- 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 bustles with activity: 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 was probably an exaggeration. Then, if you’re lucky, you look around for family or friends who emigrated earlier and wrote letters encouraging you to join them. Or perhaps at Ellis Island you purchased a train ticket west and need to find the station. Or maybe, if you know no one in New York and your children are tired and hungry and a little bit scared, you start looking for a place to live.
Of all the immigrants who landed in New York City during the Great Migration, one out of three stayed there. But no matter where an immigrant settled, the most important task was to find a job and a place to live. Let’s take a look at what life was like for newly arrived immigrants.