New York Daily Photo Analytics

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Governors Island

Shrouded in mystery to most New Yorkers, Governor's Island has only been opened to the public - since 2003 visitors are permitted during the summer season (by a free ferry). This strategically placed small island of 172 acres (20% the size of Central Park) in the New York Bay is only 1/2 miles from Manhattan and half that from the Brooklyn waterfront. The island has played a large role in the history of New York - Governor's Island was the landing place of the first settlers (from the Netherlands) of the tri-state region in 1624 and has been recognized as the birthplace of New York State. First named by the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block, it was called Noten Eylant. In 1664 the English captured New Amsterdam, renaming it New York. The island switched hands between the British and the Dutch over the next 10 years until the British regained exclusive control for the “benefit and accommodation of His Majesty's Governors” - hence the name. From 1783 to 1966, the island served as a US Army post and from 1966 to 1996 as a major US Coast Guard installation. There are over 200 buildings, featuring late 18th and early 19th century fortifications, pre-Civil War arsenal buildings, Victorian and Romanesque Revival housing, as well as early 20th century neo-classical architecture. Five buildings within the Historic District, including Fort Jay and Castle Williams, are individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places. This plot of prime real estate is a huge asset, with its unique location and spectacular vistas. Yet it lay fallow for years. In January 2001, President Clinton designated 22 acres of the Island, including the two great forts, as the Governors Island National Monument. 92 acres, or about half of the island is historic district. In 2003 the federal government sold the island to NYC for $1. In 2006, a more proactive position was taken regarding development. Competitive proposals have been made for development with announcements soon ...

3 comments:

oldmanlincoln said...

Beautiful photography. Also enjoyed the read.

Brian said...

Thanks - it was quite a history lesson for me.

• Eliane • said...

Damn! I wanted to visit on Labor Day, which was the last day for the season. I arrived at 2:30pm, well on time to catch the 3pm ferry... only to read on the fence "no more ferry today, sorry". Ah well. There's always next year. OR, I think it is one of the sites for Open House New York!