Sunday, June 26, 2005

A visit to Governors Island

Ferries to Governors Island currently pull away from Slip 7 of the Battery Maritime Building, which is undergoing renovations. Scaffolding fills slips 5 and 6 (Slip 4 was an open-air one, and the other three are in the Staten Island terminal).

The Brooklyn Bridge and an empty helipad visible through a ferry window.

Pulling away from the dock, you can see the two terminals side by side as well as the office buildings and hotels right above the Battery.

Another view of Lower Manhattan. The ferry ride only took a few minutes.

One of the structures most visible from Manhattan is the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel ventilation building. The 1.7-mile tunnel, finished in 1950, is the longest such passage built for cars in North America.

Originally named because of its use as a colonial governor's residence, the island has been in the hands of the military for much of its history, until the Coast Guard, which had a major headquarters and training center there, left in the mid-1990s. Two prominent buildings include Castle Williams and Fort Jay, both completed around the beginning of the 19th century.

Castle Williams is visible from the Battery and somewhat resembles Castle Clinton. It used to be a particularly notorious prison during the Civil War days, but one of the redevelopment ideas on the table is to turn it into a theater akin to Shakespeare's Globe, designed by Norman Foster, who did the new Reichstag in Germany, the renovation at the British Museum and the London Millennium Bridge.

Overall, the island has a deserted feel to it -- only a few tourists and the odd security guard -- but while some of the structures are showing signs of wear, a lot of the buildings look like they were just used. Like people just left one day but kept everything as it was. The residences seem very inhabitable, at least from the outside, and there are some great views of Manhattan. Daryl said it had the feel of a college campus in summer. We were only allowed to roam around about 22 acres of the 172-acre island.

For more photos, check out Flickr. (Sorry it's brief -- I reached my free limit for the month. Maybe I'll try posting more later.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Nice shots, Jeremy!
- Daryl