Living near New York City, but not in it, has advantages. It's like living near an ocean. You know it's there, and you can go any time you want to, and that's enough for long stretches of time. It took me over 30 years to get over the feeling of wanting to stay in NYC one more minute before going home. And I get that rush still sometimes. But I am at the stage where I know the city (as much as anyone living in NJ can), know the neighborhoods, can pick where I want to go and what I want to see, and can give visitors choices of where it might be interesting.
One of my very favorite spots is Ellis Island. Yes, it's a stop on the way to the Statue of Liberty, but it's so very worth it all on it's own. One of the last times I went there, my co-mother-in-law was along, she'd never been there. Her parents came through Ellis Island. She found the records of their journey, the ships manifest with her father's name on it, the ship he came on, she was just floored.
Sidenote: I have no emotional attachment to Ellis Island, now if they are going to make a museum out of JFK Airport - well, that would be a different story!
Just to get you to think about coming and seeing this terrific museum - the trip on the ferry is worth it alone, with the view of lower Manhattan, fabulous - I'll show (off) a few of my pictures: