Governors Island is a 172-acre island in New York Bay just to the south of Manhattan Island in New York City. Although the Lenape likely visited the island, the absence of supplies of fresh water made it inadequate for long term residence. The first permanent European settlement was made by the Dutch West India Company in 1624. The island was officially acquired by the British in 1698 and later designated as belonging to "His Majesty's Governors," yielding the name Governors Island.
The island's location in the harbor gave it strategic military importance and it was fortified by Continental troops in 1776 before falling to the British. Fort Jay was completed in 1798 and deterred the British from attacking the city during the War of 1812. The Army established a major arsenal on the island in 1833 and although advances in naval armaments reduced its tactical importance, the island remained an important military base through the second World War. In 1966 the base was transferred to the Coast Guard, and finally decommissioned in 1996.
After years of debate about options for redeveloping the decaying facility,, it was finally transferred by the Federal government to New York State in 2003 for one dollar. 22 acres of the island were designated the Governors Island National Monument with plans to convert the rest of the island into a public park with some private development.
I visited the island in August of 2010 just before moving out of the city. This photo tour approximately follows a counter-clockwise circuit of the island starting at the ferry dock on the northern tip.
Next: Gramercy Park