History & Culture

Sunset on Officers Row at Sandy Hook's Fort Hancock. Photo by Volunteer-in-Parks Stan Kosinski.

Sunset on Officers Row at Sandy Hook's Fort Hancock.

Photo by Volunteer-in-Parks Stan Kosinski.

An expansive park with a diverse history

Gateway National Recreation Area overlaps two states and includes areas in three New York City boroughs: Queens, Brooklyn and Staten Island. The history of the park's three units---Jamaica Bay, Sandy Hook and Staten Island---has been shaped by their access to New York Harbor. They also share the story of defending America's largest port from real and potential enemies.

Beyond that, each unit has its own people, its own places and its own stories.

 

A closer look at Gateway's units

Jamaica Bay Unit includes places such as Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn, New York City's first municipal airport, where aviators such as "Wrong Way" Corrigan took flight. Military facilities at Fort Tilden and Floyd Bennett Field tell the stories of the defence of New York Harbor and the nation. Landfill, plus the insight of determined people in city government, transformed the site of a former city garbage dump into the only Wildlife Refuge in the National Park Service.

Sandy Hook Unit, home of the oldest surviving lighthouse in the United States and two former U.S. Life-Saving Station buildings, bears witness to the maritime history of this peninsula and its structures. Fort Hancock, commissioned in 1895, includes places vital to American defense through the nuclear age. You can read the stories of dozens of the people who served here through the years.

Staten Island Unit, like Jamaica Bay Unit, includes places like a former airfield, former Army fortifications and a public park created from landfill. At Fort Wadsworth, Battery Weed is one of the places where stone forts stood to defend New York Harbor. Learn more about the people who lived and worked here and the stories they tell.

 

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