Lighthouses of New York City

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Lighthouses are not just stone, brick, metal, and glass. There’s a human story at every lighthouse; that’s the story I want to tell.

Elinor Dewire

New York City, located on shores one of the largest natural bays in the world, once required many lighthouses to aid maritime navigators. We present you some lighthouses that can be found in New York City and its surroundings.

Little Red Lighthouse

The Little Red Lighthouse, officially Jeffrey’s Hook Light, is a small lighthouse located in Fort Washington Park on the Hudson River in New York City, under the George Washington Bridge. It was made notable by the 1942 children’s book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge by Hildegarde Swift, illustrated by Lynd Ward. The lighthouse stands on Jeffrey’s Hook, a small point of land that supports the base of the eastern pier of the bridge, which connects the Washington Heights neighborhood in Manhattan to Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Lighthouses of New York City: Little Red Lighthouse
Lighthouses of New York City: Little Red Lighthouse

Execution Rocks Light

Execution Rocks Light is a lighthouse in the middle of Long Island Sound on the border between New Rochelle and Sands Point, New York. It stands 55 feet (17 m) tall, with a white light flashing every 10 seconds. The granite tower is painted white with a brown band around the middle. It has an attached stone keeper’s house which has not been inhabited since the light was automated in 1979.

Lighthouses of New York City: Execution Rocks Light
Lighthouses of New York City: Execution Rocks Light

The Staten Island Range Light

The Staten Island Range Light, also known as the Ambrose Channel Range Light, is the rear range light companion to the West Bank Lighthouse. The 90-foot tower sits more than five miles northwest of the West Bank Lighthouse, on Staten Island’s Richmond Hill (Lighthouse Hill), 141 feet above sea level. It shows a fixed white light that can be seen for 18 miles (on range only).

Lighthouse was designated a New York City Landmark in 1968 and remains a valuable aid to navigation for ships entering the Ambrose Channel in Lower New York Bay. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.

Lighthouses of New York City: Staten Island Light
Lighthouses of New York City: Staten Island Light

The Prince’s Bay Light

The Prince’s Bay Light (officially: John Cardinal O’Connor Light) is an active lighthouse on the highest point of the southern shoreline of Staten Island, New York, in the Pleasant Plains neighborhood. It is situated on an 85-foot (26 m) bluff overlooking Raritan Bay with an attached brownstone cottage which served as the lightkeeper’s house. The bluffs are part of the southern terminal moraine formed by the Wisconsin Glacier which receded 10,000 years ago.

Lighthouses of New York City: The Prince's Bay Light
Lighthouses of New York City: The Prince’s Bay Light

Coney Island Light

Coney Island (Nortons Point) Light is a lighthouse located in Sea Gate, on the west end of Coney Island, Brooklyn, in New York City, east of New York Harbor’s main channel.


The lighthouse was first established in 1890. The current tower was first lit in 1920 and is still operational. It was automated in 1989. The foundation material is steel pile and the lighthouse is made out of steel. It is a skeletal white tower with black trim. The original lens was a fourth order Fresnel lens put up in 1890. The most recent resident keeper was Frank Schubert (1915–2003). Schubert was the last civilian lighthouse keeper in the United States. He worked for the United States Coast Guard since 1939, serving at Coney Island since 1960.

Lighthouses of New York City: Coney Island Lighthouse
Lighthouses of New York City: Coney Island Lighthouse

Fort Wadsworth Light

Fort Wadsworth Light is a 1903 lighthouse built atop Battery Weed on Staten Island in New York Harbor. The light illuminates the Narrows, the entrance to the harbor. It is located under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. Fort Wadsworth Light was part of the transfer of Fort Wadsworth from the Navy to the National Park Service in March 1995 as part of Gateway National Recreation Area.

Its light was visible for 14 nautical miles (26 km; 16 mi). The lantern was possibly moved from Fort Tompkins Light in 1903. When the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge opened in 1965 the lighthouse became obsolete. Dark for many years, it was restored and converted to solar power by volunteers in 2005.

Lighthouses of New York City: Fort Wadsworth Light
Lighthouses of New York City: Fort Wadsworth Light

The New Dorp Lighthouse

The New Dorp Lighthouse is a decommissioned lighthouse located in the New Dorp section of Staten Island, New York. Funds for the lighthouse were approved by Congress August 31, 1852 and the structure was completed in 1856. The lighthouse, built to serve as a rear range light to mark Swash Channel (a shipping channel in Lower New York Bay), was built by Richard Carlow, who also built the similar Chapel Hill and Point Comfort Range Lights in New Jersey around the same time. Ships sailing through Swash Channel were instructed to bring the New Dorp range light “in one” and steer towards the lights until the Chapel Hill Light came into view, which would then mark the channel past West Bank.

Lighthouses of New York City: New Dorp Lighthouse
Lighthouses of New York City: New Dorp Lighthouse

Blackwell Island Lighthouse

Blackwell Island Lighthouse, which is also known as Welfare Island Lighthouse and Roosevelt Island Lighthouse is a stone lighthouse built by New York City in 1872. It is at the northeast tip of Roosevelt Island in the East River in Lighthouse Park. It was named to the National Register of Historic Places on March 16, 1972 and was designated a New York City Landmark on March 23, 1976.

Lighthouses of New York City: Blackwell Island Light
Lighthouses of New York City: Blackwell Island Lighthouse

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