The Ellis Island Registry Room recently welcomed a spectacular concert of songs from the Tony-winning and Drama Desk Award-winning musical Ragtime. We invited Sammi Cannold, the Artistic Fellow at the American Repertory Theater and director of this performance, to share details about this event, which starred Brandon Victor Dixon, Aisha Jackson, Laura Michelle Kelly, Andy Mientus, Michael Park, Robert Petkoff, Shaina Taub, and Brian Stokes Mitchell as narrator.
“Ragtime is a musical that tells the story of different groups–including immigrants from all over the world–in early 20th century America, and part of the piece is set at Ellis Island,” says Cannold. “Accordingly, this concert production of Ragtime was performed in Ellis Island’s historic Registry Room, through which 12 million immigrants passed between 1892 and 1954. By setting an enthralling American immigration story on the historic grounds where it transpired , our production sought to bring history to life. And perhaps of more importance than putting this story in such an authentic site, our team felt strongly about placing the themes of Ragtime in the context of what Ellis Island stands for.”
“So, in the concert, we specifically chose songs that highlighted Ragtime’s nuanced exploration of American identity, freedom, liberty and other themes related to Ellis Island.”
450 guests knew they were in for a unique experience when they arrived on the island, finding themselves escorted through the Baggage Room and upstairs. “Upon arrival in the Registry Room, they were ‘checked in’ at the replicas of Ellis Island’s historic registry desks. Four hundred and fifty seats were arranged to face a stage designed by scenic designer Daniel Prosky and Bestek Lighting and Staging . This allowed audience members to watch our 47 actors and 12 musicians performing selections from Ragtime’s epic score from within the Registry Room.”
A standout element of the event: “Our concert was narrated by Brian Stokes Mitchell who originated the role of Coalhouse Walker Jr. when Ragtime opened on Broadway in 1998. Stokes shared stories from his experiences in the original production of Ragtime as well as personal stories of family heritage as his grandmother came to New York through Ellis Island. Perhaps the most notable moment of the evening was when Stokes surprised the audience by joining Brandon Victor Dixon (playing Coalhouse in our concert rendition) to sing ‘Make Them Hear You,’ Ragtime’s rousing anthem that reminds us that we cannot give up on the dream of freedom and justice that America—and Ellis Island—have promised to us.”
“Another notable moment included the company’s rendition of ‘A Shtetl Iz Amereke – Ellis Island,’ Ragtime’s epic number to mark immigrants’ arrival at Ellis Island. To perform this song on Ellis Island was quite special and to me, captured the power of putting a site and a story in dialogue as only site-specific theater can.”
After the performance, audience members were invited to explore the exhibits on the island and enjoy light refreshments in the Baggage Room. The event’s signature drink, a prosecco, provided by In Thyme Catering and Evelyn Hill , was offered to all guests.
“Our team ordered chocolate covered pretzels in special ‘Ragtime On Ellis Island’ bags. They were a memorable takeaway favor for many of our guests.”
Cannold says, “It was an immense honor to perform this piece on the island. Our team is beyond grateful to Patti Golden and Evelyn Hill, Tara McGill and Statue Cruises, William Haviland and Bestek Lighting and Staging, and Brianna Virden and In Thyme Catering for making the evening possible.”
Photos courtesy of Jeremy Daniel . Ragtime on Ellis Island was sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts. The piece was licensed for usage by Music Theatre International and the performances were made possible by Actors’ Equity Association. Ragtime was written by Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty, and Terrence McNally.
We’re delighted to share these helpful and inspiring DIY wedding flower videos from the newsmaking floral company, The Bouqs . If the name sounds familiar, you might have seen The Bouqs featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, and they’ve been everywhere since!
We’re grateful that The Bouqs shared their how-to videos with us, and we hope you find them useful for your pre-wedding events, and for your wedding here with us on Ellis Island or Liberty Island.
