Located in Upper New York Bay, Ellis Island received over 12 million people in 1892-1954 who wanted to enter the U.S. For over 60 years it was the United States' busiest immigrant inspection station.
New York Bay used to consist of large tidal flats. Liberty Island, Black Tom Island and Ellis Island were originally named Oyster Islands by the Dutch settlers, due to the abundance of oysters in the area. In the 19th century, Ellis Island was the site of Fort Gibson. In 1965 it became a tourist attraction, part of the Statue of Liberty National Monument. Tourists can visit the island by purchasing a ferry ticket to the Statue of Liberty.
Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration starts with the Great Hall, where one can really feel the spirit of this place. Many photographs of the immigrants are available in the American Family Immigration History Center. People often search here ship manifests for names of their ancestors.
Even though it's open to visitors all year round except Christmas Day, the best time to visit Ellis Island is during the warmer time of the year from March to November since winters are particularly cold and damp in the New York Harbor. On the other hand, the low season could work well for those whose main priority is to avoid crowds.