Seeing the Statue of Liberty as we were approaching New York Harbor was indeed an amazingly awesome sight. It held a promise of freedom; it was welcoming us. We land and were taken to Ellis Island. None of us spoke English, and it was scary.
The event marked the completion of the Peopling of America Center, the formal post-Sandy re-opening, the bestowal of Family Heritage Awards to Diane von Furstenberg, Patti LuPone and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and the naturalization of eight new American citizens. Following are a few highlights.
It is estimated that nearly half of all Americans can trace their family history to at least one person who passed through the Port of New York at Ellis Island. From 1892 to 1954, when Ellis Island was operating as an immigration station more than 12 million immigrants entered its halls.
Nothing defines a city better or more powerfully than the people who live and interact within it. The simple acts of residents going about their daily lives give a city its flavor, its personality, its appeal, its uniqueness. This couldn't be any truer for New York City.
Colicchio's family includes a total of 12 immigrants -- eight of whom came through Ellis Island, three more who entered via New York earlier (one just four months prior to its opening), and a solitary ancestor who opted for Philadelphia.
You may think, hey, I know my oysters. There's big ones, little ones, briny ones, sweet ones, West Coast, East Coast. I even know a few names -- Wellfleet, Kumomoto, Bluepoint, and, um, did I say Wellfleet?
Every few years I get the urge to dabble in genealogy. And every few years it gets a little easier. In the early 90's it was Family Tree Maker, replete with multiple floppy disks. Ship manifests and census were just becoming available digitally. Not for the faint of heart.
There's been quite a fuss about a nationalistic, Russian beer commercial David Duchovny made not long ago -- especially given that he recently discovered that his roots are actually in Ukraine. For obvious reasons, this is less than ideal timing.
Although members of Congress and the president are professing to pursue a humanitarian response to the border crisis, the proposed solutions often undercut the very protections that children have in current law in order to have the Border Patrol expedite their deportation back to Central America.
Those who love "The Boss" or are intrigued by family history will appreciate this charming video of Bruce Springsteen accepting the Ellis Island Family Heritage Award with his mother and her two sisters.
In all the fulminating going on about the children in the current border "crisis," there is one problem I have yet to hear addressed, by either side in the debate. Mostly, I suspect, because it would cost a lot of money to fix.
The Immigrant stands as a reminder that, while we have come so far in this nation of immigrants, we have still farther to go to live up to the promise of Emma Lazarus' poem inscribed beneath the broken chains on the pedestal where Lady Liberty stands in New York Harbor.
While not perfect, it is more than just a feel-good sports movie about overcoming obstacles (though it is, in fact, that). Million Dollar Arm is less a movie about sports (in this case, baseball) than a film about one man's transformation from sports agent to human being.