Exterior of restored Ellis Island main building, Island One.


Retracing the Steps of our Immigrant Ancestors

Slide Lecture

Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook

Special: Ellis Island 1978-1980
About Tom  Bernardin


Tom Bernardin, former National Park Service Ellis Island tour guide, and author/publisher of The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook, offers historical tours of the Ellis Island Museum to groups, organizations and individuals. His tours can include New York harbor, Castle Garden, Ellis Island, and museum orientation. He also helps find up-to-date information on genealogical resources, exhibits and related activities.

Bernardin's association with Ellis Island began in 1978 as a National Park Service ranger, giving tours of pre-restoration Ellis Island. His slide-lecture presentation, Ellis Island-The Golden Door led to the publication of his book, The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook

Tom is a licensed New York City tour guide and a thirty year resident of Manhattan, originally hailing from Lawrence (Immigrant City), Massachusetts. His goal is to provide visitors to Ellis Island and New York with a memorable, interesting, fun, comfortable and informative time as we take enlightening look back at our nation's past.

Here is a copy of a recent newspaper review by Jane Memmler, from the British Sunday Express, March 25, 2007. She toured Ellis Island with Tom Bernardin. (This is a large file, approximately .8 meg download as a PDF, opens in new window.)

In addition to individual and private family tours, many academic, corporate, cultural, religious, and ethnic groups have toured  Ellis Island with Tom Bernardin. Here is what some of them had to say:

"It was a delightful day, made so primarily by the substance of your tour. It was a perfect way to bring together our diverse workforce under the umbrella of pioneering Americans." --marketresearch.com customer

"Tom was terrific!! He was most informative, spoke well and held our attention. I would not hesitate to hire him again. Ellis Island really came alive, thanks to Tom." --iMar.com customer

"Tom is a great tour guide. He is very knowledgeable about Ellis Island and makes the talk enjoyable. The history is fascinating. The building is well preserved and full of interesting exhibits. I would highly recommend the personal tour guide approach." --iMar.com customer

"Tom B. took us through an amazing step back in time on our tour of Ellis Island. He is knowledgeable in his facts, creative in his thinking, and offers an interesting portrayal of what took place during the processing of the millions of immigrants arriving at Ellis Island. I would recommend this personal tour to anyone who would like to gain historic insight that cannot be derived from reading books. Thank you." --iMar.com customer

"We wanted to create a special experience for my niece on her first trip to NY...it was everything we'd hoped for. Tom was terrific---this is a slow time in NY travel and rather than face a cancellation because there were only 3 of us (he has a 5 person minimum), we asked if we could pay the price for 5 and have a private experience at a slightly different time. Because it was off season, he was happy to accommodate our request--so it was all the more special!" --iMar.com customer

"Tom was a WONDERFUL host with tons of pieces of information. Not only was he familiar with the facts about Ellis Island but he was also more than willing to answer questions about NYC in general. He brings years of experience with him and the time that you spend with him moves much too quickly. For any many times as I have visited NYC I never made it to Ellis Island, so when my colleagues indicated they wanted to go I was all for it. Give yourself time to take in what there is at Ellis Island because there is so much to learn there. Thank YOU, Tom!!" --iMar.com customer

"We travel to NYC twice yearly on business. With each visit, we return home disappointed that we did not arrange for any tours. So, when we scheduled our most recent trip, we decided to arrange a tour in advance. We wanted to see Ellis Island so I went online to gather information. I immediately found the information on iMar. I was impressed with the level of contact and interest in our visit and our guide's willingness to customize our tour. Our tour guide was extremely knowledgeable and made the tour a delight! I would recommend iMar to visitors and to locals. It was easy to arrange and totally worth it!" --iMar.com Customer

"Many thanks for the splendid and informative tour of Ellis Island. . . Everyone was immensely impressed and came away convinced that every American should be exposed to the Ellis Island experience. --The Women's National Republican Club

"Mr. Bernardinís presentation was enthusiastic and very moving....His work is a credit to the Park Service, the Department of the Interior, and to the Federal Government." 
--Representative Jonathan Bingham CONGRESS OF THE UNITED STATES

Reviews of The Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook

"One of the yearís more engaging cookbooks." -- Florence Fabricant THE NEW YORK TIMES

". . . for those who like history or who have a family link to Ellis Island, the book is a must-have. . . " --THE VALLEY (NH) NEWS
"Worldly flavors of the Ellis Island Cookbook will whet your appetite." --THE JERSEY JOURNAL
"This loving tribute to our immigrant ancestors will be of interest to historians and cooks and to all whose families came through this 'golden door.'" --ACADEMIC LIBRARY BOOK REVIEW
". . . a one of a kind collection of heartwarming stories and authentic recipes that you'll want to have for your cooking library. . . these recipes recall special memories of far away lands or of dearly loved relatives. . . much more than a recipe compilation, it is a personal journey with stories and reminiscences that will touch your heart." --BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS COOK BOOK CLUB
"Food and history combine in the Ellis Island Cookbook Taste of old country passed down in families..." --SAN DIEGO UNION
"Cookbook tale of the American dream. . .Taste of old country passed down in families. . ." --PALM BEACH POST
"Ellis Island Immigrant Cookbook provides glimpse into our culinary past. . . " --MIDDLESEX NEWS
"A treasury of recipes from the melting-pot cooks." --THE NEWS-TIMES
"Immigrant cookbook makes history, culture come alive..." --THE INDEPENDENT
"What is valuable and a joy to read are the storied of the hopeful newcomers who passed through Ellis Island. . ." --THE DAY
"Familiar recipes arrived with immigrants at Ellis Island. . . " --NAPLES DAILY NEWS
"Immigrants preserved culture with foods. . ." --RECORD-JOURNAL
"A look at our immigrant past through Ellis Island recipes. . ." --FLORIDA TODAY
"Old world flavors are immigrants' legacy to descendants. . ." --SAINT PAUL PIONEER PRESS
"For over a century, America's immigrants cherished family recipes as link to homeland. . ." --LAWRENCE (MA) EAGLE
"A history of immigrants through their recipes. . ." --THE SUN

Reviews of Ellis Island--The Golden Door slide-lecture program


"Thanks for your terrific program....The evaluations we received were overwhelmingly positive, and several people asked me if we'll have you back again. It's a fascinating and informative show you've put together." -- THE FRIENDS OF THE SAINT PAUL PUBLIC LIBRARY

"Your slide presentation was enjoyable as well as informative. . . It brought back many fond memories for our participants." --JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER OF THE GREATER PALM BEACHES (FL)

"Thank you for your great contribution...It was our best turnout for a summer meeting due, in no small part, to the draw of your lecture." --MINNESOTA GENEALOGICAL SOCIETY

"Your slide lecture on Ellis Island was thoroughly enjoyed by the senior adults at your presentation. The audience had a pleasant trip back to either their own early lives or to the lives of their parents." --92nd ST. Y (NEW YORK, NY)

"I want to thank you for your fine lecture and slide show. I loved seeing the chronology of events explained with such care and attention to detail. It was a wonderful way to spend an evening." -- WOMEN'S AMERICAN ORT (SAN FRANCISCO, CA)


For Groups Tours, please contact Tom directly at 212-229-0202 or email him at ellisbook@aol.com

Tom Bernardin

Post Office Box 1267

Old Chelsea Station

New York, NY 10113