Next week is Fleet Week, and soon New York will be awash in sailors. If you’re moved by all the festivities and want to get in on the maritime merriment, there are sites exploring New York’s links to the sea throughout all five boroughs. From barges to schooners to yachts to dry docks, here are 10 sites where you can celebrate New York’s seafaring spirit.
Image courtesy of NYPL
New Yorkers today know Castle Clinton, in Battery Park, as a national monument and departure point to visit Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty. But the circular sandstone fort dates all the way back to 1811–and has served as everything from an immigration station, exhibition hall, theater, and public aquarium since. One forgotten fact of the historic structure is that it’s considered the site of America’s first beer garden, which opened as Castle Garden on July 3rd, 1824. The illustration above shows the beer garden–which also had a grand theater–featured in Harper’s New Monthly Magazine in the 1800s. The open-air space, which eventually got a roof, was considered one of the premier attractions in Manhattan.
Take advantage of this long weekend to get outside and enjoy the city. Sign up for a free walking tour of Central Park or Bryant Park, or head to Washington Square Park for the 82nd year of the Outdoor Art Exhibit. If adventure is your thing, ferry over to Governors Island for their new zip line adventure, or take the boat to Ellis Island for Untapped Cities’ insiders’ tour. Check out a sculpture by the Strokes’ Fabrizio Moretti at the beautiful Elizabeth Street Garden, or role play with Ryohei Kawanishi at the Museum of Arts and Design. Finally, treat yourself to a free concert by the New York Philharmonic, inside the history St. John the Divine Cathedral on Memorial Day.