The lighthouse tower is now gone after years of neglect, and the keeper's house is in ruins.
Phil Gasbarro, a vistor to this site, writes: I used to live on North Brother Island just adjacent to the lighthouse (1947-50). Some of my first recollections of life were looking from our apartment living room window right out onto the shoreline of the East River and the lighthouse.
Our reason for being there was that the VA was using that facility for family housing for WWII GI's who were seeking higher education in NYC -- my dad, William R. Gasbarro, went to Julliard and Columbia U. I was 2-4 years old at the time.
As a youngster, I was naturally very curious. Some of the things that were across the fence ( the one that separated the lighthouse property from the rest of the island) were so intriguing that I found a way under the fence and went down to and into the waters of the East River for a swim. My dad, who was coming home from school, saw me on the lighthouse shoreline in waist-deep water, leaped over the fence and hauled me out of there.
Naturally all the grown-ups were very curious (and concerned) as to how I had gotten by the fence. I remember my dad taking me to meet with the keeper and his family in the lighthouse residence to demonstrate how I crawled under the fence and then down into the water. Needless to say that port of entry was soon blocked so that there would be no further encroachments by little critters like me trying to take their first swim! Of course we got a tour of the actual lighthouse.
If anyone reading this would like to chat about the North Brother Island Lighthouse I would be more than happy to do so. Please feel free to contact me.
Phil Gasbarro, email@example.com
Description of Tower: Octagonal tower on roof of keeper's house.
This light is not operational
One story wood frame keeper's house.
Date Established: 1869
Date Deactivated: 1953
Optics: 1869: Sixth order Fresnel lens; 1900: Fourth order Fresnel lens.
Current Use: In ruins.
Open To Public? No.
The remains of the lighthouse can be viewed from the northeast shore of Randalls Island, but there isn't much left.
Keepers: J.T.P. Jacobs (c. 1904), William Murray (1930-1946)