Your Guide to Volunteering at Ellis Island and Liberty State Park

Below please find all the info you need to know in advance of our volunteer project on Friday, November 4. Have an immediate question? Call the events hotline at 800-985-8232.

Registration will be available on Thursday evening during the welcome reception at Planet Hollywood (1540 Broadway NY, NY) at 6pm and Friday morning at 7am the New York Marriott Downtown (85 West St NY, NY).

Registration will NOT be available directly at the worksites. If you are unable to make it Thursday or Friday morning, please ask a friend or colleague to pick up your materials for you.

Because of the nature of this event and security considerations, we will not take name changes one week prior to the event date.

// Thursday, November 3 - Arrivals //

1:30pm: Ranger led tour of Island 1, Ellis Island. Advanced signup required
Statue Cruises ferries depart from Battery Park. Please make sure to contact Tourism Cares to purchase tickets in advance. 


6pm - 7:30pm: Welcome to New York Opening Reception at Planet Hollywood Times Square - Join us to pick up your registration materials, meet your fellow volunteers and enjoy heavy appetizers and drinks in the heart of it all, Times Square. The reception opens with a learning session where volunteers can learn about the beginnings and future of the National Parks and what is in store for the next day.  Please note: Registration will be available during the Thursday reception and Friday morning at 7am at the Marriott Downtown - and will not be available at the worksites. Please plan accordingly! 

Getting to Planet Hollywood: Please utilize cabs, uber, or subway transportation to get to the Planet Hollywood for a 6pm start. Click here for directions.

// Friday, November 4 - Workday! //

7am: Drive-in Registration at the New York Marriott Downtown (85 West St NY, NY- If you were unable to register Thursday evening, please plan to arrive to the hotel to grab your materials before we depart for the ferries. 


7:15am: ELLIS ISLAND (red and green groups) departs the New York Marriott Downtown for ferry landing at Battery Park. Not meeting us at the Marriott Downtown? Please plan to be at Battery Park in the designated Tourism Cares area NO LATER than 8am.

Click here for directions to Castle Clinton, Battery Park.

7:30am: LIBERTY STATE PARK (blue group) departs the New York Marriott Downtown for ferry landing at World Financial Center Terminal on Vessey St. We will proceed to the docks to our special charter courtesy of Entertainment Cruises. Not meeting us at the Marriott Downtown? Please plan to be at the ferry landing NO LATER than 8:15am.

Prefer to drive? Click here (scroll down!) for driving directions to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, NJ - and please let us know by email that you will be meeting us directly at the work site.

8:30am: Ferry departs Battery Park for Ellis Island/Statue of Liberty/World Financial Center terminal for Liberty State

9am: Volunteers arrive to their worksites. Brief remarks and safety instructions given and then volunteers get to it!

Volunteers will be given a boxed lunch upon arrival to allow for a lunch break whenever your group sees fit! Snacks, water and all tools and materials will be available to you throughout the day.

Your TC team leaders will be wearing blue hats - they are your go-tos for the day in case you need anything!

2:30pm/2:45pm: Liberty State Park/Ellis Island ferries depart for NYC

3pm - 4:30pm: Closing thank you reception sponsored by at Pier A, Battery Park, 22 Battery Pl, New York, NY 10004

The National Park Service will be donating their time to bring our group on a guided tour in advance of the work day on Thursday, November 3.

The tour leaves from the terminal building on Ellis Island at 1:30pm.

Volunteers are responsible for purchasing their own Statue Cruises ticket to make their way over there. Please make sure to be on the 12:20pm or 12:45pm ferry to make the tour on time.

The boat stops at the Statue of Liberty first. If you wish to visit the statue, please make sure to be on the 12:20pm or earlier ferry. Lines can be long and airport style security is required, so please leave extra time!

Volunteers who are visiting or working on Ellis Island should be aware that there is airport style security before boarding the ferry. On Friday, we will proceed to a dedicated area to speed up the boarding process - but to help us out - please do not bring coffee or any fountain style drink. You will not be able to board with it and beverages can be purchased on board.

If you are taking the tour on Thursday, please make sure to leave at least 30 minutes before your designated boarding time.

AND PLEASE MAKE SURE TO BRING YOUR ID!! You will not be allowed to board without it.

Thursday Evening Reception: Planet Hollywood - 1540 Broadway, NY, NY

Volunteers are responsible for getting themselves to/from the evening reception. The beer will be cold and waiting for you when you arrive!

If taking the subway from:

New York Marriott Downtown (apprx 24 minutes)

New York Marriott at The Brooklyn Bridge (apprx 26 minutes)

We would highly suggest utilizing MTA's Trip Planner from all other locations - click here

Parking is available at public lots throughout Times Square, including a lot on 46th just around the corner from the Planet Hollywood.

