Hard hat tour at the abandoned Hospital at Ellis Island | New York

There was one place that I specifically looked forward to during my New York trip last September and that was Ellis Island. Let me tell you why:

In 2011, I discovered a bunch of letters hidden in an old wardrobe from my grandparents. Those letters, dTed 1898 to 1924, were written by someone who called my great grandfather „a brother“. The strange thing was, no one in the family had any knowledge of a family member who immigrated to the United States! Even the name was unknown in the family.

So I started to dig and soon found a still living relative in the U.S. Now, almost 7 years later, I’ve researched a family tree that goes several centuries back.

But there was still a mystery surrounding the immigration of that family member that I hoped to solve on Ellis Island. And so I did.

After I solved that mystery I took a break in the main hall of the Ellis Island museum and noticed a sign offering a hard hat tour through the abandoned Hospital of Ellis Island. Well, just as with abandoned castles, Indiana Jones mode kicked in and I booked the tour.

Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital

The tour lasts around two hours and will take you through the abandoned south side of the Immigrant Hospital that has been off limits since its closing in 1930. Because the immigrant hospital is on Ellis Island and difficult to reach, the building and the interior are still in a good condition, despite the humid climate has taken its toll.

During the tour you’ll walk along endless hallways, see rooms with some old furniture, visit the autopsy room and walk by broken windows and rusty steel doors.

 One of the endless hallways of the abandoned Immigrant Hospital at Ellis Island

One of the endless hallways of the abandoned Immigrant Hospital at Ellis Island

 If only that furniture could tell what it has seen

If only that furniture could tell what it has seen

 Autopsy room at the abandoned Immigrant Hospital at Ellis Island

Autopsy room at the abandoned Immigrant Hospital at Ellis Island

 Lots of rusty doors there. Unfortunately, the upper floor is off limits.

Lots of rusty doors there. Unfortunately, the upper floor is off limits.

 Don't even try to go up there unless you want to make the guide angry and cancel the tour.

Don't even try to go up there unless you want to make the guide angry and cancel the tour.

How I photographed inside the Ellis Island Immigrant Hospital

I kept my iPhone mounted to my AmazonBasics Travel Tripod (see my review here) and used mainly ProCamera app in low Light HDR mode to compensate for the challenging light situation in some rooms. Then I processed the photos in Lightroom on iPhone, increasing the clarity and contrast to bring out the details, especially of the decayed walls.

By moving the shadows lighter to the right, I could brighten some of the darker corners of the rooms. As a final touch, I slightly reduced saturation and vibrancy to give the photos that „abandoned look“ I like.