Not only can these easy how-to videos help you create wedding bouquets, centerpieces and boutonnieres for your wedding, you’ll also be in great shape for making these pretty floral designs for your engagement party, for bridal showers, for your wedding weekend welcome party, rehearsal dinner and other events…plus you’ll have a new skill that can help you save money anytime you’d like to make your own centerpieces for a dinner party, or a bouquet gift.
Check out these DIY wedding flower video tutorials:
DIY flower prep :
DIY Centerpiece :
We’re so pleased that New Jersey Bride holds us in such high esteem, adding us to their Locations We Love list, and also naming us as the #2 top rehearsal dinner venue in New Jersey.
In the Locations We Love feature, our own Patti Golden shares details on what makes an Ellis Island wedding fabulous: “Some of the top wedding designers in the world have planned weddings here at Ellis Island, creating magical wedding scenes in our enormous Registry Room,” says Patti Golden, director of sales for Evelyn Hill Events at Ellis Island. “You get the unique option of planning custom bars inside or out—we’ve also had massive fountains brought in for a Tuscan-themed wedding—and you get the deep sentimentality of incorporating your family’s history into your wedding, inspired by our site’s history. Many of our wedding couples cap off their weddings with fireworks displays with the Statue of Liberty in the background.”
In the Top Rehearsal Dinner Spots feature, New Jersey Bride loves the idea of having a lobster bake on our historic venue’s sprawling lawns, with a scavenger hunt for the kids and guests looking at our Walls of Honor for their ancestors’ names.
Of course, these features are not just the domain of NJ weddings. Top corporate event planners in NYC and NJ have also made the most of our unique event venue in NYC for corporate parties and galas, with the same attractions available.
Contact us for more information to help you create your dream wedding on Ellis Island, or for guidance with your corporate event…both of which may end with a fireworks show over the Hudson River for a spectacular end to your unforgettable celebration.
We are very happy to share some of the details and scenes from this wonderful corporate incentive event at Ellis Island , planned by Beth Lockwood, founder and CEO of Details NYC , a NYC event planning company, in the beginning of May. [All photos courtesy of Kevin McCormick.]
“Our clients were gathering employees located in various parts of the country,’ says Beth Lockwood. “They wanted to bring their teams together, starting with a ‘Welcome Dinner’ that was memorable and unique to New York City. Ellis Island was a perfect choice, due its American historical significance, where millions of immigrants entered the US and went forward to build better lives, everywhere in the country. The ride on the ferry to the island, the beautiful buildings and views of the city skyline as a first impression on their first evening, would set the tone for the entire trip.”
“The building and the Main Hall, with its high, barrel vaulted ceilings and huge, arched windows, looking out to the New York City Skyline, is more than impressive on its own. We worked with a lighting designer to flood the Main Hall with amber lighting, creating a warmer, more inviting ambiance. With the meticulous table settings in navy and gold, and beautiful floral centerpieces, the room was transformed from a formal institution, into a gorgeous dinner venue,” says Lockwood.
“The cocktail hour was held at the entrance, in the Welcome Center, surrounded by interesting podiums telling of the history of Ellis Island and immigration into the United States. Additional lighting design created an elegant, private party experience, where millions of tourists browse during the day.”
“The band was amazing! They entertained guests with their “big band” style renditions of classic and contemporary songs.”
Lockwood mentions that the desserts were “splendid:” a duo of Keylime and Chocolate Decadence.
This spectacular corporate event at Ellis Island allowed the 90 guests to just relax and have fun, minus any presentations: “the guests were so enamored with the band, many were inspired to get up and dance! Everyone was having such a good time we hated to tell them the event had ended and the last ferry was waiting to take them back to the mainland!”
Lockwood says she greatly enjoyed “watching people have fun and really take in a one of a kind experience in New York City, the greatest city in the world, is why I built this company. After all the hard work, knowing our clients see this city with the awe that we do, makes it all worthwhile.” We were happy to provide our unparalleled views of the NYC skyline and the Statue of Liberty, as well as the remarkable structure we call home on Ellis Island, a history-rich landmark venue event that adds so much heart and emotion to all corporate events held here with us.
Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty Win the HSMAI Greater New York Chapter’s Frank W. Berkman Tourism Achievement Award
We’re honored beyond measure to have been awarded the HSMAI Greater New York Chapter’s Frank W. Berkman Tourism Achievement Award for significant contributions to the tourism industry in New York City. Our own Patti Golden accepted the award on behalf of our amazing team at The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island .
Here is the official announcement:
The HSMAI Greater New York Chapter presents the Frank W. Berkman Tourism Achievement Award to recognize those individuals or organizations that have made inspiring and significant contributions to the tourism industry in New York City.
Frank W. Berkman, CHME, was a former Executive VP and COO for HSMAI. This esteemed award was named after him because of his love for the city and his dedication to building HSMAI into the influential international hospitality industry organization that it is today.
On Monday, June 27, 2016, we present the 23rd Annual Frank W. Berkman Tourism Achievement Award to The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
One hundred years ago, the National Park Service was created and entrusted with the care of our National Parks. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated in 1886, 130 years ago. The Statue of Liberty, whose full name is Liberty Enlightening the World, was a gift from France to America in 1886. It is a major tourist attraction and one of the most recognizable icons of the United States, attracting 4.28 million visitors in 2015. Ellis Island, the portal to America for 12 million immigrants, attracts over 3 million visitors each year. Many come because the island is part of their family’s history; others visit because the immigrant experience is such a key part of the American identity. In fact, over 40 percent of Americans can trace their lineage through the Ellis Island Immigration Station. The award will be accepted by Patti Golden, Director of Sales, Evelyn Hill Inc., Ellis Island.
On behalf of the entire hospitality, travel and tourism industry, congratulations to The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and the recipients of the 2016 HSMAI Greater New York Awards of Excellence.
We share with you now Patti’s acceptance speech:
We are so honored to accept such a prestigious award on behalf of the Statue of Liberty & Ellis Island. A special thanks to the HSMAI Greater NY Chapter for recognizing us and to NYC & Company for presenting it. After all, with past recipients that include Mayors Michael Bloomberg, Rudolf Giuliani, and the Rockettes …how we could not be excited!
The timing for receiving this award could not be more perfect, as 2016 marks the 130th Anniversary for the Statue of Liberty, A Centennial celebration for the National Park Service as well as the 85th year for our company Evelyn Hill Inc. We are a third generation, family owned business, that continues to provide quality services for all cafes, retail shops and special events on the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Lady Liberty, a gift from the people of France to the United States, is not only one on the major tourist attractions in this great city, but one of the most recognizable Icons in the world. She stands over 305 feet tall, weighs in at 225 tons and drew a record 4.28 million visitors last year.
Ellis Island, the “Gateway” to America is truly a powerful experience that I bet many of you New Yorkers have not yet found the time to visit. Ellis Island has a special meaning to all …… Especially me. That is where I met my Husband Dan 17 years ago.
This amazing museum draws an estimated 3 million visitors each year. Most coming to retrace the history of their families and celebrate their American Heritage. After all – especially in NY – we are all immigrants – aren’t we? In fact, over 40 percent of all current US citizens can trace at least one of their ancestors to Ellis Island. The National Park Service has done an incredible job in telling the Ellis Island Story with their many exhibits and galleries. SO Join our huddled masses and catch that ferry from Battery Park for an experience you will always remember.
And for those of you that are not aware these National Monuments are available for exclusive use in the evening for your next special event. I can’t think of another venue that can surpass the views of our spectacular Manhattan Skyline.
Thank you again for this honor. We will continue our standards of excellent service in this “The Greatest City in the World”… and continue to make you proud.
We’re thrilled to be recognized for all of our team’s efforts on your behalf as well as on behalf of NYC tourism, and we look forward to welcoming your event, as well as each of your corporate event, wedding and special event guests, to our shores for your unforgettable celebration.