Friday Morning - Work Day

If you are staying at the New York Marriott Downtown, or are staying nearby and wish to walk with us, we will depart the New York Marriott Downtown (85 West St, NY, NY) to the respective ferry terminals promptly at 7:15am for Ellis/Statue volunteers (red and green groups) and 7:30am for Liberty State Park volunteers (blue group).

If you are coming from other places and wish to utilize the subway, download these suggested directions.

We will be boarding a New Jersey Spirit Cruise boat at the World Financial Center Terminal on Vessey St and the "NPS Staff Boat" operated by Hornblower at Battery Park. Tourism Cares staff holding signage will show you where to go when getting to both terminals.

If you are making your way from another location, please utilize these maps to help you find your way:

For Ellis Volunteers: To Battery Park

For Liberty Park Volunteers: To World Financial Center Terminal, Vessey Street

If you are driving to Battery Park, please utilize public lots nearby. For directions to Battery Park, please utilize this map.

If you are driving to Liberty State Park, ample free parking is available. Please park closest to the 9/11 Memorial and Historic Terminal Building (down by the skyline and Hudson River). For driving directions, click here.

Are you a good swimmer? Just kidding :) We would encourage all of our volunteers coming in on their own to please be at the docks to meet us at the ferry by 8am.

But, if you miss it -

If you are assigned to Liberty State Park, you can take the Liberty Cruises (the yellow ferry) boat over to the island. It runs every 15 minutes and will be at the expense of the volunteer ($7 each way)

If you are assigned to Ellis Island or Statue of Liberty, you will need to take a Statue Cruises Ferry at your expense ($18). The boat will stop at The Statue of Liberty first and then Ellis Island. Once arriving to your site, please proceed to information desk and tell them you are with the Tourism Cares volunteer group. They will radio to the leader and send you in the right direction!

If you are coming from another hotel or location and wish to meet us directly at the ferry terminal, download these printable directions or,

For more detailed subway directions or subway directions from other destinations, check NYC’s MTA Trip Planner,

If you are driving in the morning of and need to register, registration will be available at 7am the New York Marriott Downtown, 85 West St, New York, NY 10006

If you are driving directly to Liberty State Park in Jersey City - please let us know first by email! Please plan to register to collect your materials on Thursday evening at Planet Hollywood. Ample parking is available, please plan to park closest to the 9/11 Memorial and Historic Terminal Building down Audrey Zapp Dr. Driving Directions can be found here.

The Thursday evening program is casual - please wear whatever you are comfortable in! It is suggested to pack layers in case the evening does get cool.

For Friday, please come wearing your Tourism Cares long sleeve shirt and bring your colored bandana. In addition, the following dress is required:

  • Long pants
  • Layers! It is November and we will be on boats - so it could be chilly!
  • Closed-toed shoes
  • Your name badge
  • Sunglasses! (some of the work projects will require them - so bring them just in case)
  • Please bring a hat in case of sunshine and again, we would suggest layering - especially for the morning as it may be cool

If you took advantage of purchasing something from our gear shop a few weeks before the event, orders will be available for pick-up at the Thursday evening reception at Planet Hollywood.

 On Thursday, we will be serving heavy appetizers and beer and wine courtesy of Planet Hollywood.

On Friday, breakfast is on your own - so please plan accordingly! The restaurants in both host hotels open at 6:30am.

We will provide you with snacks, a boxed lunch and water throughout the day.

Our workday will conclude with a closing thank you reception (with heavy snacks, beer and wine) sponsored by

A backpack will be provided to all the volunteers so that you may carry your belongings (ID - don't forget! - keys, phone etc.) with you on the workday. There will not be a secure area to store any luggage or bags throughout the day, so please plan accordingly.

What happens if it rains?

We get wet! Our work can be completed rain or shine and we will provide fashionable ponchos if needed.

We have travel industry professionals representing 68 different companies! A printed copy of the attendee list will be available at registration at the opening reception. A full company listing can also be found here

Why are we doing this work?

These are highly trafficked parks, seeing millions of visitors every year and the crews that are there to maintain them just can't keep up. Both parks depend on volunteer help to get it all done. Even if the job seems small, just know that because YOU are lending a hand, they are able to focus on the million other things on their to-do list.

What are we doing?

At the Statue of Liberty, volunteers will be mulching and raking the debris from the fall season. On Ellis, we will have more folks raking and mulching, as well as painting fencing and piling debris on Islands 2+3 (currently closed to the public). At Liberty State Park, volunteers will help clean the grounds, mulch tree and flower beds as well as some planting. All of this work will help prepare the park staff for the winter months - when staffing decreases but the work doesn't end!

Make sure you are following us on FB, Twitter and Instagram @TourismCares and use #tcvolunteers and #findyourpark throughout the workday!