Inspect old tracks and the restored terminal in this 1889-built redbrick train station, once a busy and bustling transportation hub for the region.
The Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal was once one of the busiest railroad stations in the New York City Tri-State area. See the train station where many incoming immigrants and millions of other passengers set off on journeys to destinations near and far around the U.S.
Admire the building from outside before entering. Built in 1899 by leading Boston-based architectural firm Peabody and Stearns, this attractive redbrick Romanesque structure features a river-facing clock tower, arched windows, a cupola and a roof dotted with dormers.
Reflect on its bustling past, when the terminal would have been abuzz with people and activity. The station served as a departure point for travelers, commuters and migrants as well as freight trains. In the mid-20th century, however, demand for rail travel began to decrease. By the late 1960s, the building was abandoned. The terminal was damaged when Hurricane Sandy struck the region in 2012.
The terminal building has since been restored, although the train shed, which still contains remnants of the old tracks, hasn’t. Look for foliage growing up around the old railway sleepers and for vintage departure boards bearing the names of destinations across the country.
As you explore around the outside of the terminal, imagine how the station would have looked during its busy heyday, when it would have been crowded with travelers. It is thought that about two-thirds of the 17 million or so immigrants who passed through Ellis Island would have boarded trains in this terminal building.
While you’re in the area, be sure to visit the adjacent Empty Sky Memorial. At this striking structure, which is composed of two parallel walls, pay homage to the victims who lost their lives on 9/11. The walls frame views across to Manhattan’s Financial District to the site where the Twin Towers once stood.
Find the Central Railroad of New Jersey Terminal in Liberty State Park. The park is open daily from early morning until late afternoon and admission is free. Trips to Ellis Island depart from the ferry terminal here.