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Come and explore the Ellis Island Hard Hat Tour

Ellis Island closed in 1954 and then reopened to the public in 1976 as the Ellis Island Museum of Immigration. However, the restoration required to open the museum did not extend to the hospital complex, which remains in a constant state of decay. After being closed for 60 years, the historic Ellis Island Hospital Complex is now open for guided tours. The complex may be crumbling and falling apart but it’s still alive with stories and the Hard Hat Tour is the only way to explore this small piece of decaying history. Admission to the Ellis Island Museum is included in the price of the 90-minute tour, which is offered six times per day, seven days per week.

An unexpected addition to the Hospital Complex is an art installation by French artist, JR, who is known for enormous mural and portrait installations in public places. JR has displayed large-scale installations in Times Square and at the US-Mexico border, having also collaborated with iconic institutions like the New York City Ballet and the Louvre. Book your ticket today for the Hard Hat Tour, your only access to his latest work displayed at Ellis Island!

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Planning your visit

The vast majority of Ellis Island is in New Jersey waters, so you could catch a short ferry from NYC to New Jersey and head to Liberty State Park, which offers sweeping views of lower Manhattan and is a great picnicking spot. Or, you can ride from Battery Park to the Statue of Liberty and then on to Ellis Island which is about 45 minutes with a short narration and stunning views of Manhattan.

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Visit both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty

Save Ellis Island, the organization that operates the Hard Hat Tour and is working to preserve the Hospital Complex, works in conjunction with Statue City Cruises, which sells ferry tickets for both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. However, simply buying the ferry ticket isn’t enough to gain access to the Statue’s pedestal or crown.

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