Love and Lady Liberty

An Immigration Love Story Spanning Generations

All Paths Lead to Liberty

From family heritage to family vacations, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island hold special meaning to millions. For Ariel and Margie Moutsatsos, the significance spans generations.

On February 10, 1910, Pietro Vizza set sail from Naples, Italy, aboard the S.S. Berlin. Three weeks later, the 31-year-old tailor arrived at Ellis Island to begin a new life in America.

Six decades later, Drosos Moutsatsos, a sailor from Greece, made his way to Mexico where he met and married Alba Gloria Morales, a teacher. Although Mexico was now home, Drosos often remembered his days as a sailor, when he would see the Statue of Liberty as he arrived in the United States on board the many ships he worked on. He loved describing over and over again the imposing sight of Lady Liberty and the everchanging skyline of New York.

In 1986, to celebrate Lady Liberty’s centennial, Alba and Drosos purchased a commemorative poster from a café in Mexico City, gifting it to their son, Ariel, who kept it pinned upon his bedroom wall, changing its spot continuously “until it literally ended up in pieces,” the younger Moutsatsos remembered.

manifest, historic

The Next Chapter

October 11, 2015, Ariel Moutsatsos and Margie Lope began a new chapter in the family’s story with an engagement celebration aboard a private boat in New York Harbor hired by Ariel for the occasion. “I knew I wanted to involve Ellis and Lady Liberty somehow, since they meant so much for us and our families,” explained Ariel. “I told Margie that the trip was a way to remember where we came from.”

The Captain navigated up the Hudson River toward the Statue of Liberty, along the same route the couple’s forefathers had sailed as they approached New York.

As the yacht approached the Statue and Ellis Island, Ariel presented Margie with a double photo frame. One side had the words Inside is your past, where you come from accompanied by the S.S. Berlin’s manifest documenting Pietro’s arrival a century earlier, which Ariel had purchased from the Foundation’s American Family Immigration History Center. The other frame held the couple’s first photo together and the booking of the boat they were on, along with the words This is us, the present…On the back cover is the future, where we are going….

When Margie closed the photo frame, she read Will you marry me? The answer was a resounding YES. “We stayed silent for a moment watching the Statue and Ellis, then enjoyed Italian, Greek, and Mexican cuisines as we sailed throughout the harbor while watching the night fall.”

The pair married just weeks later, on November 18, the wedding date incredibly shared by both of their parents.

Today, Ariel and Margie live in Washington, D.C. with their two daughters. Celebrating family and their own immigrant stories remains important to the Moutsatsoses. “To honor Margie’s grandfather as well as my own immigration story, we’ve had our names added to The American Immigrant Wall of Honor at Ellis Island.”

They now have two American, Mexican, Greek daughters who have their own replicas of the Statue in their rooms gotten on family visits to Liberty Island.

The adventure continues!

Statue of Liberty, SOL, ferry