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Fort Tilden Part One: The Public Space

In historic places, NYC History, NYC Today on April 4, 2014 at 7:40 pm

 

As I walked around the grounds of Fort Tilden that were “open” to the public a few things circled in my mind.  This space is so vast; what went on here and why all these randomly placed buildings?

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Some were made of wood, some of brick.  Some were in use, some appeared to be empty for decades.  Every once in a while a parks department vehicle would drive by.

 

073113_iphone 5_4161 copyA chapel stood in the center of it all; eerie shapes appeared through the windows as if they were ghosts.  At the entrance was a very peculiar sign:

 

 

 

 

 

At this point I really had no idea what I stumbled upon as children were playing soccer and softball in the open fields.  In the distance day campers were doing something with paint.  And across the road from where they played were people working in the community garden ensuring those large sunflowers would grow to their full height.

073113_iphone 5_4060 copyWhen the ranger drove by again, I stopped him and began asking my questions.

  •  Did the chapel ever open?  No, in fact it had been closed for years due to asbestos.
  • Why is the beach closed; will it open again soon?  It would not open for a while due to the artillery that washed ashore from Hurricane Sandy.
  • What was that amazing old metal building in the distance?  He told me it was an old artillery building and that most of the current destruction came from Sandy.

When I asked him if I could walk around, he told me only in the designated area’s.  Everything else was restricted.

Hmmmm….what was this place?

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Joyous sounds were coming from the children at camp, so I walked over to discover this program was run by the Rockaway Artist Alliance.  The RAA had 2 studio’s in these old military buildings; they worked with artists near and far.  The councilors told me that beyond the fence to the west, was an old “watch” tower used when Fort Tilden was a military base.  It was 173 feet high, with amazing views.  But it was “off-limits” according to the park.

I thanked them for their time and information and continued walking up to the beach where I witnessed the destruction from the storm.

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Until next time.

Teresa51art

adventure is life, live it! ®

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