Ann L. Buttenwieser
Read featured article about Governors Island from the NY Times Bookshelf (PDF).
"Governors Island has borne witness to the grand
parade of American history, from the revolution to
the Cold War. Ann Buttenwieser’s book showcases
the fascinating parade of characters that built the
island and called it home."
—Robert Pirani, Executive Director, Governors Island Alliance
On the southern edge of Manhattan stands a quiet piece
of Americana. Governors Island, situated in New York
Harbor, blends a sense of nostalgia with twenty-first-century
amenities. The pristine setting showcases the island’s
rich history, including the vital role it played until recently
in the country’s armed forces. From its early days as the
site of a British fort in the 1700s, to its longstanding role as
a station for the U.S. Army and the Coast Guard, to its function as a
venue for political receptions and parties, the island has hosted a
dazzling parade of the brave and the dignified. But Governors
Island encompasses more than military history; it offers a vivid
reflection of historic events in New York City and the world at large.
Ann L. Buttenwieser brings this rich legacy to life, creating a
striking portrait of the island through never-before-published photographs,
blueprints, architectural plans, and interviews with former
residents. Records from Castle Williams reveal an evolving national
penal system, while those from the hospital tell the story of worldwide
contagion and local sanitation. Accounts of the lives of the
island’s female residents offer insight into ethnic assimilation and
the changing roles of women in the military, and a compendium of
military and civilian recreational life on the island illuminates the
changing meanings of open space and recreation over time.
Lavishly illustrated and filled with fascinating vignettes of the
people and events of this unique landmark, Governors Island: The
Jewel of New York Harbor will captivate enthusiasts of military and
New York history alike.
View other books in Regional Studies: New York City, History and Culture
Ann L. Buttenwieser is an urban planner and waterfront historian.
She is the author of Manhattan Water-Bound: Manhattan’s
Waterfront from the Seventeenth Century to the Present, Second
Edition, also published by Syracuse University Press.
9 x 11 1/2, 288 pages, 271 color illustrations, notes, bibliography, index