We were honored to once again welcome the stellar recipients of the Ellis Island Medals of Honor as Ellis Island played home to the 30 th anniversary grand celebration of this highly esteemed event in May. Otto Coca, Director of Media Communications for NECO – The National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations says, “The Ellis Island Medals of Honor recognize American citizens, both naturalized and native-born, for their commitments to our country. We seek out those who embody the American Dream, while keeping close ties to their country of heritage. We named our Medal after Ellis Island as the Island is beloved and recognized throughout America and around the world as a symbol of hope, opportunity and the promise of freedom. There is no better place for our event than Ellis Island.”
We thank KJM Photography for these fantastic images from the event.
As our honored guests and their family members arrived by ferry at our Ellis Island event venue, they were greeted by dazzling entertainment…
…And welcomed by members of our United States military. 100+ Armed Forces participants represented all five branches of the military.
“The Great Hall was decked out in gold and rose tones, from lighting to table settings. It gave the evening a truly unique and elegant look for the event,” says Coca, who says that our own Patti Golden of Evelyn Hill, is “an important part of our event,” again working to coordinate the many facets of this charity gala at our NYC event venue.
“The Great Hall was decked out in gold and rose tones, from lighting to table settings. It gave the evening a truly unique and elegant look for the event,” says Coca.
“We had the 82nd Airborne Division All-American Chorus from Fort Bragg, N.C. perform in our opening presentation,” and the Liberty Belles graced us with their dazzling, energetic performance.
Our 700 guests enjoyed a full service dinner, catered by Evelyn Hill Inc . and Great Performances “Serving a full dinner service to 700 guests on Ellis Island is daunting, but we are delighted in the service and attention the staffs of Evelyn Hill, Inc and Great Performances provided,” says Coca who named the cheesecake with blueberry compote and a soufflé-like ‘Chocolate Heaven’ as standout dessert dishes. “Several family groups took advantage of a photo room and step-n-repeat we set-up in one the museum exhibit rooms.”
Among the recipients of the 2016 Ellis Island Medals of Honor were former Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, Padma Lakshmi, Tony Orlando, WPIX News anchor, Tamsen Fadal, ABC weatherman, Bill Evans, the legendary NCAA head baseball coach Augie Garrido, Wendy’s Restaurants co-founder, I. Lorraine Thomas. 10-time Emmy Award winner from the WPIX-NY, Marvin Scott, returned as our Master of Ceremonies. See the complete list of 2016 Ellis Island Medals of Honor recipients here.
Coca mentions one of the notable award presentations: “We recognized Beriska von Mandl and her son, Anthony von Mandl as International Medalists. They are both Canadian citizens. Ms. v. Mandl immigrated through Ellis Island in 1933, escaping the war in Europe. This was the first time she returned to Ellis Island since then and she proudly turned 100 just days before our event.”
The 2016 Ellis Island Medals of Honor celebration was capped off by a spectacular fireworks show. “As we departed for Battery Park, our guests enjoyed a 10-minute fireworks spectacular designed and executed by the legendary Grucci family,” says Coca.
Coca notes the following vendors for their excellent work on this event: “Ronnie Davis of Ronnie Davis Productions , the special events division of NYC events company Great Performances . Robyn Henry of NYC event company Production Glue , who works closely with Ronnie, was our Event Management lead. William Haviland of Bestek has provided us with over a decade of service and support in lighting, sound, and stage design. Rocky Sconda of Main Attractions www.mainattractions.com, has done our tent design and set-up for years.
We applaud the good works of the 2016 Ellis Island Medals of Honor; their presence at our historic landmark venue showed the best of so many different fields, and the beauty of family as our recipients’ loved ones glowed with pride at each medal recipient’s big moment. We also thank the many admirable and esteemed NYC event professionals who worked tirelessly to make this event a truly unforgettable and awe-inspiring experience for all.
Visit the full Image Gallery here .
Sneak Peek of Ellis Island Fireworks by Bay Fireworks to Cap Off Your NYC Corporate Event or Wedding
A NYC corporate event or wedding held on Ellis Island can end with a spectacular fireworks show glittering over the Statue of Liberty and the Hudson River. Your guests will be mesmerized by the spectacle, and your fireworks show is the perfect way to make an amazing last impression for your event. In the coming weeks, we’ll share some of the most memorable NYC fireworks displays put on by Bay Fireworks . The photos here, from Bay Fireworks, are our sneak peek at what’s to come.
