Updated: Jan 28
Near Castle Clinton, formerly Castle Garden, in Battery Park, New York City, stands a stirring memorial called "The Immigrants 1973". It is a memorial to the immigrants arriving at Castle Garden prior to the opening of Ellis Island in 1890.
In this scene we see weary and afflicted immigrants from various eras arriving off the boat. At the head of this diverse group, we see an Eastern European Jew, barefoot and crawling with an outstretched hand. Behind him, a young man and his bride look up, possibly at the flag (or to God), hoping for a better life for their newborn child. They are the only ones wearing shoes. A muscular man holds his hand over his face, either fighting back tears or seasick from the voyage as he holds on to the young man in front of him. Beside him, a priest, perhaps Russian Orthodox, holds his hand to his heart and carries his suitcase at his side, also looking up in the same direction as the young couple. Behind the priest, an African slave rejoices with broken chains still around his wrists. Finally, a Christian woman on bended knee in prayer, presumably giving thanks for a safe landing. Each life is a story and this scene reflects scenes familiar to many of our ancestors.
The sculpture was commissioned by Samuel Rudin (1896-1975) in the early 1970s in honor of his parents, who had immigrated to America in 1883. The work is credited to Frank Luzi (Architect), and Luis Sanguino (Sculptor). It was completed in 1973 and dedicated in 1983.
The red granite base of this bronze sculpture measures 8' x 17' 7" and the statue stands over 10' tall.
The inscription at the base reads as follows:
DEDICATED TO THE PEOPLE OF ALL NATIONS
WHO ENTERED AMERICA THROUGH CASTLE GARDEN
IN MEMORY OF SAMUEL RUDIN
WHOSE PARENTS ARRIVED IN AMERICA IN 1883
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This is part of my new Ancestor Trails series, visiting the places my ancestors lived. Subscribe to my blog for free updates!