Ellis Island

My blog posts are usually short and sweet but you have to bear with me on this one as there are behind the scene stories, links, and I have a lot to say. I am assuming the majority of my followers know what Ellis Island is (if not please click on the link).

In early August a friend told me about a photography workshop, run by Joe McNally, that would be shooting in areas of Ellis Island, not open to the public . What photographer would not jump at this opportunity??? Here comes the backstory! A group of photographers and I have been meeting for 2 years via zoom. The group was started early in the pandemic, thanks to the community at Kelby One. The group has never met in person. On our weekly meeting we discussed the Ellis Island workshop and within 24 hours 6 of us had signed up. The group came from Lisbon, California, Arizona, Maryland, New Jersey and NY. In addition, 4 others that couldn’t make the workshop agreed to meet the day after to walk NYC. (that blog to follow). Given this was a momentous occasion we had to give the group a name…hence the City Clickers.

Flight tag and buttons for all

On the morning of the workshop 6 of us met at Battery Park to take the 6:00am staff ferry to the island. The weather for the day had rain in the forecast, however the ride over to Ellis Island provided beautiful sunrise colors. Unfortunately immediately following our arrival the clouds and rain appeared.

The first area we explored was the building that housed the doctors and their families that worked at the hospital. While sad to see the deterioration of the rooms, it was beautiful with the textures of peeling paint, decaying wood and remnants of days gone by.

There are many corridors to get to the different areas, this was the passageway to the doctors quarters.


With a view like this from the doctors residence I have to think it would have inspired them to continue to work the long hours required.

This was the pharmacy room. Explanation required: the person behind the window and the pharmaceuticals on the wall on the left is artwork installed in 2014 by a French artist that goes by the name of JR. He found images in the archives, enlarged them to greater than life size and pasted them on various surfaces throughout the hospital buildings. It was the first time in 60 years that this area was open to the public to view his exhibit.

Another image with JR’s photograph in the stairway

The remainder of the day we explored the hospital. There were wings where patients were segregated depending upon their illness. Ellis Island, at it’s busiest, would receive 6,000 immigrants a day. Each was examined and approximately 2% diagnosed with an illness were either sent back to their country of origin or placed in the hospital facility. According to the volunteers that walked us through the areas, the hospital was state-of-the-art for its time.

I’m guessing this is where doctors and nurses worked on patient records.
The heating system for the hospital
The Laundry room
The City Clickers: Dianne, Nando, Becki, Joe McNally, myself, John and Joff
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