Fort Schuyler, at right, is a pentagonal stone fort built in the mid-19th century at the tip of the narrow Throg(g)s Neck peninsula in the Bronx, where the East River meets Long Island Sound. Along with Fort Totten across the water in Queens, Fort Schuyler was positioned to defend the entrance to the East River against enemy naval forces trying to reach New York Harbor. Check out this awesome aerial view, and this more pragmatic map, to get a sense of the area's geography.
The fort never saw any combat, but it was quite active during the Civil War, when troops were trained here and a hospital and prison opened on the grounds. By the 1910s, however, the fort was considered obsolete, and the Army finally decided to abandon it around 1931. After a lengthy reconstruction by the federal Works Progress Administration, the property was dedicated as the new home of the New York State Merchant Marine Academy (now SUNY Maritime College) in 1938, and it still serves as the school's campus today. In addition to the conventional college buildings found here (campus map), the fort itself has actually been converted into academic space. It contains a library and the expansive Maritime Industry Museum, as well as classrooms and offices — a pretty impressive reuse of an old 19th-century fortification!
What a fascinating place! And so awesome that it has gone to good use, instead of becoming an eyesore, or being torn down in the name of progress.
I think the museum is one of the best in the city. It’s like a huge attic full of stuff placed anywhere it’ll fit. Not much attempt at keeping to themes or eras. But all of it worth a look. The “gallery space” makes it all that much more interesting. On one floor you have to be quiet or you’ll disturb the classes in session. The top floor of the museum leads to the roof. Great view of the sound, though on a sunny day you won’t last long.
Yes, the museum was cool! Millions of model boats. I didn’t get any good pictures from it though.
I tried going to the roof, up a spiral staircase, but the door at the top was locked.
I graduated from SUNY Maritime College in 1988. In my junior year, a group of about 10 of us cadets snuck into the fort one Saturday evening and were able to get into the tunnels beneath the area you show in your photo. We also were able to climb a ladder that terminated above the ceiling in the walkway around the second floor and walk along on the brickwork arches that constitute the ceiling fo the second floor. We made our way around the entire fort over the course of an hour and it was pretty exciting. Thankfully, we did not get caught by security. That likely would have meant a Captain’s Mast and 50 demerits.