Ellis Island tour or Staten Island ferry?

Old Mar 19th, 2009, 06:41 PM
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Ellis Island tour or Staten Island ferry?

In my ongoing quest to finish organising the planned New York week (we're almost a week away now!), I have (yet) another question: Would it be worth it for Intrepid Best Friend and I to shell out the money for an Ellis Island/Lady Liberty tour or should we just save the money/time and do a ferry ride to get close-ish to it? Is it even open (wasn't it closed for the orange alert thingy)? How long would such a thing take? We're both history buffs to a degree, amateur genealogists and big on late nineteenth/early twentieth century stuff, but wonder what a guided tour would be like and if we'd have to take one.
lazuliangel is offline  
Old Mar 19th, 2009, 07:20 PM
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I have not been on the Staten Island Ferry. I have gone to Ellis Island and LOVED it! I did not want to go and had avoided the tour twice before. I really regret not going before! We went in Dec. so it was packed and we waited a long time. As a result I did not get to spend nearly enough time. We did the "go at your own pace" audio tour. I would go again in a heartbeat and would like to have hours to spend. Good luck!
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Old Mar 19th, 2009, 07:34 PM
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I second the recommendation of Ellis Island and the audio tour. We spent half a day there and enjoyed every minute.
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Old Mar 19th, 2009, 08:04 PM
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The closed part is the statue itself. For a while you could not go in at all. Now you can go into the "podium" beneath the statue by appointment, but never the statue itself. The same ferry reaches the Liberty Island where the statue is and then Ellis Island.

Yes, go to Ellis Island -- don't bother to get off at Liberty. Allow at least half a day for a simple visit, more if you plan to do any research. Reserve your ferry tickets online to save waiting time.
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Old Mar 19th, 2009, 08:18 PM
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FWIW, the Staten Island Ferry does go "by" the Statue of Liberty, but not close, not even close-ish. And seeing the Statue of Liberty from a boat vs. touring Ellis Island aren't even comparable. Ellis Island is definitely worth a visit.
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Old Mar 20th, 2009, 07:26 PM
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If you're interested in genealogy and have someone who entered through Ellis Island, pay the small fee to have their experts help you locate records. Take as much information as you can with you.

I have used the Ellis Island website and had located my great-grandfather's entry, but they pulled out the microfilm which gave me a lot more information than they had posted online. They were also able to explain some notations It turns out that he didn't go through EI at all as he had enough money on him to avoid the mass entry. I would never have known that without their expertise.
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