Last weekend, the Secret Victorianist visited Governors Island and explored the fort designed to protect New York City – Castle Williams.
|The courtyard at Castle Williams today|
|Entering the fort|
My favourite part of the building’s history was learning about the years when the Coast Guard was in residence (1966-1997). In their early years on the island, Coast Guard families brought new life to this nineteenth-century fort, as it provided a space for a nursery, meeting rooms and various clubs and studios for the small population.
It’s hard to imagine the New York
of the 1800s, so, today, Castle Williams is an oddity — a nineteenth-century
precaution against a threat that never came to fruition, a building that has
undergone transformation after transformation, tied to the varied history of
|A model of the original design|
The fort that once sought to protect the city is now dwarfed by it. It is only a backdrop to family outings, cycle parties and picnickers. This weekend Governors Island was overrun by women in pastel pinks knocking back rosé at the annual Pinknic festival, next weekend new boatloads of day-trippers will pause, read a sign about Castle Williams’ past and move on.
Which NYC spots would you like to see the Secret Victorianist to
explore next? Let me know — here, on Facebook, on Google+ or by tweeting