GrannyPam said...

Sounds like a great day, Bill. I hope someday I will be able to go out east and visit these places, too.