NEW YORK, June 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Airbnb, the world's leading community-driven hospitality company, today announced that it will make America's Gateway - Ellis Island, where millions of immigrants passed through to achieve the American Dream, available on the site for a special once-in-a-lifetime stay. On June 29, one winner from anywhere in the world and their guest will be hosted by Academy Award® and Tony Award® winning actress Marcia Gay Harden and take a unique journey to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, learn about their personal history with the island, and be the first ever to stay overnight on a ship docked in between Ellis Island and Liberty Island, which will be decorated for the ultimate patriotic experience ahead of Independence Day weekend.
"Ellis Island holds a special place in my heart as many of my Irish and German relatives came here seeking a better life in America," said Marcia Gay Harden, Academy Award® winning actress. "Guests will have the special opportunity to trace their own heritage and experience what it must have been like to sail around the end of New York in the shadow of Lady Liberty, in search of the American Dream."
"Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty quickly became symbols of freedom and hope for millions of immigrants as they looked to create a new home in a new place," said Andrea La Mesa, Airbnb Regional Director for North America. "Ahead of Independence Day, we're excited to recreate that sense of belonging and welcome, just as our hosts do every day, in such a historic place."
The experience for one winner and a guest will include the opportunity to explore the history of Ellis Island, uncover the stories of the immigrant experience and stay overnight in the Arabella ship docked between Ellis Island and Liberty Island. The winner will enjoy a specially curated meal in Ellis Island's Great Hall with Marcia Gay Harden, a private after-hours tour of the grounds and the Ellis Island National Museum of Immigration, and a one-on-one session with a genealogist to uncover their own Ellis Island connection. That evening, the winner will embark on a late-night cruise around the islands with views of the New York City skyline before docking for the night, and enjoying Sunday breakfast alongside "America's Great Lady" the next morning.
From 1892 to 1924, Ellis Island was America's largest and most active immigration station, where over 12 million immigrants were processed. For the vast majority of immigrants, Ellis Island truly was an "Island of Hope" - the first stop on their way to new opportunities and experiences in America. The restoration of Ellis Island - the largest in U. S. history - began in 1984 as the second part of a multi-million dollar project by The Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, Inc. in partnership with the National Park Service/U.S. Department of the Interior, which included the Centennial restoration of the Statue of Liberty in 1986. All funds came from private donations, with more than 20 million Americans contributing to the cause. Today both Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty are premiere attractions for Americans and people from all over the world.
For a chance to win this special experience, visit the America's Gateway - Ellis Island's listing on Airbnb no later than June 20 at 11:59 p.m. ET and contact the host and submit a response to: "Please tell us a little bit about yourself or your family's history and why you'd like to make America's Gateway your home for the night." All terms and conditions of the contest are available on: www.airbnb.com/night-at/ellis-island.
Founded in August of 2008 and based in San Francisco, California, Airbnb is a trusted community marketplace for people to list, discover, and book unique accommodations around the world – online or from a mobile phone. Whether an apartment for a night, a castle for a week, or a villa for a month, Airbnb connects people to unique travel experiences, at any price point, in more than 34,000 cities and over 190 countries. And with world-class customer service and a growing community of users, Airbnb is the easiest way for people to monetize their extra space and showcase it to an audience of millions.