Monday, September 29, 2014

Governors Island (Part Five)

If you are thinking of visiting the island, the month of September is probably the best time to skim on over.
Every weekend in September (for the past seven years), the island has held the Governors Island Art Fair, organized by 4heads.
Here are a few of the artist's work I admired from the last two years. Click on the images for larger view, or the name of the artist to visit their website.

The 2014 Art Fair

Daniel Baltzer and Mike Glass (with live gerbils)

Thomas Nousias (no website)

Jackie Mock (one of my favorites)

A few other artists I enjoyed this year, but did not photograph were Laurent Fort (who works with reflective light), Aldo Caredda (whose fingerprint work is rather small), the rain forest installation by Chaney Trotter, and Aaron Taylor Kuffner (the piece had as much to do with sound as it did with sight).

The 2013 Art Fair

As usual, I had a great time on the island, and took pictures of much more besides art.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Governors Island (Part Four)

As promised, with no history, and just this brief introduction - ladies and gentlemen - I give you…
Drum roll, please.
Photographs of the nightmare fuel - or daydream diesel to others - that is the Governors Island Children’s Fair and Carnival.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Governors Island (Part Three)

In Part One, I covered the more widespread details of the Governors Island, and here, as in Part Two with Castle Williams, I will be going into the specifics of one landmark on the island.
As I mentioned in Parts One and Two, this post covers Fort Jay.

Sadly, I took a ferry over, and not a plane or helicopter, so I can’t include an aerial shot of this beautiful star-shaped fort.

The first fort built on the spot was in April of 1776 for the Revolutionary War.
In 1794, the fort was rebuilt once the Brits gave up the place after the Battle of Brooklyn, but it was mostly structured of wood.
Construction on the heavier fortifications began in 1808, and was then named after Federalist New York governor John Jay.

In the 1830s, the fort was renamed Fort Columbus after the explorer, but changed back to Fort Jay in 1904.

In 1964, the Army announced it was vacating the island, taking all of their toys along with them.

The Coast Guard took control of the entire island in 1965, using Fort Jay as staff offices, until it left in 1997.
The City of New York took over the island in 2003, making it a city park, which now lets folks like me take shots of cool things like this:

Stay tuned, next week, for Part Four, which will probably be the best (and creepiest) pics of this visit!

Monday, September 8, 2014

Governors Island (Part Two)

In Part One, I had us take a visual stroll around Governors Island, while only showing general landmarks.
In this post, I’ll be covering some of the particulars of Castle Williams, which was built in 1807, under the direction of Lt. Colonel Jonathan Williams, as a defensive system for NYC’s inner harbor.

During the Civil War, the building was used to house Confederate prisoners, and later it became a minimum security prison, though the island maintained an Army base within Fort Jay (Part Three).

When landfill operations doubled the size of the island in the early 1900s, Secretary of War Elihu Root began a movement to preserve the forts and barracks as landmarks.

In 1965, the Coast Guard took over the island when the Army base was moved to Maryland, and almost demolished the castle fort, until deciding to make it a community center.

In 1997, the Coast Guard split, leaving the place rather empty, until 2003 when the National Parks Services listed the entire island as a national monument, and opened it up to the public as a park.

See you next week, for Part Three, where we will look inside the island's former Army post: Fort Jay.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Governors Island (Part One)

In NYC, there’s a small island just south of the tip of Manhattan that is also a city park.
Originally called Paggank, meaning: nut island, it was renamed Governors Island in 1784, which stemmed from colonial times when it was used as a home for New York’s royal governors.
The city provides a free ferry ride (from May through September) from Brooklyn, so I took their hospitable offer, and floated on over.

After docking, we headed over to inspect the old Army YMCA, the barracks, and the military theater, while leaving the best for last.

Walking to the other side of the island, my party came upon Castle Williams (which I will cover at length, as well as post more photos, in Part Two)…

…the old library…

…Fort Jay (not pictured, as its story is upcoming Part Three), the Governor’s Mansion...

...and the South Battery.

Next, and last up, was the creepy children’s fair, but I’m saving that nightmare fuel for the final post (Part Four) in this series.
From the boat, I waved goodbye to the shores of that bizarre little hunk of sand on the Buttermilk Channel of Upper New York Bay.
As uneventful as the trip back home may have been, while I was there the island itself was kinda thrilling.