• Brooklyn ARTery

    Aug. 6 Storytellers & History Day, Book Signing at Brooklyn ARTery

    This summer is the 50th anniversary of the Army turning Governors Island over to the Coast Guard, and the 20th anniversary of the Coast Guard announcing that it too was leaving the Island. Governors Island opened to the public in 2003. Brooklyn ARTery has invited former service member residents and author of The Governors Island Explorer’s Guide, Kevin Fitzpatrick, for a series of free events: Saturday, Aug. 6, 2016, from 11:30-5:30pm, Governors Island, Nolan Park, Building 10B Panel Discussion/ Q and A with Former GI residents, Service Members and Coast Guard “brats” MC’d by Kevin Fitzpatrick: Hear what life was like when Governors Island was an Army and Coast Guard…

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  • History,  News

    50th Anniversary of Coast Guard Change in Ownership

    Fifty years ago today on June 30, 1966, the U.S. Army turned over Governors Island to the Coast Guard. This step was the beginning of the final chapter in the military use of the Island, and set the stage for New York to get a public park more than thirty years later. In 1964 the Army announced that its role on Governors Island would cease, and elected to leave the Island. It would consolidate First Army and other units at Fort Meade, Maryland. The expense of maintaining structures from the 19th Century, and vast landscaping, proved to be too great for the service. The staff relocated service personnel and families…

  • Quarters 409

    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…

  • Golf Course Sign 2

    Golfing On Governors Island Saved the Parade Ground

    I haven’t met anyone who didn’t like to hear about when the Parade Ground on Governors Island was used for a golf course. Walking around it, one can still make out where some of the tees and bunkers once where. When the Island opened to public visits in 2003, there were still sand in the traps and warning signs posted around the perimeter. It must be Golf Day or Golf Week, or another made-up holiday. This week the Governors Island National Monument Facebook Page had a funny story that was attached to its history. It’s interesting because this is the first time I thought that since the Army (and Coast…

  • History

    Stories About the Buildings: Post Theatre

    With the Island closed to the public until May 28, we’ll take a look at some of the history of Governors Island. Another of the most visible of the unused structures from Fort Jay is the old Post Theatre (building 330). Its coordinates are N 40.687681, E -74.017593 and is located next to another vacant building, the YMCA. Constructed in 1937, Building 330 is a two-story theatre building faced with reddish-brown brick laid in American bond. The main block of the building has brick quoins at the corners and a slate-covered hipped roof. On the north side is a two-story gabled projection above the entrance portico. This projection has three…

  • History

    Stories About the Buildings: Tampa Memorial Library

    With the Island closed to the public until May, we’ll take a look at some of the history of Governors Island. One of the most visible of the unused structures from Fort Jay is the old Tampa Memorial Library (building S-251). Its coordinates are 40.692698 N, -74.018052 E. It’s across the street from Castle Williams. Building S-251 is a rectangular one-story wood frame structure set on a high brick basement. Building S-251 was built about 1908 to serve the needs of the Fort Jay Quartermaster for storage and as a workshop. During World War I it was used for supplies and during World War II it was the post exchange…

  • Features

    1960s Governors Island in the Snow, Painted by World War II Vet

    The beauty of Governors Island lends itself to the visual arts. Of course, photography, but also painting and sculpture. One of the first occupants of the Island after it transitioned to a public park was the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, which provides free studio space to artists in Building 110. However, there was an artist painting at Fort Jay fifty years ago. For a period of about twenty years a World War II veteran had a small studio on the island that allowed him to work on oil paintings of island scenes, all with a U.S. Coast Guard theme. This was John D. Wisinski, and his art is now part…