• Get away to Gateway, where you can camp and stay healthy with heart-smart activities. Photo by Sebastiano Privitera; used by permission.


    National Recreation Area NY,NJ

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  • Sand Replenishment at Jacob Riis Park Beach

    Sand replenishment at Jacob Riis Park Beach has begun. During this project, sections of the beach will be closed to the public for their safety. Replenishment is expected to take up to two weeks.

  • The Floyd Bennett Field Archery Range will be closed on October 22

    Sections of the archery range parking lot will be excavated by the Army Corps of Engineers, to remove defunct fuel lines. The archery range will reopen October 23.

Second System Fortifications

Castle William on Governor's Island, another National Park Service site, is an existing 2nd system fort.

Castle Williams is an example of a 2nd system fortification.  Located on Governors Island, it is now a National Park Service site.  Photograph is c. 1933.

Historic American Building Survey collection at the Library of Congress.

Beginning in 1807, incidents on the seas between the U.S. and Great Britain occurred. The U.S. response was to create new coastal defenses. This new program of defense became the 2nd system and was constructed between 1807 and 1815.

The fortifications of the 2nd system were open batteries built of earth and wood and casemated masonry structures. The primary defensive positions for New York Harbor were in the inner harbor close to and on Manhattan.

The southern New York Harbor 2nd system defenses included Castle Clinton (on Manhattan), Castle Williams and Fort Jay also known as Fort Columbus (on Governors Island), Fort Wood (on today's Liberty Island), Fort Gibson (on Ellis Island), Forts Hudson, Morton, Smith, Tompkins, and Richmond (on Staten Island), Fort Gates (on Sandy Hook) and a blockhouse on Rockaway Peninsula.

These fortifications were used in the War of 1812. The forts fired canonballs that could cover approximately one mile. An example of the enemy that these forts were built to defend against would be the British HMS Victory, a wooden sailing ship with smoothbore canons.

All of the fort locations mentioned above are today managed by the National Park Service. Within Gateway NRA, the Staten Island forts were within today's Fort Wadsworth, and Fort Gates was at Sandy Hook.

Learn more about Fort Wadsworth's 2nd system forts.

Learn more about Fort Gates on Sandy Hook.

Learn more about the next generation of fortications, the 3rd system of defenses.

Did You Know?

The NC 4 in flight.

The first transatlantic flight departed from the Rockaway Naval Air Station on Jamaica Bay in 1919. Today, it is the site of Gateway NRA's Jacob Riis Park.