AAA Editor Notes
Governors Island National Monument is accessible only by ferry; trips depart from the Battery Maritime Building, 10 South St and from Pier 6 in Brooklyn. A 7-minute ferry ride takes visitors to Governors Island, which has a rich and varied role in the history of New York and the military. In 1624, the island was settled by the Dutch West India Company. In 1776, Governors Island was fortified by George Washington and remained a U.S. military reservation for the U.S. Army and Coast Guard until 1996. The 172-acre island, 1000 yards off the southern tip of Manhattan, features pre-Civil War arsenal buildings, Victorian-style officers' residences and two early 19th-century fortifications, Castle Williams and Fort Jay, said to be the best remaining examples of their kind.
Scheduled ranger programs and tours feature the fortifications, the landscape and the 200-year history of the 90-acre National Historic Landmark District. A 2.2-mile esplanade around the island affords views of the harbor, the Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Family, music and living-history festivals take place throughout the summer.
Note: Visitors may only enter buildings marked with a flag; buildings not marked are unsafe to enter. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended for the guided tour.
Guided tours are available.