Contact us to plan your NYC corporate event or wedding, and we’ll help you end it with a fabulous fireworks show for all to enjoy.
Airbnb’s ‘Night At America’s Gateway’ Contest at Ellis Island With Academy Award Winner Marcia Gay Harden
Airbnb’s ‘Night at America’s Gateway’ contest provided the winner with a once-in-a-lifetime experience at one of the most iconic locations in the world: Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. Within this awe-inspiring experience was the opportunity to dine with Academy Award Winner, Marcia Gay Harden, in our Ellis Island Registry Room as one of the highlights of the event. We’re so thrilled to share images and details from the winners’ experiences at our unique NYC venue, and we thank Airbnb , professional photographer Mark Wickens , and Civic Entertainment Group for providing us with the fabulous details from this very special and unforgettable event at Ellis Island and Liberty Island.
We thank Mark Wickens for all of these wonderful photos.
Airbnb’s ‘Night at America’s Gateway’ contest winners Robin and Courtney, who are mother and daughter, began their patriotic adventure on a June afternoon, checking into the luxury yacht Arabella, which would be their ‘home’ during this 2-day experience. The interior and the exterior of the yacht were decorated with patriotic and homey touches, in suitable Airbnb fashion of quality design feel.
Early that evening, Robin and Courtney were led on a personal 2-hour tour of the Statue of Liberty with Matthew Baker, President of the Guides Association of New York City, treated to Mr. Baker’s fascinating information about the Statue of Liberty and Liberty Island. The winners were led to one of our normally inaccessible private docks, which was styled to look like a personal backyard complete with an umbrella-shaded table, hammock, seating and grill. A maître d’ attended the duo, who enjoyed music, finger foods and a champagne toast as they enjoyed the breathtaking views from Liberty Island. The winners then sailed via a private ferry past the gorgeous NYC skyline to Ellis Island.
Robin and Courtney then changed for dinner inside the Great Hall, where they met Academy Award Winner Marcia Gay Harden, host of the Airbnb contest for a private dinner with the star in our historic venue.
Genealogist Catherine Daly, director of the American Family Immigration History Center, Mr. Baker and Airbnb representatives also joined the group for scintillating conversation about the historical context of Ellis Island, and a personally-curated dinner menu created by our own Patti Golden, which included dishes of international flair, such as Moroccan vegetable tagine, tomato and mozzarella panzanella, Tuscan kale with roasted mushrooms, Insalata di Frutti di Mare (shrimp, scallops and hearts of palm,) and international breads with hummus. This unforgettable dinner at which the winners, host and media were surrounded by stellar achievers and knowledgeable experts was a highlight of the event, which continued to a private after-hours tour of Ellis Island and the chance to explore some of the winners’ and host’s family history.
Prior to the event, Robin and Courtney sent some of their ancestor information and photos to genealogist Daly, who guided them in further genealogical research in the Ellis Island research center. The group became so entranced by this portion of the evening, delving into their most fascinating family history, that they opted to spend most of their time in the research center.
At the close of this ‘Night at America’s Gateway’ experience, the guests returned to the Arabella for a midnight leisurely cruise around Manhattan, perfectly paired with champagne and fruit for a midnight spread before the winners turned in for the night aboard the luxury yacht. In the morning, they enjoyed a light breakfast on deck, then returned to Liberty Harbor Marina in Jersey City where they were interviewed and photographed by the New York Times.
NYC corporate events and weddings get up-close and personal with Lady Liberty when your event takes place on Liberty Island , a unique event venue for a one-of-a-kind experience at one of America’s most recognized and meaningful symbolic locations – The Statue of Liberty.
Lady Liberty’s home becomes a corporate event planner’s dream come true with the opportunity to hold a cocktail party outdoors on the grounds just steps away from the Statue of Liberty, providing an unparalleled selfie opportunity for each and every guest. Consider an outdoor reception, or hold your corporate event or wedding inside our clear custom tent created to your specifications, with clear views to the sky and sunset.
