3. Border Disputes Between New York/New Jersey
From time immortal, or since their creation in 1664, New York and New Jersey have fought over their northern border. The border between the two colonies was originally demarcated by “a branch of the Delaware River that no one could definitively locate.” This led to New York’s own hundred years’ war. For the next century, New Yorkers and New Jerseyans engaged in cross border skirmishes, including a final hand to hand combat battle in which no weapons were used but it took place on the Sabbath. The dispute ended with King George III establishing a commission, which set the boundary in 1769 at latitude 41 degrees 21 minutes on the Delaware River and 41 degrees on the Hudson.
The debate emerged again in 1998 when the Supreme Court ruled that the landfill portion of Ellis Island actually belonged to New Jersey, including a section of the historic immigration building. No wars erupted but then-Mayor Rudolph Guiliani was aiming for his own modern-day skirmish.
Also join us for our tour of the abandoned Ellis Island Hospital to learn more about the history of the complex: