Fort Wadsworth is a fortification system located on Staten Island, New York City, right across from Brooklyn in the most narrow part of the New York Bay, The Narrows. Such a strategic location insured that all ships entering or exiting New York City would not pass without permission and no one could invade the city. It was used by military till 1994 when it was closed and transferred to National Park Service.
The Fort is situated right under the Verrazano Bridge and there are several ways to get here: by car, by bus S52 from Staten Island Ferry - it is 10-15 minutes walk from the bus stop to the Fort, by bus S79/S53 from Brooklyn, by express bus X1 from Manhattan or by bike, for example, from the Boardwalk as the bike lane continues from the Boardwalk to a small local road with almost no traffic that goes right to the Verrazano Bridge and under it to Fort Wadsworth.
Fort Wadsworth consists of two parts: the lower one, situated right on the waterfront is called Battery Weed, and the upper one, Fort Tompkins aimed to guard the land around the Battery Weed.
Battery Weed as well as Fort Tompkins are open to the public only on ranger led tours and are closed all other time, however this does not restrict visitors from walking around the fortifications and the view is still great. All buildings have signs next to them describing their history and purpose.
The 3 level trapezoidal fortification is the main building of the Battery Weed with several auxiliary buildings and fortifications around it: batteries, ammunition depot, torpedo wharf and more.
Turret batteries to the left and right side of the fort are probably the least taken care of and the footprint of time is the most visibly seen on them as cracks destroy the armored concrete and greenery covers the old walls.
The right side turret battery, South Cliff, is rather short and is situated right under the Verrazano Bridge.
The Battery Weed goes right after it with a square in front of it and gates closed.
On the other side of the square there is Torpedo Building where mines were stored.
There are rails going from the Torpedo Building down to the fort and wharf.
The Torpedo Wharf is to the left from the Battery Weed. The rails leading there are partially removed, partially asphalted, but can still be spotted.
The lefthand side battery, Battery Catlin, looks a bit more impressive than those to the right of the fort.
However the time touched this part the most.
All the doors in the complex are closed and seem to not have been opened for at least 100 years.
There are several redants with turret platforms on this battery, all of them are connected with stone corridors.
The last section of the complex seems to be completely abandoned even by rangers - everything is covered with greenery and the path running next to the wall is hard to see.
It seems like in few years there will be no signs of the fortification as everything will be covered by grass.
Battery command center. The remains of phone lines are still seen inside, however no one cleans it and it is filled with soil and leaves.
National Park Service building stands between Battery Weed and Fort Tompkins. All the buildings in the area seem to be quite old as if they were used by officers serving in the fort hundred years ago.
As the road runs up to Fort Tompkins, visitor can enjoy beautiful view on Verrazano Bridge and Battery Weed below.
Fort Tompkins is on the right, starting with the fallout shelter which is empty.
There is an observation area right next to the Fort Tompkins. There are telescopes and benches to rest after a long walk or a tough bike ride uphill.
The view from the observation point is breathtaking - Verrazano Bridge, Battery Weed, Narrows, New York Bay, Brooklyn, New Jersey and Manhattan - all from a single point!
If you are lucky enough, you can see some unusual ship passing by under the Verrazano Bridge - beautiful white cruise liner, luxury yaÑht, huge container ship, orange Staten Island Ferry going between Manhattan and Staten Island or a floating fountain - firefighting boat on training.
Unlike South Beach, there are no restrooms or water fountains accessible by public around Fort Wadsworth, so visitors have to be prepared, especially if coming by bicycle - Fort Tompkins stands quite high on a hill and having some drinking water is a must.