Circle Tours

South Side of Ellis Island

-South side, Ellis Island

-Artist JR has images of Ellis Island immigrants displayed throughout the old hospital complex.

-Tour leader, John McInnis

September 24, 2015

The New York Landmarks Conservancy was pleased to offer its members an exclusive, hard hat tour of the south side of Ellis Island. This area is generally not open to the public except by special arrangement.

The tours are offered by Save Ellis Island Inc., a non-profit dedicated to stabilizing and promoting the story of the south side. The tours are sold out for months, but the Conservancy got a special tour because it has a seat on their board.

The 29 structures on the south side are in severe states of decay and have been empty and abandoned since 1954. For more than a decade, the Conservancy has been instrumental in leading efforts to preserve and restore these vacant buildings. The south side held the largest hospital complex of its day.

As part of the tour, an art exhibit, “Unframed – Ellis Island,” by renowned artist JR was on display throughout the hospital complex. The exhibit features life size historic photographs of Ellis Island immigrants.


To learn more about tours of the south side of Ellis Island visit

Thanks to John McInnis for leading the tour.