Random thoughts

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Angel Island

January 31st, 2009 · No Comments

Just to show off my ignorance a bit, the other day I was wondering where did new immigrants step off their ships when they reached the United States from the west coast.

On the east coast, immigrants at sea would be welcomed by the sight of the Statue of Liberty, shortly followed by the arrival to Ellis Island, often romanced as the entry point to a promised land of freedom and opportunity. On the west coast, I found myself oddly unable to answer that simple question. For some strange fortuitous coincidence, a few days earlier someone at The Time had anticipated the question and was coming to my rescue.

Angel Island, of course. I should take my head out of my cave a bit more often, I do live here in the San Francisco bay area! And although the name Angel Island does ring a bell, its tragic history as a detention center for immigrants awaiting approval is news to me. Nobody will find this funny, but if one compares the sight of the Statue of Liberty on the way to Ellis Island with the sight of Alcatraz on the way to Angel Island, hmmm… I wonder if that meant something.

Oh well, the museum of the old immigration center will reopen to the public on february 15th, I should pay a visit.

Thanks to the Wall Street Journal’s China Journal blog for the tip.

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