Located on a vantage point overlooking New York Harbor, Fort Wadsworth was built after the Revolutionary War to keep the British ships away from New York. Today, Fort Wadsworth sits below the Verrazano Bridge and is an ideal spot for touring, walking, and picture-taking.

Fort Wadsworth was built on the most natural point of defense for the city. In fact, prior to closing in 1994, it was the longest continually-manned military installation in the United States. Visitors can tour the original fort, climb up to its overlook, or explore the catacomb-like tunnels in its batteries. After a tour, explore the grounds to capture the exquisite views and natural surroundings making it a perfect trip for writer, artist, photographer, or nature lover.

Fort Wadsworth also features a Visitor’s Center, is home to a herd of lawn-mowing goats, as well as buildings that outfit the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Army Reserve. It is also the official waiting space for runners before the start of the NYC Marathon. The Visitor Center is under reconstruction, but staff is friendly and will share their resources with all visitors. In the fall they have “lantern tours” which are fun as well as informative. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy what many consider the most spectacular and peaceful view on the island.

The site is enhanced by informational plaques that explain where historic fortifications were built all around New York Harbor. You’ll see how earlier fort ruins became the foundation of the far tower of the Verrazano Bridge. Look over the edge of the cliff to the Battery Weed fortification. On a clear day, you’ll have a good vista of Lower Manhattan including the new Freedom Tower. Since the park is open until 10PM, you’ll be able to take in the incredible night-time view as well.

Due to its strategic location, the defenses of Fort Wadsworth were continually upgraded as military technology evolved through the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1910, the fort fired a 21-gun salute to President Teddy Roosevelt when he returned from a year in Africa and Europe. It then was the site of the U.S. Army chaplain school before being turned over to the United States Navy in 1979, and served as the control center for New York City’s Nike missile defense system throughout the Cold War.