• Quarters 19
    History,  News

    A Yellow House Turns 127 in 2017

    With the Island closed to the public until May, we’ll take a look at some of the history of Governors Island. Nolan Park is the gem of the Historic District. While Quarters 1, the 1843 Commanding Officer’s Quarters, gets most of the attention for its architectural flair, I’m drawn to the fifteen yellow homes. This is the former officer family housing, built between 1845 and 1902. It’s mind boggling to think how many military families lived in these homes going back to when President John Tyler was in office. Before we study Quarters 19, here is a walk through the history of this part of the island. Originally, the east…

  • U.S. Army Eating
    History,  News

    Turkey & Fixings Served Soldiers on Island in 1934

    An army travels on its stomach. Every private hears that in recruit training. But what if you were in the U.S. Army stationed on Governors Island during Thanksgiving, and not going anywhere? Army cooks and bakers were ready to serve. According to a Fort Jay Thanksgiving Dinner menu for November 29, 1934, the men ate well. The menu consisted of: Roast Turkey Stuffed Olives Hearts of Celery Oyster Soup and Oyster Dressing Giblet Gravy Cranberry Sauce Mashed Potatoes and Candied Sweet Potatoes Fruit Salad Sweet Relish Vienna Rolls For Dessert: Pumpkin Pie and Mince Pie Cocoanut Cake, Fruit Cake, and Chocolate Cake Ice Cream with fruit, assorted nuts, and mixed…

  • Ebony Doughboys

    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.

    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…

  • 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…

  • Eagle Sculpture

    5 Days Left to Vote to Save Our Eagle

    There are only five days left to vote in the Save Our Eagle campaign, to win funding from American Express to help restore the eagle sculpture above Fort Jay. There is a three-way push from the Governors Island National Monument, Friends of Governors Island, and The Trust For Governors Island to get the vote out. As we reported last month, the Governors Island National Monument is now in a competition with other national parks across the nation to try and get a piece of the $2 million grant to help bring back the historic 1790s sandstone sculpture to a better state of preservation. Out of twenty parks, only five will…

  • 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…

  • Eagle Sculpture

    #SaveOurEagle Campaign Launches at Fort Jay

    Following up on what we wrote about last week during the restoration work of the eagle sculpture at Fort Jay, comes word that the National Park Service is taking the fundraising public. The Governors Island National Monument is now in a competition with other national parks across the nation to try and get a piece of the $2 million pie to bring the sculpture back to its former glory. The eagle needs help. Yesterday the Friends of Governors Island announced that they are backing the effort: The sandstone eagle sculpture atop Fort Jay’s monumental arch on Governors Island is a one-of-a-kind national treasure and work of art, but two centuries…

  • Eagle Sculpture

    Restoration of Fort Jay Eagle Sculpture Underway

    On Tuesday I was able to get a sneak peek inside Fort Jay at the restoration work ongoing by the National Park Service to repair the Eagle Sculpture. This is the large sculpture from the 1790s, made of sandstone by an unknown artist, that is above the fort’s sallyport. It was damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. Michael Shaver, chief of interpretation of the Governors Island National Monument, led us. Ranger Shaver explained that funding for the storm repair is allowing for a master stone carver to replace and repair the pieces damaged in the storm. Currently the bottom of of the flags is being replaced. The “new” stone was…

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

    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…