New York life in the 1880’s was bustling and river traffic was growing daily. Buildings like our ClockTower (1886) were springing up and boats and barges were a big part of the supply and distribution chain.
The Little Red Lighthouse, immortalized in a book by the same name, was originally constructed on Sandy Hook New Jersey and remained there until 1917.
But by 1889, Hudson River traffic had become so dense that lights were needed to keep ships and barges away from the shoals where the George Washington Bridge now stands. A 20 foot post with 2 red lanterns was erected. Lame.
But the lights apparently worked so they were improved in 1895 to a whopping 10 candle power.
The U.S. Coast Guard finally got serious in 1921 and relocated the lighthouse to its present site under the GWB, so I rode my bike over to take a look.
Sure enough, right where the map said it would be.
A Homeland Security guard walked over and asked me what I was doing. He told me I couldn’t take photos of the bridge and he wanted to delete them now.
But it’s a public bridge in a public place so in polite conversation I reminded him I was well within my rights and he had no jurisdiction to require this.
He grew quiet and backed off, but hung around.
Manhattan's last surviving lighthouse, this Little Red one was decommissioned in 1947 but it’s cool and worth a visit.
Bring your camera.