How did you imagine this country? Did your ideas match what you experienced when you arrived?

Visitor Voices

  1. I am a teenager whose parents were born in Ecuador, They have told me their dream to come to this beautiful country for a better future for our family. My parents escaped poverty.vI am so glad i was born here. I appreciate all the freedom we get . My parents as well are happy for leaving their own country. I just hope they are able to stay here with me, in America with out any fear of losing them.


  2. I was born in America, but I was an immigrant that was brought here by my grandparents. They were here first and when my mom and dad met, they created me. I know a lot about my German side, and it makes me regret everything about the past of Germany, but never fear, it will always be apart of who I am. I love who I am as a person, and it doesn’t matter what color you are. It matters who you are as a person in order to show your true colors.

    Jenna Staufenberg

  3. NY is such an awesome place. The only thing I dream about is starting a life here, but sadly I am WAY too young.


  4. I came to NY in 1979 from Kiev, USSR. I was 10 yo when I came. Between USSR and the US my parents and I lived in Vienna, Austria and Rome, Italy. There is no country better for Jews than America. I so proud to be a Jew and an American. All my four children are now American Jews and we are free to be who we want to be.

    David Vinokurov

  5. I imagine coming to America (must have been) very scary and terrifying. When you would see the Statue Of Liberty it would give people hope.

    Josh Scharf

  6. Two of the best people I know in the world – Roman Sverdlov and Danit Kaya – are Jewish. I got to know them while completing my studies in Boston. All I know is that their families came here originally from Russia and Israel and they’re the reason I came here today (12.09.12). This place is brimming with images and stories rich in their history, culture, and heritage. I really hope they do get to visit someday too.

    Ivan, Uganda

    Ivan Busulwa

  7. It’s been a dream of mine to live and to have a wonderful life here in America since I was in grade school, being a witness to poverty and oppression back home, so I persevere and strove hard to fulfill it. After 6 years of being an Immigrant, I fully embraced America by being a Citizen today 4/26/2012. Just believe and have faith with yourself and nothing is impossible. America indeed give me hope and to aspire more to become a better person and to become help
    to others…

    Allan D.
    Arrived US September 2006..

    Allan Danglacruz

  8. It (America) was exactly what I imagined but better. I had imagined that it would look like freedom, and it did. I was born in Russia minutes before they threw my mother and 2 sisters off a train.They had killed my father hours before.

    ludmila prakhina

  9. I am not an adult, yet I have already faced so much in my life. My family moved to America for a better life. They work hard only to find out that as much as they work they gain so little. My father does not have the best job in the world, like every immigrant he works in a factory. Yet, he works constantly, hard and for us. My family has been through a lot, each of my parents have faced difficulties in their life. I do not know their own stories personally, and although mine’s isn’t as tough, I feel that the dreams placed on me are. Due to my family’s situation is I have been forced to work hard, told to try and that success only comes through education. My dreams don’t matter, as long as I have money and become successful. As long as I have what my parents don’t.

    Astrid Kalor

  10. There’s nothing more beautiful than New York City at night. I look at the lights and always wonder how every single New Yorker is fulfilling their dreams at that very moment.
    Ariel, United States


  11. My maternal grandmother’s family came to America in 1630, but all my other grandparents were the first generation born here, two of them in New York City.

    It feels good to be a part of that, to know that my family and my country give me a strong foundation I can reach for my dreams from.


  12. I don’t have any dreams – dreams are images within your own head that you see sometimes. The idea of a dream is a romantic one, and of that those dreams are rarely achieved. Aspirations, however, are that of a more manageable dream – concise and condensed into one achievable goal, with which you follow a path that can lead you to many tangents and gain worthwhile experience for your lifetime journey and hopefully, pass this on to many other people you meet. My aspiration is to become a doctor of Sociology. My dream is that of owning a two-headed dog and feeding it on steak. There’s a difference between dreams and aspirations – dreams aren’t real.

    Andy Spiers, UK tourist, 18.

  13. We were lucky enough to be born in the US. Being in NYC and seeing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island make you think how lucky we are, and about the struggle of our ancestors to get us here. Unfortunately their dreams and the reasons they came aren’t coming alive. Hopefully in the future we can change that, for them.

    Nicolette Carty, Emily Flud

  14. Hello, my name is Michael Giansante. Born in Sicily, I moved to the United States at the age of 3. Both of my parents are Italian, my mother from Milan and my father from Venice. Growing up in the States was a challenge, as I am constantly made fun of due to my difference in culture and beliefs. One does learn to look past that for the most part though. I am currently 15 years old and attending a Vocational Technical school in New Jersey. My dream is to one day to become a successful computer programmer and designer.

    Michael Giansante

  15. I recently became a US citizen. I feel proud about it. I’m from Mexico, but I live in Puerto Rico. This visit to NYC is a totally new experience all these cultures together in one place. Sincerely this place is the most precious treasure.

    ana paola

  16. I am a 13 year old girl whose dreams are to one day travel the world, but the world and the people in it tend to shoot down my hopes with their own outlook in life.

    Gianna L.



