Monday, June 30, 2014

Gateway To American - Fort Wadsworth, Staten Island

Hello hello blog readers!

As I mentioned yesterday we spent our day yesterday on Staten Island at Fort Wadsworth checking out some American history! Truthfully there isn't a ton to do in New Jersey and we lived in New York before so when it comes to new things we are a little limited. We didn't feel like going into the city this weekend.. the subway is much less appealing when its hot as hell out and you know because its a weekend its going to be PACKED, and we just had nothing we cared to do in Manhattan so we decided to actually get in the truck and go somewhere!

Jason had looked up Fort Wadsworth a couple of weeks ago and although we didn't plan to go this weekend we thought on Sunday it might be a good day for it. I am a history buff and love that kind of stuff, and Jason is a true American and loves to do anything that shows American pride so we got in the truck and headed out early yesterday morning. Let me warn you all, if you are heading there from New Jersey know that you will go through multiple tolls and one of them will cost you $13.00.. I kid you not! Jason almost died!!

Anyways it was a gorgeous day to get out and tour around, I will give you as much information as I can and of course share pictures but if you are interested in reading about it for yourself I highly recommend you click HERE.

Gateway National Recreation Area embraces an area known for over a century as the "Gateway to America". Covering over 26,000 acres, the park extends from Sandy Hook, New Jersey along the South side of Staten Island to Jamaica Bay and Breezy Point in New York. Part of our touring around included Breezy Point, we walked along the beach as well as the boardwalk, but I will get to that in awhile.

Congress designated Gateway National Recreation Area in 1972 as one of the first urban parks in the National Park System.

The United States defended its shores for centuries with a complex system of fortifications. One heavily defended area was New York City, the nations center for business and finance. The harbor defense system started in lower Manhattan and eventually extended to Sandy Hook, New Jersey. Prinipally active during wartime, New York's harbor system defended the region until the late 1900's. 

Staten Island's Fort Wadsworth - Guardian of the Narrows - guarded the entrance to New York's Harbor for over 200 years. Because of the strategic location, Fort Wadsworth continually evolved as new technology became available. From Battery Weed, the Civil War-era gun battery, to modern anti-ship batteries that services through World War II, Forth Wadsworth presented a formidable defense. Today when you visit you can see the harbor from the highest point in the city. 

 This area was really neat, although you can't see on both sides of the buildings there are secret windows where men stood on defense to intruders. 

Although you probably cant make out the words on this display you can see the picture which gives you an idea. 

This home was part of the military base, for the most part it is completely intact as it was. You cannot enter this home but you can look around. Sadly right on the front step was a dead bird that ran into the window. What are the odds? I believe that is bad luck isn't it?

The fort is right on the ocean and the views were beautiful!

There is a ton to do and see in the area! However as the day progressed and the temperature got hotter Jason was less inclined to run around and climb the hills in the heat, so there were parts that we just drove around and explored rather then got out and scoured on foot. However I will give you some information on the surrounding areas just for your knowledge. 

** NOTE: All information provided here comes from the National Park Service, U.S Department of the Interior. It was provided in a pamphlet I received at Fort Wadsworth.**

In the area you can also visit:

Fort Hancock: Sandy Hook Peninsula has long served as a site of military importance and innovative technological developments. In 1874 the U.S Army established the nation's first weapons proving ground here, and in 1895 built Fort Hancock as the outermost defense point in New York City. Over the years the defense included concrete gun batteries, anti-aircraft positions, and advanced Nike missiles. You can explore this 1800's military post, one of the best preserved in the Northeast. 

Floyd Bennett Field: Boasting its strong concrete runways and modern facilities, Floyd Bennett Field opened as New York City's first municipal airport in 1931. In the 1930's the airfield became legendary for its record-breaking flights by aviators like Wiley Post, Howard Hughes, and Jacqueline Cochran, the first female pilot to break the sound barrier. Ownership of the field passed to the U.S Navy in 1942; it was the busiest military airport in the United States during World War II.

Jacob Riis Park: In 1936 Robert Moses, the influential New York City Parks commissioner and politician, designed Jacob Riis Park with an innovative eye for public space. The city developed the site in 1912 as a public beach, but Moses put forward plans that remodeled the bathhouse and introduced landscaped walkways, boardwalks, and courtyards. The parks name is a salute to Jacob Riis, the prominent social commentator and photographer. 

Sandy Hook: New York City merchants, wanting to guide cargo safely through the harbor to Manhattan, financed the building of the Sandy Hook Lighthouse. First lighted on June 11, 1764, the Sandy Hook Light is the oldest lighthouse in the nation, and it is still an active aid to navigation. The lighthouse originally stood at the end of the peninsula, but centuries of shifting currents have driven sand northward. Today the lighthouse is over a mile from the tip of the peninsula. 

After touring around we couldn't help but make our way to the beach.. how could we not? I was really interested to see what the beach would be like down there because let me tell you, you couldn't pay me to stick my foot in the Hudson River outside of our apartment. 

Ha! Not only did I take a picture but I INSISTED we park here.. I felt like it was probably safe! 

The fact that there were a ton of people fishing and therefore big hooks swimming around in the water, I had decided then and there I probably wouldn't want to get in. 

I know it looks nice but the water was pretty dirty, not to mention this is the passage way for trash barges. 

As well, behind us the beach was COVERED in trash. I felt no need to take pictures of that but I wouldn't lay out on the beach either. 

Where the boardwalk was happened to be a little nicer and believe it or not from this picture packed full of pictures. There is a reason they call it Breezy Point as well.. it was windy as hell. 

We walked down the boardwalk and decided to get some Italian ice. Jason absolutely LOVES Italian ice and I am not really a huge fan but decided to give this stuff a whirl and let me tell you... Pina Colada with coconut flakes is TO DIE FOR! 

So that was our day on Staten Island, I really enjoyed touring around and just seeing something different for the day! I think I would say at this point it was worth the $13.00 toll but I'm not sure Jason would agree. We got back later in the afternoon and spent two hours at the pool before making dinner. We went with an easy dinner as we are preparing to leaving this Thursday morning for home and therefore we are trying to be strategic about leftovers and what not. 

I got in bed last night at a decent time, as you remember from my blog and had no intentions on getting out. Jason got in bed not long after me and all the sudden all we heard were these crazy loud bangs coming from outside... stay tuned to find out what it was...

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