Office of Borough President James P. Molinaro
Staten Island, New York
Underneath the Verrazanno Narrows Bridge lies one of the oldest military sites in the
United States – Fort Wadswoth. Strategically located at the entrance to New York
Harbor, Fort Wadsworth guarded New York City for almost 200 years.
Fort Wadsworth was one of the most important military bases in the country for much of our nation’s history. In 1995, the last military tenant, the Navy, departed and officially turned Fort Wadsworth over to the Department of the Interior. In 1997, Fort Wadsworth opened to the public as part of Gateway National Recreation Area and is managed by the National Parks Service.
Taking a tour of Fort Tompkins provides a one-of-a-kind look at system that protected New York Harbor for centuries. Walk through its catacomb-like passageways and see what it was like to be a defender in the days of old. Envision the poor souls of the opposition who would have most certainly met a fatal end if they were ever to try and force their way toward the fortresses. Was that the ghost of a solider or just a figment of your imagination? You decide.
Just down the hill from Fort Tompkins sits Battery Weed on the shoreline. Its strategic
location, which overlooks two states and three boroughs, offers some of the best views of the City. The U-shaped structure of this 4-story stronghold represents a true testament to military ingenuity and architecture. Facing towards the water, you can feel the menacing presence it caused to all those who passed under its watchful eyes.
Within the interactive visitor center you will find a wealth of information. Hear a
commander bark orders during an audio simulation of cannon fire. Imagine the wind
upon your face as you visualize being a ship passing through New York Harbor at various points in time. Learn about the changing history of artillery and various measures and countermeasures that have taken place.
A trip to Fort Wadsworth has something for everyone. Visitors can join ranger led tours, walk a self guided tour or just enjoy a panoramic view from one of the highest elevations in New York City. It is an experience that will provide a look at the many facets of the American military throughout history.
Address: East end of Bay Street, near Verrazano Bridge
Phone number: 718-354-4500
Hours of Operation: From dawn till dusk
Visitor Center hours: Wednesday - Sunday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Fort Wadsworth website:
Photo by Michael Falco