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Ellis Island reopens for first time since Sandy

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ELLIS ISLAND, N.Y. - Ellis Island, the historic gateway to the United States for millions of immigrants, reopened Monday, a year after Superstorm Sandy swamped it.
     
Boats packed with tourists returned to Ellis Island for the first time since Superstorm Sandy damaged the historic site a year ago.

Ryan McGuire, a tour guide from Canada, was happy to be on the very first boat.

“We didn't think we'd get a chance to set foot on the island but now that it's open, it worked out really well,” said Ryan McGuire, Canadian tour guide.

Ellis Island and neighboring Liberty Island needed about $77 million dollars in repairs after last October's storm sent a wall of water slamming into New York Harbor.

Boats packed with immigrants made Ellis Island the busiest point of entry to the United States from 1892 until 1954.

“This place was totally devastated. The grounds were destroyed, our infrastructure was completely
Destroyed,” said David Luchsinger, Ellis Island Superintendent. “This is a great day.”

The main floor of the Ellis Island museum is now open. And there's plenty for visitors to see, like this vintage steamer trunk and luggage. Many items were donated after the storm hit.

More than one million photographs and other artifacts are still being stored in temperature-controlled vaults in Maryland while buildings are fixed and upgraded.

It will be several months before the 27 acre property is fully restored.

Monday is the 127th birthday of the Statue of Liberty which is just a short ferry ride from Ellis Island.
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