The Other Side

Valentine’s Day

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Posted on February 9, 2018 at 1:54 pm


Valentine’s Day is a day for romance and to celebrate love with our loved ones. As the holiday approaches, we wanted to share the history of the “Kissing Post” on Ellis Island as it is a spot of great interest. When immigrants recalled stories of the kissing post it was with much affection.

The “Kissing Post” also known as the “Kissing Gate” was located on the first floor of the West Wing of the Main Building.  In this area, immigrants were reunited with their friends and relatives who arrived in America before them. “The Kissing Post” got its nickname because family and friends waited for loved ones after months or years of being apart. Their reunions were joyous and they celebrated with a lot of hugging and kissing.  People sometimes had to wait days and hours for their family members to be cleared by immigrant officials.  When they finally did reunite there was so much kissing to be done that they renamed the first floor the “Kissing Post.” Friends, sweethearts, husbands and wives, parents and children would kiss and shed tears of pure joy. For them the long journey was finally over. They were in America.

Today, on a tour of Ellis Island visitors can go to the spot where is the “Kissing Post” was. A plaque hangs there now which reads, “In this area, immigrants were reunited with waiting friends and relatives who had preceded them to America. The emotional and joyous scenes that took place here prompted an Ellis Island matron to write the following in 1910: ‘The manner in which the people of different nationalities greet each other after a separation of years of one of the interesting studies at the Island. The Italian kisses his little children but scarcely speaks to his wife, never embraces or kisses her in public. The Hungarian and Slavish (sic) people put their arms around one another and weep.  The Jew of all countries kisses his wife and children as though he had all the kisses in the world, and intended to use them all up quick.’”

In 2014, Conde Nast Traveler named the “Kissing Post” on Ellis Island as one of the 15 most romantic places to kiss around the world. “Long ago, many joyful family reunions happened at a gate known as the “kissing post.” Share a peck in front of the plaque that stands in its place today.” Conde Nast Traveler, February 13, 2014.

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