    Rachel Rubinoff Pasichow

  18. I am an American and of course I want the American dream.

    jennie parker

  19. I was lucky enough to be born in this country but looking out over this view seeing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is to look into my past my great grandparents came here from Sweden, Germany and Italy. Seeing this view gives be my pride that I am an American and that Liberty and freedom were given to be at birth being born here. I must thank my ancestors for coming here and allowing me to be an American. I respect and feel very solemn looking out thinking of their footsteps crossing into Ellis Island and long journey and hard decision it was for them to leave. The welcoming arms of Lady Liberty have been here to accept many immigrants coming to pursue a new life just as my ancestors did. This is in honor of my great grandparents whom I have never met who came to America without them I would not be a proud citizen of this country today

    Hannah Johnson

  20. I was lucky enough to be born in this country, but looking out over this view seeing the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island is to look into my past. My great grandparents came here from Sweden, Germany and Italy. Seeing this view gives be my pride that I am an American and that liberty and freedom were given to me at birth, having been born here. I must thank my ancestors for coming here and allowing me to be an American. I respect and feel very solemn looking out thinking of their footsteps crossing into Ellis Island and long journey and hard decision it was for them to leave. The welcoming arms of Lady Liberty have been here to accept many immigrants coming to pursue a new life just as my ancestors did.

    Hannah Johnson

  21. I do believe in a country that allows people be free. Probably it will be more than a country, it will be a place that people will respect each other independent of their religion. People will only care about their values.


  22. NY is such a wonderful city. The sad thing is my girlfriend isn’t here. I dream of her coming with me to NY.


  23. How lucky I am to have been born here in a place and at a time when dream is part of my life expectation!

    carole zawatsky

  24. We are British citizens on holiday in America. Our country has suffered atrocities like that of the Jewish people. Faith in God provides hope.

    John Smith, Northern Ireland, Belfast

  25. I came here as a political exile from Cuba when I was 19 years old. For years I cried all the time since I missed my country and my father who had not been permitted to leave with me, my brother and our mother. But slowly I became a New Yorker and learned to love this country of freedom as much as I still love Cuba.

    I dreamt of freedom while I lived all my adolescence under the fear that Communism plants in you. Now I am an American, the mother of a wonderful American lawyer born and raised in New York, and I have succeeded in living in the freedom of my dreams, becoming a journalist and filmmaker.

    This is a wonderful museum! Museum of dreams, remembrances and personal freedom.

    Thank you for having it in New York


    Mari Ichaso, New York, NY

  26. I stand looking out on these waters

    thinking of

    of events

    of times

    of years, months, weeks, days, hours, minutes, seconds

    I stand looking at these waters

    imagining the

    person who stood/stands

    looking at these waters

    100, 1000 years ago/from now

    seeing the same beauty



  27. Hi, my name is Gyunel and I’m from Baku, Azerbajian. I came to the United States in 1998.


  28. My grandparents came here from small Austrian/German towns when they were young teens. I am so proud of them and what they became. They worked hard — an example for current generations who take so much for granted. The officials changed their name when they came off the boat to make it easier to understand. They raised nine children — they fought in the war and were proud to be Americans. Two became lawyers (one later a federal judge) and another became a US marshall. My grandfather was religious and prayed all day but my grandmother was the example of liberated and independent smart women of the next generations– she knew to buy buildings and opened a “mom and pop” shop (store) to sell goods. She also was a medical wonder, fixing neighborhood boys’ dislocated shoulders – and mine. As her granddaughter, I honor her memory and am glad to be the heritage of such a woman, and such Jewish immigrants.

    Dr Judy Kuriansky

  29. My Great great grandmother came here on a boat

    Had no money

    a winter coat

    the time came for her to say goodbye

    and go up where the angels fly

    but I will keep her in my heart

    because we were together from the start

    Her Yiddish unknown

    a true mystery

    I would’ve loved her

    my great great grandmother and me


    Sasha G., age 8

  30. I am Mexican I came here when I was 5 years old, about to be 6 in 5 months. In the year 1997.

    At first I was very happy and excited but, when I realized I would not be going back to my native land any time soon it turned into a nightmare and a cry for help.
    Sometimes I feel left out and helpless, but my dad tells me it will be o.k.
    Now I am l6 n I am trying my hard to fit in and make something out of myself.


  31. I am third generation American who, since the age of fourteen, has shared a close relationship with Holocaust survivors turned in-laws.

    I brought my Mother-in-law to the Opening of the Museum of Jewish Heritage twelve years ago. I grasped her hands during the ceremonies and asked her if she could have imagined this moment. Her daughter-in-law teaching the lessons of the Holocaust while her Granddaughter worked for Mayor Guliani-the then Mayor of New York City.

    This past weekend, I had the privilege of telling my mother-in-law that the same Granddaughter is about to break a New York Times Magazine story about The President of The United States and The First
    Lady…that her Granddaughter was in the Oval Office interviewing Mr. Obama with Michelle Obama. I asked her if she could have imagined this moment 69 years ago. Or, 58 years ago when she arrived in this
    blessed country.


    Wendy Kantor, United States

  32. My image of New York as a child and young teenager growing up in Germany was largely shaped by American movies and American music and musicals. It was only a few visits and history lessons later that I realized that things were not the same as I had imagined they were by watching American movies. People were not dancing in the streets (FAME), politically active hippies of the “Age of Aquarius” (HAIR) were long gone by the time I first visited the US, and the US faces problems like other countries.

    But some of my ideas matched what I experienced when I arrived here. I still love that people from all over the world live here, that all of them have different stories, backgrounds, and dreams, and that there are so many things one can do in New York.

    I.M., Frankfurt am Main, Germany, Arrived US 2005

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