Ellis Island’s joyful “kissing post”

Getting through Ellis Island after arriving in America took some time.

After disembarking and taking a ferry to the main building, every immigrant went through the same process.

They would leave their belongings in a baggage room, undergo a medical exam, and be interviewed by agents to make sure they were legally able to come to the U.S.

The routine took hours, days, or weeks, and not everyone was given the go-ahead to enter New York City.

But if they did, America’s newest arrivals were free to move on.

They went to a money-exchange area, collected their bags, and waited at the foot of the stairs of the Great Hall to reunite with family already in New York.

One pillar in the room was the location of so many emotional family reunions, it became known as the kissing post. It’s marked with a plaque today.

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8 Responses to “Ellis Island’s joyful “kissing post””

  1. Nabe News: March 31 - Bowery Boogie | A Lower East Side Chronicle Says:

    […] “kissing post” of Ellis Island [Ephemeral […]

  2. Tom Bernardin Says:

    Very nice piece. One correction: The Kissing Post is not in the Main Regisry Room. It is located at the foot of the stairs leading from the Great Hall to the Social Services Area.

  3. wildnewyork Says:

    Thank you–I will correct the copy.

  4. Alex Says:

    Nice write up. My great uncles came through Ellis Island in the 1930s and later sponsored my parents who arrived separately in the late 1940s and mid 1950s arrived through the various piers of Manhattan.

  5. wildnewyork Says:

    Thanks. I’ve read that something like 40 percent of Americans can trace their lineage back to Ellis Island. It’s incredible.

  6. David Says:

    There is a sense of history that is felt in few other places. I knew it would impress me, but being there, I enjoyed it all the more. Be sure to check out the family tracing room which allows you to see when your ancestors came through. Its a moving personal experience.

  7. meghan Says:

    Very cool. Make it more detailed please!!! its like hardly detailed at all

  8. What happened after landing at Castle Garden | Ephemeral New York Says:

    […] Ellis Island gets all the notoriety. But the city’s first immigrant processing center—the building that greeted an astounding eight million new arrivals over 35 years—was Castle Garden, a former fort and concert hall at the foot of the Battery. […]

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