*Fort Tilden -- part of Gateway National Recreation Area -- was the most modern addition to the fortifications of New York Harbor intended to defend the city from attack by sea or air. Positioned on Rockaway Peninsula, its grounds include some of the most secluded beaches in New York and several of the former military buildings have been adapted into a vibrant center for the arts.
Established in 1917, Fort Tilden is named for Samuel Tilden, who served as Governor of New York and was the Democratic nominee for President in 1876. Through four decades the fort's defenses were upgraded with the technologically advanced weaponry of each succeeding generation, including smooth-bore cannons, sixteen inch naval rifles, and Nike Ajax and Hercules air defense missiles. Ultimately its weaponry became obsolete, and the fort was decommissioned as a military installation in 1974. It was then transferred to the control of the National Park Service.*