Photo of the Immigrant Museum at Ellis Island; Photo © James and Karla Murray
As part of a new video series, photographers and longtime New Yorkers James and Karla Murray take us on a tour of one of the few NYC sites they have never visited: Liberty Island. During a press visit with 6sqft last week, the duo toured and documented the recently opened Statue of Liberty Museum, taking in the interactive galleries, views of Lady Liberty, and the statue’s original torch. And as part of a preview with Untapped Cities, James and Karla got a behind-the-scenes look at the abandoned Ellis Island hospital as well as its Immigration Museum. Ahead, ride the Statue Cruises ferry with them from Bowling Green to Liberty and Ellis Islands, taking in all of the historic sites along the way.
See the video
There’s a steel wall in the Hudson River that celebrates immigrants, the only place in the United States where heritage can be honored at a national monument. The American Immigrant Wall of Honor first opened on Ellis Island in 1990 to recognize the country’s many immigrants and to raise money for the site’s National Museum of Immigration and the Statue of Liberty. Currently, there are 770 panels engraved with the names of nearly 775,000 immigrants. But spots on the wall are filling up, as the New York Times reported on Wednesday. Just five panels remain empty, enough space for roughly 3,300 names.
No, not that wall
Photo via NPS
The third partial federal government shutdown of 2018 kicked off this weekend after Congress failed to pass an appropriations bill. As with the first two that occurred earlier this year, the government shutdown can affect New York City by temporarily closing its national parks and some of its federally-funded museums, leaving thousands of federal workers in the city without pay. But one major landmark will remain open throughout the duration of the shutdown. With help from the state, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will stay open during the shutdown, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday.
More on the shutdown
Rendering by FXCollaborative
The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation this week will launch a fundraising campaign to help finish construction on its new $70 million museum. The foundation’s campaign, “For Lady Liberty,” seeks to raise $10 million to “add the finishing touches” to the 26,000-square-foot museum on Liberty Island. When it opens in May 2019, the space, designed by FXCollaborative and ESI Design, will feature an immersive theater and gallery that showcases the statue’s original torch and the Liberty Star Mural, a panoramic display with the names of donors.
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Federal Hall, photo courtesy of Wikimedia
If you’re an out-of-towner planning a classic, tourist-attraction-filled trip to New York City soon, you may want to rethink your visit. The U.S. government might be headed toward a shutdown, with its funding set to expire by midnight Friday. Although it’s not totally clear yet what will be affected in NYC, the last government shutdown in 2013, which lasted 16 days, temporarily closed national parks and a few federally-funded museums citywide. While there’s a chance the national parks and museums might choose to stay open, ahead find which ones might be affected in the event of a government shutdown.
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Frank Lloyd Wright/TAA drawing of Key Project for Ellis Island. Credit: The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Archives (The Museum of Modern Art | Avery Architectural & Fine Arts Library, Columbia University, New York)
Ellis Island, well known as the processing center for millions of American immigrants until 1954, has figured heavily in the nation’s history; once the center was closed and neither of its current owners, the states of New York and New Jersey, knew of an alternative for its re-use, the island was offered for sale. Among the bidders for the 27-acre site were a pair of young NBC executives whose idea included breathtaking plans conceived by none other than Frank Lloyd Wright. According to Metropolis, Wright’s idea supported the media execs’ vision for “an entirely new, complete, and independent prototype city of the future.”
So what happened?
Photo via Wiki Commons
Sorry, New York. Ellis Island, America’s first and biggest immigration center, technically belongs to New Jersey. In May of 1998, the Supreme Court ended a long-standing argument between New Jersey and the Empire State over who actually owns the Island, as Smithsonian Magazine discovered. Based on a land claims agreement between the two states made before Ellis Island became a gateway for nearly 12 million immigrants, the Court decided it belonged mostly to New Jersey, in addition to the federal government, since it’s overseen by the National Park Service.
But it wasn’t so easy
Art Nerd founder Lori Zimmer shares her top art, design and architecture event picks for 6sqft readers!
Take advantage of this long weekend to get outside and enjoy the city. Sign up for a free walking tour of Central Park or Bryant Park, or head to Washington Square Park for the 82nd year of the Outdoor Art Exhibit. If adventure is your thing, ferry over to Governors Island for their new zip line adventure, or take the boat to Ellis Island for Untapped Cities’ insiders’ tour. Check out a sculpture by the Strokes’ Fabrizio Moretti at the beautiful Elizabeth Street Garden, or role play with Ryohei Kawanishi at the Museum of Arts and Design. Finally, treat yourself to a free concert by the New York Philharmonic, inside the history St. John the Divine Cathedral on Memorial Day.
Details on these events and more this way
Modern-day storytelling ranges from the age-old tradition of oration to the modern take of 140 characters. But what happens when the story is a mix of old and new and is intended for an audience that ranges from elementary school students to centenarians? That’s where ESI Design, a firm dedicated to enriching the human experience, steps in. ESI was founded in 1977 by Edwin Schlossberg. Their unique focus on melding traditional techniques with modern technology made them the perfect fit to design the recently launched Peopling of America Center at the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration.
The center–conceived with the vision and support of the Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation and its president Stephen Briganti and the National Parks Service–highlights journeys undertaken before Ellis Island opened in 1892 with “Journeys: The Peopling of America – 1550s-1890,” which opened in 2011. On May 20th, another wing called “The Journey: New Eras of Immigration” opened to give visitors the chance to look at immigration that took place after Ellis Island closed in 1954.
One of the visionaries at ESI is senior designer of media and technology Michael Schneider. For the Peopling of America Center, he was responsible for figuring out which of the available technologies worked best for the new exhibits and their audience. We recently spoke with Michael to learn how ESI approaches storytelling and, specifically, how the firm designed the galleries for the Peopling of America Center.
Read our interview with Michael here
Every day Lady Liberty stands tall holding high her torch in celebration of our nation’s freedom. Since today is Miss Liberty’s 128th birthday, we thought it would only be appropriate to take some time out of our busy schedules to return the favor. Join us for a brief look back at some of Miss Liberty’s most notable moments throughout history. Happy birthday Lady Liberty, and here we go!
Fun facts on Miss Liberty here