Right off of Manhattan Island is another Island that has a long and detailed history. That Island is Governors Island.
Governors Island history
was originally purchased by Wouter Van Twiller in June of 1637. Although Van Twiller was acting as a representative of Holland, he actually bought the island for his private use. However, the Dutch took the island from him a year later.
At the time of Van Twiller's initial purchase, he named the Island Nutten Island. The island would change hands between the Dutch and the British, however, over the next ten years (usually by force) until the British finally achieved complete control of the Island. At that time, it was named Governors Ilsand because it would be used for "the benefit and comfort of His Majesty's Governors".
The island came into American hands after the Revolutionary War. For the next 200 years, the island would see use as a military facility by both American and British forces. Fort Jay and Castle Williams were built on the Island by the U.S. Government after the State of New York gave the island to the government for military use. this construction occurred between 1806 and 1809. The island served as a location for artillery and infantry troops during the War of 1812.
The island has continued to change over the years, but retained a military use until the 1960s. During the years between 1812 and 1966, the island served as a recruitment center and a Civil War prison for captured Confederate soldiers. World War I and World War II would see the island used as a supply base for air and ground forces of the U. S. Army.
The Coast Guard was given the Island in 1966, and it remained in its control until 1995. All residents were relocated, and the Island was declared a National Monument. Since then, a portion of the island has been "sold" (at a very nominal cost) back to the people of New York. 22 acres still remain designated as a National Monument.
Governors Island Today
Today, New York visitors and residents alike enjoy the unspoiled beauty of Governors Island. Thanks to laws and provisions, there will never be commercial development such as casinos or other things on the Island. Instead, visitors can walk, jog, or bike around the Island and enjoy a natural wonderland only minutes away from Manhattan and other parts of New York City.
The island is open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. On those Mondays that are declared National Holidays, the Island is open then. Hours are from 10:00 AM until 5:00 PM on Friday, and 10:00 AM until 7:00 on the other days.