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Photo Credit: Ingfbruno/Wikipedia

Almost one year to the day after Sandy swamped it with 8-foot storm surges, Ellis Island is reopening to the public.

For the past year, the National Park Service has been working to repair the national monument after water damaged boilers and electrical systems, leaving Ellis Island without any power for months.

This Monday, Ellis Island will open her doors once more.

The Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Photo Credit: NPS

AP News via abc News: Ellis Island will reopen to the public Monday, almost exactly a year after Superstorm Sandy’s swells reached 8 feet and badly damaged the former U.S. immigration entry point.

“We are delighted to be able to share Ellis Island’s uniquely American story with the world once more,” Superintendent David Luchsinger said in a statement Thursday.

Ellis Island after the superstorm. Photo Credit: NPS

The Oct. 29 storm swamped boilers and electrical systems, and the 27.5-acre island in New York Harbor was without power for months.

The Ellis Island Immigration Museum, housed in the main building on the island, showcases the stories of the millions of immigrants who passed through the island to start their lives in the United States.

More than 20 million people passed through the federal immigration station between 1892 and 1954. Photo Credit: Bettmann/Corbis via

More than a million documents, photographs and other artifacts at the museum were moved before the storm because it was impossible to maintain the climate-controlled environment needed for their preservation.

National Park Service staff pass boxes of artifacts down the stairs near the Great Hall. Photo Credit: Kevin Daley, National Park Service via Tribeca Trib Online

While the halls and buildings will reopen, the artifacts remain in a temporary storage facility in Maryland, park officials said. There is no estimate on when they will return to the island, because considerable work to upgrade and fix the buildings is still ongoing.

Doors and windows to Ferry Building knocked down by storm surge. Photo Credit: NPS

“You’re not going to see a complete restoration of Ellis Island for a while,” spokesman John Warren said.

Crews are still working on revamping so that the next bad storm won’t leave the island shuttered for a year, he said.

Post-Sandy damage. Photo Credit: NPS

There is no cost estimate yet on how much it will take to repair and revamp the island.

by Mai Armstrong for the Working Harbor Committee

There’s been a bit of a stand-off between the National Parks Service and City Officials over a proposed change to security screening procedures for visitors to Liberty and Ellis Islands.

Photo: ©Mitch Waxman / Newtown Pentacle

For years, passenger screening had taken place at Battery park in Manhattan, before the boarding of any vessels headed for the iconic attractions. The National Parks Service wanted to revise that long-standing procedure and change it so that passengers would be screened only after they arrived by ferry on Liberty and Ellis Islands.

Photo: ©Mitch Waxman / Newtown Pentacle

Wait… Did they say thousands of people on boats would be headed for iconic landmarks with no screening? Well, that just doesn’t make sense, now does it?

Photo: ©Mitch Waxman / Newtown Pentacle

NYC Police Commissioner Ray Kelly didn’t think it made any sense either, and this week Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewel, announced that not only should screening prior to embarking remain but also that a screening facility be built in Manhattan’s Battery Park in time for the July 4th re-opening of the Statue of Liberty.

Photo: ©Mitch Waxman / Newtown Pentacle

New York Times: The Park Service had planned to have visitors screened on Ellis Island, rather than in Manhattan, when the statue reopens on July 4. But Raymond W. Kelly, the police commissioner, has been objecting to that move for more than two years.

Mr. Kelly wanted the security operation to remain on the promenade in Battery Park, where it had been since the statue and Ellis Island reopened to visitors after the Sept. 11 attacks. The New York Police Department was uncomfortable with allowing tourists to board ferries to the statue without first being checked for weapons and explosives.

On Monday, Sally Jewell, the secretary of the interior, notified Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of the decision. She said the Park Service would erect a temporary screening center containing X-ray machines and magnetometers in Battery Park, but might have to leave it there for several years before a permanent solution could be devised. Read more here…

by Mai Armstrong for Working Harbor Committee

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