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 (entrance on 45th street) at 6pm and Friday morning at 7am the New York Marriott Downtown 85 West St NY, NY (cross street is Albany).

Registration will NOT be available directly at the worksites. If you are unable to make it Thursday evening 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 after Friday, October 28.

// Thursday, November 3 - Arrivals //

1:30pm: Ranger led tour of Island 1, Ellis Island. Advanced signup required. TOUR IS CURRENTLY SOLD OUT.   Volunteers should take a noon hour Statue Cruises ferry from Castle Clinton, Battery Park. Please email Kati for details.


6pm - 7:30pm: Welcome to New York Learning Session and Opening Reception at Planet Hollywood Times Square (1540 Broadway / entrance on 45th St) -  Learning Session program begins promptly at 6pm with reception to follow. Join us to pick up your registration materials and enjoy food and drink with old and new friends! 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.  

A reminder that registration will not be available at the worksites. We suggest grabbing your materials Thursday evening, or having a friend grab them for you.  

// Friday, November 4 - Workday! //

7am: Day-of 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. A reminder, registration will NOT be available at the worksites. 


7:15am: ELLIS ISLAND AND STATUE OF LIBERTY GROUPS (red and green groups) depart the New York Marriott Downtown for ferry landing at Battery Park. Not meeting us at the Marriott Downtown? Meet within Castle Clinton in Battery Park NO LATER than 8am. Tourism Cares staff will be there with signage to direct you. MAKE SURE YOU BRING YOUR ID OR YOU WILL NOT BE ABLE TO GET ON THE BOAT!

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 on the Atlantica courtesy of Entertainment Cruises. Not meeting us at the Marriott Downtown? Meet at the World Financial Center ferry landing NO LATER than 8:00am.

8:30am: Ferries depart for worksites. Again, Ellis Island (red) and Statue of Liberty (green) groups depart from CASTLE CLINTON, BATTERY PARK and Liberty State Park groups (blue) depart from WORLD FINANCIAL CENTER TERMINAL on Vessey St.

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. Snacks, water and all tools and materials will be available to you throughout the day.

2:30pm/2:45pm: Work concludes. Ferries depart back to Manhattan

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 begins on Ellis Island at 1:30pm - volunteers must be on a noon hour ferry to make it in time.

If you have questions about the tour please email Kati ASAP. THE TOUR IS SOLD OUT.

Volunteers who are visiting or working on Ellis Island or The Statue of Liberty should be aware that there is airport style security before boarding the ferry. On Friday, we will proceed to a dedicated area within Castle Clinton 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 get on the ferry 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 (entrance on 45th Street). 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. Please be in the lobby by 7am.

If you are coming from other places and wish to utilize the subway, download these suggested directions AND PLEASE ARRIVE BY 8AM.

Tourism Cares staff will be there holding signage at both terminals - out front at World Financial Center Terminal on Vessey St and within Castle Clinton in Battery Park.

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

For Ellis Volunteers: To Castle Clinton, 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.

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

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

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 from The World Financial Center Terminal. 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) from Castle Clinton, Battery Park. 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!

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
  • Please bring your backpack to hold on to any belongings

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 or Friday morning at 7am the New York Marriott Downtown.

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 (Don't forget your ID! 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!