Flight on Governors Island

Flight on Governors Island (HM1BMM)

Location: New York, NY 11231 New York County
Country: United States of America

N 40° 41.351', W 74° 1.171'

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Governors Island

The new Governors Island landfill was only just complete - a largely empty dust blown expanse of over 100 acres - when it gained fame for its role in the budding aviation industry. In 1909, the Hudson-Fulton Celebration took place to commemorate the 300th anniversary of Henry Hudson's voyage up the Hudson River. It also celebrated the 100th anniversary of Robert Fulton's innovative paddle wheel steamer which traveled from New York City to Albany, ushering in the era of steamship travel. A series of demonstration flights were planned as part of the celebration. Wilbur Wright was paid to make a number of flights and was promised a $15,000 prize for a flight of over ten miles. Wright flew from Governors Island around the Statue of Liberty and back. The flight, though not long enough to win the prize, is considered the first successful flight over water in America. Days later, Wright succeeded in flying over ten miles from the Island up the Hudson, around Grant's Tomb and back.

During World War I, the Island's use in flight diminished. The flat expanse of the south island was filled with support structures for the war effort, including the "World's Shortest Railroad." The one mile long track allowed supplies to be carried from the piers to workshops and warehouses across the south island.

In the 1920s, New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia advocated the use of this open, flat land as a municipal airport. A heated conflict emerged as the Army held fast to its original vision of an expanded army post, and stalled the idea of the airport. Ongoing debates continued for two decades, until progress in the aviation industry rendered the site inadequate. Instead, a new city airport, La Guardia, was opened in Queens in 1939.

The monument erected here honors the pioneers of solo flight, nicknamed "The Early Birds," including the Wright Brothers, Glen Curtiss and Ruth Law. Dedicated in 1954, the monument features a bronze cast of the propeller from Wilbur Wright's first military flight in 1909.
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HM NumberHM1BMM
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Date Added Friday, October 24th, 2014 at 6:45am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 582846 N 4504716
Decimal Degrees40.68918333, -74.01951667
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 41.351', W 74° 1.171'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 41' 21.06" N, 74° 1' 10.26" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)718, 212, 917
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1-881 Division Rd, New York NY 11231, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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