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Castle Williams

11 Reviews

Castle Williams

11 Reviews
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Governors Island New York Harbor, New York City, NY
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Perfect for history lovers, this tour of the historical Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in Lower Manhattan invites you into the catacombs, allowing you to see its pipe organ and venture to parts of the building that are normally closed to visitors. Beat the crowds on this tour and enjoy a personal encounter with this New York landmark.
$37.00 per adult
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blackeldo wrote a review May 2020
Kiama, Australia1,940 contributions894 helpful votes
+1
….A WORTH-WHILE CALL-IN WHEN DOING THE ISLAND AS A WHOLE. I tell a lie – CASTLE WILLIAMS may indeed be a destination in itself for those wonks into MILITARY HISTORY/OLD JAILS/HISTORIC BUILDINGS yada. But face it, these dudes are way into their specialist web sites and won’t be looking at TRIPADVISOR for advice. So for you ordinary visitors, I can say this area is well worth checking out on your big tour of the island. I did it as a SELF-GUIDED TOUR although there were plenty of notices around that NATIONAL PARKS would guide tours at specific times. I simply padlocked my rental bicycle outside and proceeded to check the scene. No shortage of informative panels about the past – first as a defensive fort (the riverside position in the north-west of the island gives it a natural location to defend the approaches to both the EAST RIVER and particularly THE HUDSON), later as a jail/dorm area for troops/hospital. One leaves a place like this (after 15 minutes top inside) with the thought: I’M SURE GLAD I WASN’T LOCKED UP HERE. TIPS - check island operating times (online) - GOVERNORS ISLAND is only open in the high season going into Fall.
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Date of experience: September 2019
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Justin W wrote a review Sep 2018
Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey2,114 contributions516 helpful votes
When you arrive on Governor's Island for the day and you start to walk around, don't miss out on the 45 minute tour of Castle Williams, one of the two historic forts on the island. It is a great tour that takes you through the whole building. We got to see some of the old jail cells, solitary confinement cells and some of the rooms that were used as school rooms for children when they were still living on the island. The rangers take you all three floors of the Fort and give the history of the Fort Williams, the way it was built and its use during the American Revolution and the War of 1812 as well as a jail for the prisoners of the Civil War. The best part is when you arrive at the roof for the end of the tour and you can see the views of Lower Manhattan and Jersey City. There is nothing like it. It is spectacular. The tour runs three times a day and only for 45 minutes so it gives you plenty of time to see the rest of the island. Take your time walking around the old fort on your own.
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Date of experience: September 2018
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Chinapjs wrote a review Jan 2018
Washington DC, District of Columbia3,705 contributions831 helpful votes
Built in the early 1800's to protect New York. It did its job as the British didn't bother NYC during the War of 1812. Nice place to stroll around when on Governor's Island. Great view of the NYac skyline from up top too.
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Date of experience: January 2018
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Lee L wrote a review Sep 2016
Valhalla, New York1,590 contributions149 helpful votes
When you take the ferry out to Governor's Island be sure to take the Ranger tour of Castle Williams. It was built in the early 1800's to help defend NY harbor, It served as a barracks and prison during the Civil War and a military prison in the early part of the 20th century. Great views from the top of the NYC skyline and the Statue of Liberty
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Date of experience: June 2016
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UniversalTraversal wrote a review Aug 2016
Oakville, Canada833 contributions380 helpful votes
+1
Governer's Island has yet to develop the reputation of a solid NYC attraction, but it's slowly gaining notice, with Castle Williams being only fairly recently open to the public. It has a fairly substantial history, having been used as a barracks in the US Civil War, a prison after than, then a coast guard facility after that. There isn't very much to see right now, but the tour guides make the tour worth it, and there are plans to add extra exhibitions once the building is restored. You can also get a good view of the Manhattan skyline on the roof.
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Date of experience: June 2016
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