NEW YORK — On Thursday, July 23, 2009, NLN photographer Tom Good visited Ellis Island, photographing the buildings and exhibits in the former immigration station, now a museum. Of particular interest: the Red Scare display which prominently features the IWW, exhibits chronicling deportations of “hyphenated Americans“, a chilling section on mental examinations, and the more upbeat displays that show the diversity of immigrants coming to the U.S. as well as the etymology of some “Ethnic Americanisms”, for example: “snoop” (Dutch).
“They asked us questions. ‘How much is two and one? How much is two and two?’ But the next young girl, also from our city, went and they asked her, ‘How do you wash stairs, from the top or from the bottom?’ She says, ‘I don’t go to America to wash stairs.’ ”
– Pauline Notkoff, a Polish-Jewish immigrant in 1917, interviewed in 1985.
(From a display at the Ellis Island museum).
To get to Ellis Island: take the Circle Line Ferry (buy tickets online or at the Battery Park office on Pier 16). Travel light – the “Airport Style Security” involves removing any items containing metal: belts, car keys, shoes, etc. (From Red Scare to Terror Scare?)
If possible buy tickets for a specific ferry (based on time of departure) as the lines for the “flex” tickets (good for three days) are very long. On a weekday — over an hour.