It was constructed between 1808 and 1811 , later city turned the area into an entertainment center with a restaurant and a theater. From 1855 to 1890, the Castle was America's first official immigration center. From 1855 through 1890, Castle Garden processed over 8 million immigrants. Yiddish-speaking Eastern European Jews pronounced it as Kesselgarden.
Among these people was Louis Rudinsky, Belarusian immigrant. Later Rudinsky cut his last name to Rudin and started with a dry goods store on the Lower East Side. The first four of his children were born in a small apartment at the rear of the store where the family lived. The Rudinsky grocery sold a lot of kerosene. John D. Rockefeller of Standard Oil once stopped at Rudinsky house and Rockefeller surprised Lewis by walking in and introducing himself.
"Mister Rockefeller I'm honored to meet you",- Rudinsky said. According to Jack Rudin, the great- son of the patriarch of the family his grand dad had enough courage to engage Rockefeller in polite conversation and asked him where he lived. "I live on Fifty-Fourth", was the answer. So when in 1905 the real estate broker advised Rudin to buy piece of real estate, a small apartment house on 54th, Luis said:" If it is good enough for Mister Rickfeller it's good enough for me" and bought the house even without looking. It was building 153 on East 54th Street. To this day the building remains a cornerstone of Rudin portfolio.
Samuel Rudin , son of Louis Rudinsky and his brothers founded Rudin Management Company in 1924 to oversee the family's growing portfolio. Now the family owns about 14 million sq. ft. in the most prestigious parts of Manhattan.
In 1975 Samuel Rudin commissioned Spanish sculpture Luis Sanguino to commemorate not only his father but many immigrants that passed through Castle Clinton. Barcelona-born sculptor, Luis Antonio Sanguino Pascual has created hundreds of important sculptures and monuments in Spain, Mexico, and the United States.
In the late 1950s, Sanguino became the youngest member ever elected to the National Sculpture Society of New York. Sculptor included in his work Eastern European Jew, a freed African slave, a priest, a worker and his family.
The inscription on the base of the sculpture reads: "DEDICATED TO THE PEOPLE OF ALL NATIONS WHO ENTERED AMERICA THROUGH CASTLE GARDEN IN MEMORY OF SAMUEL RUDIN 1896-1975 WHOSE PARENTS ARRIVED IN AMERICA IN 1883".
Although Rudin died in 1975, Rudin’s family took up the campaign to install the sculpture at the park, and it eventually was dedicated on May 4, 1983.
Lewis Rudin, the son of Samuel Rudin, played a leading role in rescuing New York from several fiscal crises. Rudin helped found the Association for a Better New York- ABNY, along with a group of prominent New Yorkers.
The association devoted itself to turning the city around, embarking on ventures that included “adopting” a Bronx school, spearheading the famous “I Love New York” ad campaign and helping to pay for bulletproof vests for the New York Police Department. Rudin became known as “Mr. New York.”He was a tireless advocate for New York City and its people until his death in 2001.
For his efforts on behalf of the city, Rudin won many awards, including the Bronze Medallion, New York City’s highest civic award, and the Living Landmark Award, which is given by the Landmarks Conservancy to distinguished New Yorkers.
The block of East 52nd Street between Park and Lexington avenues is named “Lew Rudin Way,” and the street sign hangs above the corner where Rudin used to buy hot dogs at an outdoor stand.