• Ebony Doughboys
    News

    Doughboy Day at Fort Jay Brings WW1 Living History

    A platoon of living history reenactors will bring World War I Doughboys to Governors Island National Monument on Saturday, Sept. 17, 2016, for a free exhibition. See demonstrations and hear stories as reenactors portray famous New York regiments, including the Harlem Hell Fighters, at Doughboy Day at Fort Jay. The centennial of American involvement in the “Great War” is in 2017 and this group of volunteer reenactors will share the story of U.S. participation. Both men and women will be in full uniform and provide displays and talks about the role America played in World War I. It is free and suitable for all ages. Participants: Long Island Living History…

  • Ranger Tian, 2016.
    News

    Rangers Expand Hours, Offer Foreign Language Tours

    Yesterday the Governors Island National Monument announced it has expanded hours and offers foreign language tours on the Island. The updated calendar runs through Sunday, August 14. Weekdays * Castle Williams Bookstore open 11 AM until 4:30 PM * Going Around Castle Williams every hour at 11:30 AM, 12:30 PM, 1:30 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:30 PM, and 4:30 PM (Courtyard open 11 AM until 5 PM) * Fort Jay: Eagles, Townhouses and Big Guns at 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM, and 3:30 PM * Kid’s Program at 11:30 AM (Call 212.825.3045 or email for reservations) Saturday-Sunday * NEW! Castle Williams Bookstore open 11 AM until 5:30 PM * Going Around Castle…

  • News,  Tour

    Weekly Walking Tours Begin July 7

    To answer the demand for walking tours, they are going to be held weekly in July and August this summer. Beginning July 7, they will be given every Thursday at 11:30 AM. To attend, you should take the 10:00 or 11:00 AM ferry. Advance tickets are on sale via FareHarbor.com and are recommended, as the tours do sell out. The two-hour walking tour will focus on the three hundred years of island history. Learn about the people and stories that shaped Governors Island. Stops explore the military life, Civil War and World War I events, aviation pioneers, and even where the tiny railroad once ran. The tour is led by…

  • Castle Williams
    News

    Book Signing at Castle Williams May 28-29

    I am signing copies of my new book The Governors Island Explorer’s Guide (Globe Pequot Press) on Saturday and Sunday, May 28 and 29, from 11 AM to Noon both days. The location is a national historic landmark, a city landmark: Castle Williams on Governors Island. The fort is part of the Governors Island National Monument and is run by the National Park Service. The rangers have free tours of Castle Williams. I’ll be in the courtyard on opening weekend of Governors Island. Immediately following the book signings I’m leading free walking tours of the Island, starting at Soissons Dock, where the Manhattan ferry comes lands, at 12:15. By purchasing…

  • Civil War Weekend on Governors Island (Photo: U.S. National Park Service)
    News

    National Park Service Seeks Feedback From Visitors

    News from the Governors Island National Monument. On Tuesday, May 17, they are hosting meetings with visitors on the Island to preview exhibits and gather feedback on plans. This is a great way to get onto the Island a few days before it opens to the public, and make your voice heard in plans that the National Park Service is undertaking. The press release: Governors Island National Monument Seeks Public Input for Fort Jay Exhibit Design. We are offering an opportunity for you to comment on and to receive a sneak preview of new outdoor exhibits planned for Fort Jay, this Tuesday, May 17, 2016, on Governors Island. Participants will…

  • Quarters 409
    Tour

    Take a Free Island History Walking Tour, May 28-29

    To celebrate the fourteenth public season of Governors Island opening, there will be free history walking tours on Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29. The walks will meet at 12:15 p.m. at Soissons Dock on the Island (see below). A free walking tour will focus on the three hundred years of island history. Learn about the people and stories that shaped Governors Island. Stops explore the military life, Civil War and World War I events, aviation pioneers, and even where the tiny railroad once ran. The tour is led by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick, author of The Governors Island Explorer’s Guide (Globe Pequot Press). • See 50 locations on the…

  • History

    What Governors Island Was Like in 1890

    What was life like for soldiers stationed on Governors Island? Here is an account that appeared in The World, Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper, in 1890. The headline: “Beautiful Lawns and Pretty Homes Under Frowning Guns.” This was twenty years before the Island was expanded by landfill, officers rode horses on the Parade Ground, and there was no electricity. The unnamed reporter includes a brief history of Governors Island (not wholly accurate). Fort Columbus was the 19th Century name for Fort Jay, renamed in 1904. (Note: No words have been changed). From The World, June 5, 1890, page 3. The life of one of Uncle Sam’s soldiers, if he is lucky enough…

  • NPS
    News

    2016 Summer Guides Positions Open at National Monument

    Want to work on Governors Island National Monument this summer, as part of the guides with the National Park Service? The open period for applicants for these positions is Monday, December 28, 2015 to Monday, January 11, 2016: GS-3 Park Guide – Entry-level position for a upper class high school student with general work experience or lower class college student. The position not only is set to accomplish our summer program, but gives a good introduction and work experience with the National Park Service. GS-4 Park Guide – Advanced entry-level for college students meeting qualifications or others for education and work experience. This position is the backbone of our visitor…

  • Features

    National Park Service Hosts Civil War Weekend Aug. 8-9

    We are happy to report the Governors Island National Monument will be hosting the annual Civil War Weekend August 8 and 9 this month. The island fills with scores of living history enthusiasts that bring the 1860s to the park. The National Park Service and volunteers are joined by dozens of Civil War re-enactors in uniform. See camp life, watch cannon and rifle demonstrations, and learn about the history of Governors Island when it was an important Army post. All of the activities are centered around the National Monument at Fort Jay, Castle Williams, and the Soldiers Camp nearby. Free tours of Fort Jay and Castle Williams are offered. For…

  • From The New York World
    History

    Tragedy Avoided in 1901 Fire on the Island

    With the island opening for the season on Saturday I am ready to get out there for its 13th annual season. I am working like mad to finish my manuscript for the Governors Island Explorer’s Guide, which is being published by Globe Pequot Press. I have an incredible amount of leftover material that won’t make it in the book, so let’s look at some of it. One thing people ask when I give a walking tour on Governors Island is about fires. There have been several. I think about this, because the island firehouse was demolished for development of The Hills on the south end. (The FDNY trucks were moved…