"I almost fainted, because in Europe at that time the reputation of Ellis Island was terrible; that it's a dungeon and they beat people up." (Harriet Kovak)
Budapest Hungary courtesy http://egykor.hu/budapest-viii--kerulet/keleti-palyaudvar/393.
When she reached Ellis Island, the officials detained her, saying she had no affidavit. In order to continue, she would have to pay $1000. "I almost fainted, because in Europe at that time the reputation of Ellis Island was terrible; that it's a dungeon and they beat people up."
Things started to look up when a woman in a white robe with a big bunch of keys approached her and asked "Are you hungry? The cafeteria is closed but I can get you something." While Harriet did not have to pay the $1000 affidavit she did have to pay $500 bail.
Harriet had a pleasant surprise waiting for her in New York City: she fell in love. The following year she returned to America and married him. Harriet got pregnant right away and was not able to return to Hungary. Therefore, the immigrant officials refused to return her $500. Her husband, a lawyer, filed a lawsuit to get her money back. While she never was reimbursed, she did enjoy a long happy life with her husband and children.
Dining room at Ellis Island courtesy https://www.britannica.com/place/Ellis-Island.