Castle Clinton National Monument
I happened to be in NYC for a work related trip (that I brought the family along for) and had a free afternoon to fill up. We looked up which NPS sites were close within walking distance to apartment rental we had and discovered Castle Clinton National Monument. We headed over late in the day and squeezed in just before their closing time but it was enough time to explore the history of the site and
This location has quite the varied history and has housed everything from soldiers during the war of 1812 when it was the Southwest Battery, to socialites taking in a grand opera when the site was know as Castle Garden, to immigrants who passed through its gates in the 1890’s, to tourists who visited when this was home to the NYC aquarium. It wasn’t until 1946 that the National Park Service took over the site and it was restored to it original structure.
Today, most people know of Castle Clinton as the ticket office for the Statue of Liberty, but there is so much history that these tourists walk through that they might not even know is there. I think a ranger led tour would have been interesting but due to our timing we just walked around and saw a few of the exhibits they offer. I personally loved the juxtaposition of this brick structure in front of the backdrop of the modern city sky scrapers.