Name That Lighthouse!

By Vladimir Brezina

I love lighthouses!  There are quite a few in New York Harbor and the surrounding waterways.  And over the years that I’ve spent kayaking in the area, I’ve collected photos of many of them.  See if you can identify the lighthouses in the following photos!  All are within the borders of New York City or just beyond.

Correct answers will receive contributions toward the purchase of your very own lighthouse!  Many lighthouses around the country are now available from the government at very reasonable terms.  In New York Harbor itself, West Bank Light and Old Orchard Shoal Light are unfortunately already gone, sold for $195,000 and $95,000 respectively—it will be interesting to see what the purchasers do with them. But Romer Shoal Light and Great Beds Light may still be available

Update (August 12, 2011): Answers provided.

1 — Execution Rocks Light

2 — Little Red Lighthouse (Jeffrey’s Hook Light)

3 — Robbins Reef Light

4 — Romer Shoal Light

5 — Stepping Stones Light

6 — West Bank Light

And as a bonus, here are three lighthouses further up the Hudson:

7 — Saugerties Light

8 — Esopus Meadows Light

9 Kingston (Rondout Creek) Light

By the way, if you are considering acquiring Romer Shoal Light or Great Beds Light as a place of residence, you should be aware of some issues:

A boat is needed to get to the lighthouses. There is some guano inside and outside the lighthouses. The structures are subject to flooding from tidal surges. There are no utilities. The federal government needs to stop by every few months to tend to the navigational equipment, which the government still will own. Because it’s a historic site and the navigational equipment will remain there, there are limits to what renovations can be made. At Romer Shoal, some original wood floorboards on the second floor are rotting. Romer Shoal also has a fog signal that sounds a two-second blast every 15 seconds.

Maybe not quite ideal for the most restful night…

11 responses to “Name That Lighthouse!

  1. No takers yet? Wow. Well, that is a good range of lighthouses. I recognize a couple but you’ve got me on a lot of them.

    BTW, this post reminded me of a funny incident I’d posted about last year –


    • Johna Till Johnson

      Yes, that IS funny!

      Lighthouses (real and ersatz) come in a range of shapes and sizes. Not to be confused with abandoned missile silos. Does anyone else think it’s funny that Sandy Hook, New Jersey, has abandoned missile silos that supposedly pointed at the Soviets? My theory is they were actually pointed at Staten Island in an attempt to reclaim territory for New Jersey…..


    • Bonnie, I remember seeing that post on your site at the time… before that, I had no idea what that “lighthouse” was, either…

      Speaking of the Bayonne Golf Club, they have a cute little catamaran ferry, just like the yellow water taxis but smaller and green, that (I presume) takes golfers out there from Manhattan in the summer. We see it docking at the Battery sometimes.


  2. I see that many have come and seen (WordPress is very good with traffic statistics), but no one has even attempted to conquer. This might be too difficult (or, as it may be, boring).

    In any case, here’s a huge hint. The nine lighthouses shown are:

    Stepping Stones
    Robbins Reef
    Execution Rocks
    Little Red Lighthouse
    Romer Shoal
    West Bank
    Esopus Meadows

    So now it’s just a matter of matching the name to the picture…


  3. Alright, I just asked Tugster to come put us all out of our misery. I bet he won’t even need to use the clues.


  4. Stepping Stones…5
    Robbins Reef…3
    Execution Rocks…1
    Little Red Lighthouse…2
    Romer Shoal…6
    West Bank…4
    Esopus Meadows…8 ?

    and have you seen this NYC lighthouse: ?


    • Will,

      Great attempt!! — but not quite correct. You’ve got one pair of lighthouses interchanged. Now, which one? :-)

      “and have you seen this NYC lighthouse…?”: You mean the one in your second photo, the one that isn’t a lighthouse? Yes, I recall seeing it in the Harlem River a while back, but didn’t know the history and meaning of it: “To give guidance to those seeking their way…” Thanks!


  5. Reinforcing the suspicion that a lighthouse might not be the best place for quiet contemplation, here’s a quote from Ed Burge, a lighthouse keeper from 1886 to 1920 at several New York Harbor lighthouses, including West Bank:

    “I met a lady once who was all filled up with what she called the romance of the lighthouse. She said she often longed to be a keeper and live alone in a tower on a rock far out in the sea, and have peace and quiet. She couldn’t understand why I snorted. Peace and quiet! A lighthouse is about the noisiest place in the world. Out there on West Bank, for instance, with a gale blowing. When I was there the tower rose right out of the water, with no footing at all around it, so the waves crashed against the whole tower; shook it until sometimes the mantles over the burners in the light broke. Sometimes the waves went clear over the gallery, and the spray over the light itself.

    Forty or sixty tons of water, driven by a fifty-mile gale, racing in with the tide and slamming against a solid tower of stone and iron makes it about as quiet as when two railroad trains butt each other head on. Down at the floor level, there is a gas engine pounding away, with the exhaust exploding outside, the iron plates in the tower groaning, the fog siren screaming, and the bell ringing, and up in the light a stream of kerosene burning under a hundred pound pressure, and roaring louder than gale. Nice, romantic spot – so quiet that the keeper can scarcely hear the whistles of steamers and tugs in the channel.”


  6. I’ve now updated the post to provide the answers.

    Will Tugster got them almost entirely right. I expected no less from him!

    So, Will, any time you wish to purchase a lighthouse, just let us know and we’ll chip in…


  7. Lighthouses of New York Harbor Tours by NYC Water Taxi, sponsored by the National Lighthouse Museum and the Working Harbor Committee. Sounds like a serious tour that visits many of the lighthouses in New York Harbor. The next tour is on September 25, 2011.


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