Corporate event and wedding guests are free to wander the grounds of Liberty Island, viewing our Walls of Honor and perhaps spotting their own ancestors among the names of honored citizens. And your own company’s founders’ names may be among them. National Park rangers may lead groups on walking tours as well, and child guests may embark upon a fascinating scavenger hunt.
Corporations with global reach are especially interested in the deep meaning and significance of this gateway to the New World, through which their founders may have taken their first steps on the path to creating their company and legacy. The worldly feel of our historic NYC event venue adds an awe-inspiring depth to any event held here with us on Liberty Island.
Of course, you’re not just limited to Liberty Island for your corporate event, wedding or celebration. You may plan for your event to encompass both Liberty Island and Ellis Island , with perhaps a cocktail party held on Liberty Island, followed by a quick ferry ride through the New York Harbor to Ellis Island, where your corporate dinner or wedding reception may take place.
And the ultimate ending to any NYC corporate event or wedding is a fireworks show over the harbor, a majestic and breathtaking close to your fabulously successful and unforgettable event.
Both islands have a capacity of 25 to 1,200 people, making an event entirely realistic for your event’s guest list.
Contact us for more information on corporate events and weddings on Liberty Island and Ellis Island.
We’ve been home to some of the most spectacular corporate events NYC has ever seen, most transforming our historic NYC venue into magical and exotic lands, and many lighting up the sky with jaw-dropping fireworks shows as a surprise to thrilled corporate party guests.
With corporate parties so elevated by a sensational party theme, we’ve collected some of the top corporate party themes for 2016 to help inspire your event.
What can a themed corporate event accomplish for your company? Besides rewarding your employees and their families with a standout celebration, your themed corporate party may just catch the eye of event industry award judges, such as the International Special Event Society’s Esprit Awards . We looked at the 2014 ISES Esprit Award winners list and spotted some fabulous, award-winning corporate party themes. Winning the award for Best Corporate Event Under $75,000 was a ‘Zombie Olympics’ event by Corporate Events Unlimited . Winning several awards, including Best Corporate Event over $150,000, Best Event Photography and Best Technical Production, was ‘A Night in Oz’ for West Jet Airlines . Both celebrations had engaging themes that added panache through every detail.
Even if you’re not interested in winning awards for your corporate party, and international attention for your company or charity, you’ll be inspired by these top corporate party themes for 2016:
- New Orleans
- Arabian Nights, with vivid colors, belly dancers and a Moroccan tea bar
- Wild West
- And of course, a Big Apple/NYC-themed party that ties in our NYC location and the non-stop energy of the city, a welcome theme for corporate party guests who have flown in for the celebration.
- 1950s sock hop
- 1960s boho
- 1920s/1930s speakeasy style
- James Bond
- Wizard of Oz
- Cirque du Soleil
- Academy Awards
- Old Hollywood
- The Walking Dead
- A Night in Casablanca
- Dr. Zhivago winter theme with Russian food served Russian style, and snowy, icy white décor
- Magic Garden or Garden Splendor
- Eco-Wonderland, fitting for our Ellis Island location, since we’re renowned for our award-winning eco-friendly policies and energy efficiency
- Black-and-White Ball
- Your corporate brand’s colors, made memorable by your event planners’ creative edge and spectacular lighting effects
In addition to these, one of the top corporate party themes is Denim and Diamonds, a blend of jeans-wearing relaxation with pops of sparkle and upscale brilliance in the party’s design.
Also taking advantage of our Ellis Island and Liberty Island inside-outside venue capabilities is the top theme of Under the Stars, such as a cocktail party and outdoor movie night, outdoor table settings and dance floor, for a celebration under the stars and an unmatched view of the Statue of Liberty and the New York Skyline.
We’re happy to help you plan your corporate event at Ellis Island or Liberty Island, making your celebration unforgettable. Contact us to get started.