- from Immigration
You’ve just stepped off the ferry from Ellis Island with your beat-up suitcases in hand. So this is New York City!
All around you, the waterfront is busy: workers bump up against you, speaking a language you don’t understand. What do you do first? Maybe you notice that the streets are not paved with gold! Oh well, you thought that probably wasn’t true anyway. Then, if you’re lucky, you look around for family or friends who emigrated earlier and wrote, encouraging you to come to America. Or perhaps at Ellis Island you purchased a train ticket west and need to find the train station. Or maybe, if you know no one in New York and your kids are tired and hungry and a little scared, you start looking for a place to live.
One in every three immigrants who landed in New York City during the Great Migration stayed there. But no matter where someone settled, their most important task was to find a job and a place to live. Let’s look at what life was like for the new immigrants.