New York Magazine

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Home > Arts & Events > Castle Clinton National Monument

Castle Clinton National Monument

Battery Park
Broadway at State St., New York, NY 10004 40.704537 -74.014233
See Map | Subway Directions Hopstop Popup
212-344-7220 Send to Phone

Courtesy of Courtesy of the National Park Service, Manhattan Sites

Share this listing

Official Website

nps.gov

Hours

Daily, 8:30am-5pm

Nearby Subway Stops

4, 5 at Bowling Green; 1 at South Ferry; R at Whitehall St.-South Ferry

Parking

  • Nearby Parking Lots

Prices

Free

Profile

If you want tickets to Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, you will likely wind up at Castle Clinton. For many visitors, the experience here is limited to long waits in line before moving on to Lady Liberty, the main event. Yet the historic sandstone structure itself merits a quick look-around. Start off in the inconspicuous narrow room immediately to the right of the main entrance; it briefly chronicles the castle’s rich and varied past, displaying three dioramas of the fort and lower Manhattan as seen in 1812, 1886 and 1941. Take a turn around the inner castle perimeter, keeping an eye out for a 19th century cannon replica. Wind up in the open-air center, which houses two octagonal huts: The ticket booth and a tiny bookstore selling books related to immigration, military history and local landmarks, plus model naval cannons, colonial coins and quills.

Background

The castle began as the Southwest Battery, one of five forts constructed in 1811 for the defense of New York Harbor and connected to Manhattan by a 200-foot wooden causeway and drawbridge. The fort’s 28 cannons sat through the War of 1812 without ever engaging in military action. Renamed for Mayor DeWitt Clinton and then transferred to the city by the US Army in 1823, Castle Clinton was reborn as Castle Garden, a popular spot for concerts, fireworks, demonstrations and even the rare balloon ascension. With the addition of a roof, the garden became a refined hall for opera and theater. In the 1850s, landfill extended Battery Park, placing the castle at its very tip. Shortly thereafter the concert hall was remade as the city’s first immigrant landing depot, processing more than 8 million immigrants between 1855 and 1890. Soon the immigration influx demanded a greater space, leading to the creation of Ellis Island and to the castle’s next identity as the New York City Aquarium. Narrowly saved from demolition in the 1940s, Castle Clinton was restored to its original, roofless, fort appearance and reopened as the National Park Service Visitor’s Center in 1975.

Tours
Ranger-led group tours are available on request, but groups of 10 or more must make arrangments at least two weeks in advance.

Advertising

Today's Agenda

Beyond Classical & Dance: See the Next 7 Days

Vulture + Agenda

Stay up to speed on breaking news and the latest from the world of arts and entertainment.

Advertising