The First New Yorkers

Immigrants come to New York City bringing dreams and hopes of a new better life experience. Image: courtesy of American Family Immigration History Center in Ellis Island


New York has been America's city of immigrants for nearly four centuries. Growing from Peter Minuit's tiny settlement of 1626 to one with more than three million immigrants today, the city has always been a magnet for transplants from all over the globe. 

the statue of liberty. photo: lucas compan

It is only fitting that the United States, a "nation of immigrants," is home to the only world city built primarily by immigration. More immigrants have entered the United States through New York than through all other entry points combined, making New York's immigrant saga a quintessentially American story. If you are interested in learning more, you should get the excellent book "City of Dreams - The 400-year Epic History of Immigrant New York," by Tyler Anbinder. Now enjoy this video below.

Video by ESI Design

Ellis Island symbolizes the spirit of hope, renewal, and opportunity we associate with immigration. To bring this spirit to visitors around the world, ESI designed the American Family Immigration History Center. Opened in 2001, ESI's core activity at the Ellis Island National Immigration Museum fulfills a dream long held by those whose ancestors immigrated through Ellis Island: to search over 22 million passenger records and 3.5 million digitized ship manifests for family members who arrived at the Port of New York between 1892 and 1924.

At the museum and on the Web, visitors quickly locate relatives, see the wealth of information collected from passengers at debarkation points, and print a copy of the manifest that bears a relative’s name and a photograph of the ship that carried him or her to Ellis Island. In collaboration with the National Park Service, ESI also designed the center’s physical environment, which complements the historic building.

You, too, can explore and experience New York City's history, learning its secret stories, be getting to know its iconic landmarks – including the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

Never Stop Exploring

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