This Fort has been around since the Revolutionary War and was first fortified by the British. Since then, it has been used by Americans through various wars for two centuries, from the War of 1812 to the Cold War. Today, the US Coast Guard occupies the grounds and the land is open to the public as a recreational area maintained by the National Park Service.
Many military batteries dot the grounds. Battery Tompkins is the first one you encounter as you enter the area. Like the other structures that you’ll see here, it has seen better days and is slowly being taken over by nature. You can go inside the battery through a guided tour.
Battery Tompkins is also interesting for its dry moat. There are niches inside the battery walls for shooting the enemy once they are trapped in the moat.
Battery Weed is probably the most picturesque of the batteries here. You get your first glimpse of it from above at a lookout point.
While you are walking down to Weed, you also encounter other dilapidated structures that speak to more dangerous times.
You also get to see the underbelly of the Verrazano!
Battery Weed befits its name. You can see the inside of the battery by guided tour only. We unfortunately didn’t stay long enough to do the afternoon tours that were available.
Once you walk back to the lookout point to get to your car, see if you can find the Statue of Liberty in the distance. She’s a tiny green dot in the horizon but thankfully, they provide a free telescope. You can also see the progress of the Freedom Tower. Looks like it’s almost done!
The Fort is easy to get to by car. It’s at the end of the Verrazano Bridge once you reach Staten Island. If you are coming by ferry, you can take the S51 bus and it will drop you off right at the Fort. No dogs are allowed but bikes are welcome. The Fort is open from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm. For those of you who want to see the Fort at night, there are lantern tours on Thursdays from 7:00 to 9:00 pm. I can only imagine how much spookier this place is in the dark!