Governors Island National Monument

Edification value  3/5
Entertainment value  2/5
Should you go?  3/5
Time spent 48 minutes
Best thing I saw or learned A plaque (reproduced just below) visualizes how New York’s historic harbor defenses overlapped to protect Lower Manhattan and the Hudson.  With the actual harbor spread majestically before you, it’s phenomenally effective.
Harbor Defenses, Governors Island
Historic Harbor Defenses, Plus Harbor

I’ve seen three forts (Totten, Schuyler, Clinton) in the course of this project so far, with several more yet to come. Governors Island features a twofer, which (like the others) speak to changing military technology and adaptation to new uses.

All the extant fortifications around New York Harbor and Long Island Sound have two things in common. The military never had to use them to defend the city, and advances in military technology very quickly rendered them obsolete. Not that it was necessarily money down the drain; the mere existence of the chain of forts around the city may well have helped deter attacks from, um, pirates or Canadians? They almost certainly helped ensure New York remained unmolested by the British during the War of 1812. Continue reading “Governors Island National Monument”

New York City Police Museum

Edification value 3/5
Entertainment value  2/5
Should you go?  2/5
Time spent 20 minutes
Best thing I saw or learned New York City Police MuseumFrom the 1940s until the 1970s, policewomen in New York received these combination makeup and weapon holsters.  So practical!

New York City Police MuseumThe Police Museum is currently in flux.  Formerly housed near City Hall, it’s been homeless since Sandy.  For the moment, it’s found space on Governor’s Island, where a scaled-down version tells a few selected stories of Gotham’s police force.

It’s in Pershing Hall, a beautiful, well-preserved, historic building, with two odd flags outside.

  • The green, white, and blue one is the flag of the NYC Police Department — five stripes for the five boroughs, and 24 stars for the 23 towns and villages that make up NYC, plus one for the city as a whole.  I’m not making that up. Continue reading “New York City Police Museum”