Monday, October 08, 2007

Governors Island

Matt and I took advantage of Open House New York this weekend and set off on Saturday morning to see Governor’s Island. Located ½ mile from the southern tip of Manhattan, it takes just 7 minutes to reach the island that served as an Army and then Coast Guard installation from 1783-1996. The island’s name stems from British colonial times when the colonial assembly reserved the island for the exclusive use of New York's royal governors.

I was struck by the fun mix of buildings. On the one hand you could see the Castle Williams, which was used as a defensive position for the harbor and a prison for Confederate soldiers, among other things. (See the giant cannon on the top of the building.) Fort Jay, complete with a moat and underground magazine anchored the center of the island.

On the other hand, you could also walk around a modern ghost town complete with churches, schools, a library, hospital, bus stops and officers’ houses. Here's the Admiral's House. (Doesn't everyone want cannons in their front yard?!) Interestingly enough the admiral's house was used for a meeting between Reagan and Gorbie in the late 80's.

A highlight for both Matt and I was seeing the remnants of the 9-hole golf course that used exist on the island.

For my part, I wish I could buy one of the houses and renovate it. Many of them have seen better days, but the wooden floors, fireplaces, moldings, and giant sliding doors between the living and dining rooms were gorgeous!

This buoy was an island landmark and a centerpiece for many family Christmas cards during the Coast Guard years when the island was the largest Coast Guard base in the world.

The island is open from Memorial Day-Labor Day and there are free concerts throughout the summer. I can’t wait to go back.


Blogger kelly said...

erin, you inspire me to actually do and see things in the city i live in.

2:04 AM  
Blogger Lexy said...

oh pocket doors, why does no one use you anymore?
you are so lucky. governor's island is amazing. thanks for the pics!

12:25 PM  
Blogger Erin said...

POCKET DOORS, yes, that's what they are called, I knew they had a proper name:-)

10:42 PM  

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