Abandoned Ellis Island

Corridor, hospital wing

‘In early 2002, I photographed the interiors of the decaying buildings on the un-restored south side of Ellis Island. These buildings served prosaic and often sad purposes: they were the wards and medical facilities. They had a haunting beauty, with their subtle, almost monochromatic colors: greens and rust, old brick and peeling plaster. Ellis Island also had personal significance for me: two of my grandparents passed through the immigrant processing center when they came from Europe in the early years of the 20th century.’

- Paul Margolis

Patient room, maternity hospital

Stairway, administration building

Doors, quarantine wards

Ferry terminal building

Casement window and courtyard


4 comments to Abandoned Ellis Island

  • ara

    vito corleone was in a room like this at the beginning of godfather II.

  • CatM

    I wonder how many of my ancestors knew these rooms?

  • kathryn

    Interesting. Although I took a tour several years later (2010), it appears not much has changed.

  • David Simonton

    Nice work. The distinctive palette—especially the barely-there color—is mysterious and intriguing, much like the place itself.

    I photographed there during the restoration as a participant in The Ellis Island Project: Documentation/Representation. Some of the images from that project are here.

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