• 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…

  • 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…

  • Doughboys

    Doughboy Day at Fort Jay on Sept 17 Honors WW1

    Governors Island played a critical role in America’s involvement with World War I. It was the headquarters of the First Army, and General John J. Pershing began his trip to France to lead the American Expeditionary Forces from the Island. On Saturday, Sept. 17, come out to the Governors Island National Monument for a day of living history that honors and tells the story of the men and women who fought in the Great War: • Full day of living history of World War I • See re-enactors in vintage frontline uniforms • Equipment displays and demonstrations • Talks and discussions on World War I and Fort Jay • Free…

  • Commanding Officer's House

    Guidebook Publishing Date Today

    Today is the publication date of The Governors Island Explorer’s Guide. I started thinking about the book in 2006, and began the research soon after. However, with all of the changes taking place on the Island, it seemed to me to wait until 2016 to release it. If the book had been published just recently it would not have included The Hills or the South Island development. The Island has had so many development changes that the book would have been outdated almost immediately. (I’m already thinking about the next edition!) A full description of the book is here, along with ordering information. The plan for the book was simple:…

  • 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…

  • NPS

    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…

  • Sinatra

    Frank Sinatra on Governors Island in WW2

    Frank Sinatra was born 100 years ago today, and the Internet seems to be going crazy about the milestone. There’s a little-known story about the time “The Voice” went to Fort Jay on Governors Island in 1945. The tale is best told on the Governors Island National Monument Facebook page, reproduced here. If you aren’t already, follow them, because there are good history updates all year long. World War II was entering its fourth year in February 1945. No one of course knew at the time that the conflict would be over in six months. The Army was still looking for recruits. In December 1943 Sinatra had been declared 4-F…

  • 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…