Like pearls strung together, Jamaica Bay Unit collects several areas surrounding Jamaica Bay in New York Harbor. It includes refuge areas for fish and migrating birds, wetlands protecting residents from damage during storms, former defense installations, beaches and playgrounds designed originally as New York City parks and the first municipal airport in the city.
Created from the city's former garbage dump, Floyd Bennett Field recalls the Golden Age of Aviation. "Wrong Way" Corrigan began his famous "accidental" flight to Ireland from here. Aviators from Howard Hughes to Amelia Earhardt touched down on these runways. The field served the U.S. Navy from the World War II-era to the late 1960s. Today, only shorebirds touch down in this former airport, where wildlife can flourish and visitors can see the clearest night sky in the city.
Feel like a day at the beach? Jacob Riis Park was designed by New York City as a park in 1912. World War I saw a change to defense needs when the U.S. Navy created a Naval Air Station, but its return to city hands saw its development into seaside recreation. Its famous beachhouse was built in 1932 and remodeled five years later. See what has drawn visitors for a century.
Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge
Created from landfill in the 1950s, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge has become a birdwatcher's paradise. More than 300 species of birds can be seen here during spring and fall migrations on the Atlantic flyway. A lengthy history of Jamaica Bay was written in 1981.
At the edge of the Rockaways, Fort Tilden serves as a U.S. Army Coast Artillery Post from World War I into the Cold War. Today it is a favorite spot for fishing and shore recreation and team sports.