New York, New Jersey Maritime Sites Information from marhst-l

If we do not know our own history, we are doomed to live it as though it were our private fate.

- Hannah Arendt

There was an unusually fruitful discussion on marhst-l about places to visit in the NY - NJ area for those of us interested in maritime history. Here are the highlights.

Date:         Wed, 21 Aug 1996 01:29:53 -0400
From: Norman Brouwer <NBSAILSHIP@AOL.COM>
To: Multiple recipients of list MARHST-L <>

The Brooklyn Navy Yard is still quite intact.  The City's redevelopment
authority for the yard claims to have over 90 businesses in there leasing
space.  It is closed to the casual visitor, but something might be arranged.
 Poillon and Continental I. W.
(builders of the MONITOR) no longer exist.  You can see the sites, but no
surviving buildings.

There is a little museum on board the wooden covered lighter barge LEHIGH
VALLEY NO. 79 at Red Hook, Brooklyn.

The old seamens' retirement home Sailors Snug Harbor on Staten Island is
worth a visit.  A museum devoted to artist John Noble is one of the
occupants.  They have been busy renovating their space, so I'm not sure how
much they have on exhibit.

The Museum of the City of New York on the upper east side of Central Park has
a maritime gallery.

The private club India House in lower Manhattan has a fine collection of
marine art, but you need to be the guest of a member to get inside.

The turn-of-century Custom House at the foot of Broadway is now a museum of
the American Indian.  It is worth a visit for the ceiling murals in the
central rotunda by Reginald Marsh, showing liners arriving in the 1930s.

Across "Bowling Green" from the Custom House you can visit the former ticket
offices of the International Mercantile Marine (now a Citibank) and Cunard
(now a Post Office) with much decor intact, particularly the ceilings.

The Seamens' Church Institute is now located in a modern building a block
north of us.  They have changing exhibits on the ground floor, the current
one on New York maritime disasters.

Driving in New York City can be tedious in the rush hour (which begins around
3 PM), but otherwise its manageable.  You wouldn't want to leave a car parked
on the street in parts of Harlem or the South Bronx, and I wouldn't park
anywhere with packages, etc. in plain view.

Date:         Thu, 22 Aug 1996 00:59:28 -0400
Sender: Marine History Information Exchange Group <>
From: Norman Brouwer <NBSAILSHIP@AOL.COM>
Subject:      NEW YORK INFO

If you have a car there are a number of sites that can be visited.  Out at
Sandy Hook, New Jersey, the tip of the peninsula is now part of Gateway
National Park.  The lighthouse tower is the oldest in the country.  It is
still in use, and not usually open to visitors.  There are many gun batteries
within the park, and officer housing designed by Mckim, Mead & White.  On the
way out you pass a former lifesaving station that is now a National Park
Service exhibit.

On the Navesink Highlands overlooking the inner end of the Hook are the Twin
Lights built in the 1860s as the most powerful aid to navigation in the
country.  This is now a New Jersey State Park.  There is a museum in the
former keepers' quarters, and you can climb to the now empty towers.  They
have a giant "clam shell" lens, usually displayed in the former generator
house, but it is being conserved at the moment.
They also have the old Spermaceti Cove lifesaving station, moved up from the
Hook, a survivor of the very earliest generation.

There are two surviving railroad/ferry terminals on the New Jersey side of
the hudson.  The Lackawanna Terminal in Hoboken has a grand waiting room and
the ferry slips and ramps are still there, unused since 1968.  The Central
Railroad of New Jersey terminal in Jersey City is in the northeast corner of
Liberty State Park, behind Ellis Island.  It has been restored, but is
largely empty.  The north side of Liberty State Park is a long inlet that was
once the site of the outlet lock of the Morris Canal.  The south side of
Liberty Park, behind the Statue of Liberty, is Black Tom Channel, scene of
the Black Tom explosion, set off in a Lehigh freight terminal full of
ammunition by German agents in 1916.

The following shut-down shipyards survive:
W. & A. Fletcher, north Hoboken - partly demolished, but some buildings
remain going back to 1890
Handren & Robins; later Todd, in Erie Basin, Brooklyn
Staten Island Shipbuilding, later Bethlehem, Mariners Harbor, Staten Island
Perth Amboy Drydock, Perth Amboy, New Jersey
Third District Lighthouse Depot, St. George, Staten Island - waterfront has
been largely replaced by a new ferry maintenance workshop but part of the
base survives including three important buildings from the 1860s

Date:         Sun, 25 Aug 1996 22:04:24 +0000
Sender: Marine History Information Exchange Group <>
From: "Paul W. Schopp" <>

Jim and other Marhst listers:

My apologies for being so tardy in answering Jay Lloyd's request for
me to provide information on some museums in South Jersey featuring
maritime exhibits.  I have been away from the 'net for the past several days.
You can find maritime exhibits at most of the County-level historical
Societies in South Jersey.  Camden County has a small display of
material on New York Ship and the library contains some photos of
other shipbuilding scenes.  Salem County Historical Society has some
paintings and (I think) some half-hull models.  Ditto for Cumberland
County.  Also in Cumberland County is the DuBois Maritime Museum at
the old Vanneman Shipyard.  Atlantic County also has paintings,
half-hulls and other artifacts, as does Cape May County.  I don't
believe the Gloucester County Society has much to offer on this
subject, however.
The Historical Society of Delaware has a few paintings and rendering.
If you decide to go there, call and ask for Thomas Beckman first.
He can give you a detailed rundown of what they have to offer.
The Independence Seaport Museum (the old Phila. Maritime Museum) is
the premiere museum in the area, and should not be missed.  I believe
someone already mentioned the Insurance Company of North America and
their collection.  I would also highly recommend a visit to the
Hagley Library in Greenville, Delaware.  I think their Pictorial
Collection would be most enlightening to you!
Hope the above is of some help to you.  If you need directions or further
information, Jim, please don't hesitate to contact me off-list.  I
will try to assist you in way possible!

Paul W. Schopp

I'm always open to adding resources to my list, so if you know of other items, give me a holler:

Form last updated: Sat Nov 9, 1996