The sight of skyscrapers and the Statue of Liberty might have convinced millions of immigrants bound for Ellis Island in years past that they were landing in New York.
The U.S. Supreme Court says most of it is actually New Jersey.In a 6-3 ruling Tuesday, the court settled a 160-year-old dispute between the two states by saying most of the 27.5-acre island is in New Jersey.
Ellis Island, N.J.?
That "just doesn't sound right," said Chuck Russell, 43, of Cherry Hill as he rode the short ferry ride from Jersey City. "When I think of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, I think of it as New York City."
New Jersey may get some sales and income tax revenues from Ellis Island, but the ruling probably won't mean much to the average visitor. The Statue of Liberty, on a nearby island, was not at issue and remains part of New York.
New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said he can accept the legal aspects of the ruling, but not the personal ones.
"They're still not going to convince me that my grandfather, when he was sitting in Italy thinking of coming to the United States, getting on that ship in Genoa, was saying to himself, `I'm coming to New Jersey,' " Giuliani said.
Pride was at stake more than money. The federal government actually owns Ellis Island, which was the first American soil walked upon by 12 million immigrants between 1892 and 1954.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., whose district includes the island, said: "This nation's heritage was forged at Ellis Island, New York - and nothing the Supreme Court says can change that."