Daily News from New York, New York on December 2, 1962 · 204
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Daily News from New York, New York · 204

New York, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 2, 1962
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92 SUNDAY NEWS. DECEMBER 2, 1962 o. yArtt:4.-TC J- .... fi. i : ' "... -. ;. yw.,jai -.J o 4: - 1 v ; ... ,.. r Ti-.,,, m. Wu v. (Airview from NEWS plan b)r George Million; Al DeBello, pilot) Historic Ellis Island, Where 20 Million Immigrants Discovered America, Is Now Just "Surplus Property' have tol.J GSA they will top the offer of D'Amato ami Doudt. whose firm ia called the Damon, Doudt Corp. A croup of British investors and a Greek combine have sounded out GSA on separate commercial ventures. At the same time, other groups are urging Congress to make the island available to them for such worthy, public-spirited projects as housing for the aired, a training school for retarded children, a liberal arts college, an international university, a museum showing the accomplishments of immigrants, and erection of a tower dedicated to peac and in-terfaith understanding. Ironically, no federal or state agency seems to want Uncle Sam's most sacred white elephant for anything, mainly because of its isolation. It lies next to Liberty Island, where the Statue of Liberty stands, and is only a fifth of a mile off the Jersey City docks. So far, officials have- rejected plans to use it as a narcotics addiction treatment center r a college. Oite tig it crrtaim. Tkt Srnafr Sfhmm m ittrt mn Jnter-eorrrvmrntal Ma f ions ts nof gm9 tn treat Ellim Itlan.t as jnnt nattier piece f real etmte. t fr InaekeJ if f9 fi higkrtt fciaVfer. Xeitker it Co-grett. irkieh mag fmang t tffe; Uy MICHAEL IACHETTA TKiIlT now, Ellis Island is a ghostly huddle of 3-5 red brick buildings stand-ing on 27.5 acres in New York's upper bay about a mile south of the Ilattery. The United States government values it at $6.3 million. Little moves there except the wind, which whistles f through the Ware trees ami stinjfs the faces of two General Service Administration guards who patrol the island with a watchilojj. Teeming immitrrants. who found Ellis Island the Rate-way to America for 62 years, don't pass that way any more. Its past makes it a beloved relic a shrine for millions of today's Americans. But what shoul.I its future le? Saaf Uait to Consider fNTs Foto Ikmrsdaf A hearing will be held in New Yurk on Thursday by a Senate subcommittee to consider this question, which has gone unanswered for more than six years. Bernard L. Boutin, bos of the General Service Administration, which handles disposal of such "surplus property." has tacitly promised to wait for some "advice or direction"" from Congress. But he cant wait much longer. Time is running out for at least on offer. A couple of New York radio-TV executives. If. Jerome D'Amato and Klwood Doudt. have offered $2.1 million for the island. They hope to build a $100 million "dream city of the future" in the hap of a key. as envisioned by the late Frank Lloyd Wright. Their offer expires Dec. 15, unless extended. Officials of neighboring Jersey City have eprrsjted interest in buying the island for aveln-nsent as a "residential and cultural center." rVUateiy." they Sen. Edmund S. Muskie (D-Maine) is chairman of the SLitH-i)iunuttee. Among the witnesses at its first hearing in Washington on Sept. 2i was Sen. Jacob Javits (R-N.Y.). "My own parents and the parents of millions of other Americans came through Ellis Island and Castla Garden, as it was then railed, at the foot of Battery Park," said Javits. Morris and Ida Littman Javits were immigrants from what is now Israel, he explained. "I share that special interest in the island," put in Chairman Muskie. "My own father came through it 59 years ago from Poland." Would Turn Island Over To a Golden Age Group Sen. John J. Sparkman (D-Ala.) has introduced three bills to turn the island over to the Ellis Island Golden Age Center, Inc.. a nonprofit organization sparked by Theodore Granik, lawyer and radio-TV producer. That group would build apartment houses for "middle income elderly persoos. At "least half of tho tenants would b single or married persons 62 years old, or over. There would also be a museum, with a model of the old Ellis Island, a collection of history books and other relics. Sen. Muski promises to keep an open mind until after the heariiikx " THE first immigrants passed through Ellis Island on Jan. 1, lrtyi. In the beginning they came from the north of Europe. Then the urge to migrate to the U.S. swept down through the middle of the continent to the Mediterranean basin. Between 1900 and the outbreak of World War I. a period of 14 years, more than 13 million immigrants entered the U.S., and 70- of them were processed at Ellis Island. First and second class passengers were examined by health and immigration officials who boarded incoming vessels in the harbor. But the third class travelers, mostly immigrants, were crowded on covered barges and taken up the bay to Ellis Island. Most of them came with the wildest ideas of freedom and gold in the streets: their pockets rarely contained more than $5. Almost invariably, they clutched their heirloom featherbed wrapped about a precious pair of candelabra. Their other possessions were usually strapped to their backs. Around them twirled excitement in 40 languages. There were Albanians wearing long petticoats; Savoyards and Italians with voluminous velvet trousers fastened at the ankles. Tyrolese smoked pipes 2 feet long; Creeks from Corinth wore white woolen shirts. Ther were Turks in red feiies. Zouave in baggy red pantaloons, and men from Sicily and Calabria looking as though they had just .stepped rT the stage after a performanca of "Cavelleria. Rusticana." They were herded in a great steel sired till their tora cam to- enter the Administration Building. While they waited, they played accordions, harmonicas and zithers. Tu-o long lines shuffled pat medical inspector$. The doctors stinnl at the point where the line made a turn to they could get a front, side and Year view of each alien. Usually, if the alien mads it to the ed of the line, he was i". On a typical day. as many as S.oon beH'ilderrd potential citizens were checked through. Those first immigrants took examinations consisting of 38 questions. The test lasted about two minutes. About 99 gave acceptable answers about age, placa of birth, marital status and destination. Then each was tagged with a numbered ticket indicating the railroad line which would take him to his new home. Some arrivals were loaded onto ferries which dumped them at tha right terminal. Ticket System Effective But ... So it was that 25 Italians bound for Amsterdam Ave., New York City, wound up in Amsterdam, N.Y An Irish street car conductor, a comparative newcomer himself, finally realized that a Greek who kept repeating ' Detra Mich"' was trying to get to Detroit, Mich. Usually, though, the ticket system worked surprisingly well. All this happened during an era that was a buyer's market for a country looking for citizens. But gradually the ground rules fo- admission stiffened. Congress passed the first general admission tax on Aug. 3, IRK. But it imposed a head tax of only 50 cent anV barred convicts, mental to-

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