Ellis Island Still Closed After Sandy

Statue of Liberty Also Shut Indefinitely by Superstorm's Wrath

Untold Damage: Sandy inflicted an estimated $59 million in damage to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Officials don’t know if the landmarks will open anytime soon.
getty images
Untold Damage: Sandy inflicted an estimated $59 million in damage to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Officials don’t know if the landmarks will open anytime soon.

By Seth Berkman

Published January 02, 2013, issue of January 04, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 5 of 5)

“There are some success stories of people cured or tragic stories of people who died there,” he explained.

Before Sandy hit, Save Ellis Island had been seeking to restore these abandoned buildings and use them for an envisioned Ellis Island Institute and Conference Center. Calella, the Save Ellis Island president, said the conference center would be used for lectures, exhibits and festivals on topics such as “human migration, tolerance, cultural diversity, and public health.”

Lorie Conway, author of the book “Forgotten Ellis Island,” and producer of an accompanying film, said restoring the south side buildings and creating the infrastructure to build such a center would have taken “hundreds of millions of dollars” even before the damage Sandy inflicted. She argued that the job was still worth doing, even with the additional damage.

“The medical side of [Ellis Island’s] history says so many great things about what we are as a country, how we respond to people who are sick and diseased, but also represents some darker history,” Conway said. “It became a place where doctors were really choosing who was able to come into America and who was turned away.”

Zitko, of the The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, was confident that the necessary repairs would ultimately be made throughout the island. “I think everyone involved, from the Park Service to the foundation to concessioners, is very eager to get the islands open as quickly as possible with full knowledge they have to be safe,” she said. “We kind of have to defer to the National Park Service. They know we’re standing ready to help any way we can.”

Luchsinger found comfort in the fact that the preeminent symbol of Ellis Island, the Great Hall, through which all of the millions of new immigrants, rich and poor, passed was unscathed.

“I was absolutely elated when I went inside the Statue and the monument, and the Statue had sustained no damage whatsoever,” he said. “All the work from the last year, and no damage. [At Ellis Island] it was so wonderful to go inside the main museum and see the first floor and artifacts and exhibits were not touched.”

Contact Seth Berkman at berkman@forward.com


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Maybe he was trying to give her a "schtickle of fluoride"...
  • It's all fun, fun, fun, until her dad takes the T-Bird away for Shabbos.
  • "Like many Jewish people around the world, I observed Shabbat this weekend. I didn’t light candles or recite Hebrew prayers; I didn’t eat challah or matzoh ball soup or brisket. I spent my Shabbat marching for justice for Eric Garner of Staten Island, Michael Brown of Ferguson, and all victims of police brutality."
  • Happy #NationalDogDay! To celebrate, here's a little something from our archives:
  • A Jewish couple was attacked on Monday night in New York City's Upper East Side. According to police, the attackers flew Palestinian flags.
  • "If the only thing viewers knew about the Jews was what they saw on The Simpsons they — and we — would be well served." What's your favorite Simpsons' moment?
  • "One uncle of mine said, 'I came to America after World War II and I hitchhiked.' And Robin said, 'I waited until there was a 747 and a kosher meal.'" Watch Billy Crystal's moving tribute to Robin Williams at last night's #Emmys:
  • "Americans are much more focused on the long term and on the end goal which is ending the violence, and peace. It’s a matter of zooming out rather than debating the day to day.”
  • "I feel great sorrow about the fact that you decided to return the honor and recognition that you so greatly deserve." Rivka Ben-Pazi, who got Dutchman Henk Zanoli recognized as a "Righteous Gentile," has written him an open letter.
  • Is there a right way to criticize Israel?
  • From The Daily Show to Lizzy Caplan, here's your Who's Jew guide to the 2014 #Emmys. Who are you rooting for?
  • “People at archives like Yad Vashem used to consider genealogists old ladies in tennis shoes. But they have been impressed with our work on indexing documents. Now they are lining up to work with us." This year's Jewish Genealogical Societies conference took place in Utah. We got a behind-the-scenes look:
  • What would Maimonides say about Warby Parker's buy-one, give-one charity model?
  • For 22 years, Seeds of Peace has fostered dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian teens in an idyllic camp. But with Israel at war in Gaza, this summer was different. http://jd.fo/p57AB
  • J.J. Goldberg doesn't usually respond to his critics. But this time, he just had to make an exception.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.