Located at the confluence of the East and Hudson Rivers, Governors Island has played a role in the defense of New York Harbor, the city, and the nation since 1755.
Fort Jay and Castle Williams, built on the island between 1796 and 1811, helped keep the British Navy at bay during the War of 1812. Army troops mustered here during the Mexican and Civil Wars. Confederate prisoners of war were interned at Castle Williams.
In 1878, the U.S. Army made Governors Island a regional headquarters. Facilities were built to serve the military families, and the island quickly became a prestigious post. Here, during World War II, the U.S. First Army planned the D-Day invasion. The U.S. Coast Guard moved in after the army left in 1966. The Coast Guard’s departure in 1996 ended the island’s 200-year military service.
Governors Island National Monument, open seasonally, is reached by ferry from Battery Park. Visitors can tour Fort Jay and Castle Williams, walk the Governors Island Historic District, and enjoy recreational activities, including concerts, picnics, hiking, and biking.
The island affords unique and breathtaking views of New York Harbor, Manhattan, and the Statue of Liberty.
If You Go:
Governors Island National Monument is open only during the summer months on specified days. Before you go, verify that the park is open and that ferry service is available for the dates you wish to visit.