The Other Side

Art and History on Ellis Island

Posted on February 16, 2015 at 3:02 pm


        On September 25, 2014 Save Ellis Island announced it would open the historic Hospital Complex on Ellis Island’s south side to the public for guided tours. For the first time in sixty years, a portion of the 22 hospital buildings, once considered to be the largest and most modern Public Health Facility in the US, would be opened for 90-minute docent led “Hard Hat Tours”. By opening day, October 1st, tickets would be sold out for months in advance. The Hard Hat Tour quickly became the hottest ticket to buy in NYC. Today, nearly fours months after opening day, the tours continue to be sold out.       To celebrate the long awaited opening of the Ellis Island Hospital, Save Ellis Island President, Janis Calella, commissioned well known French street artist, JR, to install an art exhibit inside the buildings. JR, famous for his large-scale pervasive art, had been interested in Ellis Island’s immigrant hospital …


How Many Buildings Are There

Posted on February 15, 2015 at 3:11 pm


The hospital complex on Ellis Island was the first large-scale public health facility of its kind in America. It included quarantine, psychopathic and infectious disease wards. Considered to be one of the few remaining low rise pavilion-style public hospitals in our nation, Ellis Island’s 750-bed hospital complex was the beginning of the public health system in America as we know it today.     Built between 1900 and 1909, new medical theories and practices, such as germ theory and sterilization, were embraced and perfected at Ellis Island. If you visit the hospital on one of the Hard Hat Tours, and you are standing in the autopsy theater in the Contagious Disease Hospital, you will learn that this once grand hospital was a teaching hospital, one of the finest in the United States in the early 19th century.       When standing on the north side of Ellis Island in front of the Immigration Museum looking across the ferry slip …


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The Save Ellis Island website is made possible by a generous donation from Heidi Liebi Root in memory of her father Fred Liebi