Friday, February 10, 2017

Circumnavigating Long Island Part 4: Cross Island Parkway to Fort Totten

To many, Long Island has a very strong sense of place. I am seeking to highlight the distinct regional character of the place by posting photos taken while walking its circumference starting from my home in Port Washington, heading west toward Brooklyn along the shore, back around to the southern shores to Montauk and Orient, and then back across the north shore to Port Washington. Since I have a day job and do not relish suburban and urban camping, I am breaking these walks into pieces. Today's post focuses on eastern Queens along the western shore of Little Neck Bay from the Cross Island Parkway to historic Fort Totten. For each segment, I stay on public roads that get as close to the shore as possible. I don't go on dead ends and I avoid dangerous stretches where walking is problematic due to traffic. Hopefully, the series of photo essays will provide insight into the geography of this region at this particular point in time. Previous segments are linked at the bottom of this post.

Along the eastern edge of the Cross Island Parkway along Little Neck Bay, the views along the walking and biking trail are rather nice and make this stretch one of the longest uninterrupted views of Long Island Sound on Long Island.

A sign along the path.

This is the stretch of the path as it enters Fort Totten park.

Thin ice! New York parks kindly provide rescue ladders.

The path is part of the NYC Greenway.

The shore provides some nice habitat...

...and a marina.

In case of trouble, there is an emergency call box.

A roadside memorial along the Cross Island Parkway.


Fort Totten Park is a City of New York park. It is an old Civil War era Fort and parts of it are still used for the Reserves, the Coast Guard, and for NYC Fire Department training.

It has an amazing collection of crumbling 19th century military buildings.

And it is the home to the Thorne-Wilkins Cemetery, the resting place of the family that originally settled this part of New York City.


Some of the buildings are in great shape and have clearly been maintained well.

Others, not so much.


It is worth taking the time to visit this seldom visited park just to see the unusual military style architecture. 

The chapel is still in use. When I visited, it was being used by a Korean congregation.


These barracks have seen better days.

There is a haunted feel to the place. When I was there, I was the only visitor in the park and I kept feeling like I was going to run into Scooby Doo and Shaggy.

The old police department community relations center.


More rundown unused housing.

The Fire Department of the City of New York uses some of the buildings as offices for EMS training.

I really want to restore this one!

And this one!

And this old theater.

These old barracks would make a nice dormitory.

These barracks are still in use by some of the military personnel assigned here.

There are some great buildings that are still in use on the property.

The old parade grounds are still used today for recreation for the public.

The Fire Department stores many emergency vehicles here.

The base commander's house is now used by the park as a headquarters.

The fort had a battery on the northern fringes that is now in disrepair. It protected New York from attack from Long Island Sound. It is sometimes open to the public, but it was closed when I visited.

There is an active dock on the site used by the Coast Guard and the fire department.

Previous Circumnavigating Long Island Posts:

Part 1. Port Washington to Manhasset
Part 2. Manhasset, Kings Point, Great Neck, Little Neck

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