This Anglo-Italianate structure was originally a chapel, as you can probably tell. According to Snug Harbor's website, all the retired sailors living at the institution were required to attend religious services, and after the Veteran’s Memorial Hall opened in 1856, the pastor addressed his flock thus:
You are here, however, not to spend your time in idleness, in the mere animal indulgence of eating, and drinking, and sleeping; but you are here to refit. Your voyage has not yet terminated; the most important part of it is yet before you; there are quicksands, concealed rocks, whirlpools, and yawning gulphs. There may be a darker, severer, and more terrific storm, and a more awful warring of the elements still in reserve for you, than any through which you have ever passed — you may yet be hopelessly wrecked, and left to sink into the deep and unfathomable abyss. Have you prepared your bark for this last part of your voyage, and are you sure all is right?