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Half of Ellis Island is open to the public. Another portion is currently undergoing renovation (though budget concerns may have stalled that). The rest, the old quarantine ward, is closed. You could certainly sneak in, of course.
[On this map](http://goo.gl/maps/Lmc6Y), the accessible section is on the right, the inaccessible section is on the left, and the bridge between them is the part they’re working on. Looks like it’s got staff parking, too.