Our Blog

Summer on the Hudson: Little Red Lighthouse Festival

September 28,2017 | By Michael Carr |

Summer on the Hudson: Little Red Lighthouse Festival
Saturday, October 7, 2017
12:00 p.m.– 4:00 p.m.

Little Red Lighthouse, Fort Washington Park
West 181 Street and Plaza Lafayette Manhattan

Cost: Free
Event Organizer: Summer on the Hudson, Urban Park Rangers
Contact email: [email protected]

Celebrate Manhattan’s only remaining lighthouse with Urban Park Ranger educational presentations, visits to the lighthouse interior, readings of eponymous children’s book, fishing clinics, live music, food vendors, and fun family activities!  

Manhattan’s only remaining lighthouse acquired its affectionate nickname from Hildegarde H. Swift’s 1942 children’s classic, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge.  

Illustrated by Lynd Ward, this tale of the friendship between the tiny beacon and the George Washington Bridge introduced children around the world to the red, round, and very, very proud little lighthouse in New York.  If you have not read this book, I highly recommend it.

Buy the book here: The Little Red Lighthouse

In the early 20th century, barge captains carrying goods up and down the Hudson demanded a brighter beacon. The Little Red Lighthouse had been erected on Sandy Hook, New Jersey in 1880, where it used a 1,000 pound fog signal and flashing red light to guide ships through the night. It became obsolete and was dismantled in 1917. In 1921, the U.S. Coast Guard reconstructed this lighthouse on Jeffrey’s Hook in an attempt to improve navigational aids on the Hudson River. Run by a part-time keeper and furnished with a battery-powered lamp and a fog bell, the lighthouse, then known as Jeffrey’s Hook Lighthouse, was an important guide to river travelers for ten years. The George Washington Bridge opened in 1931, and the brighter lights of the bridge again made the lighthouse obsolete.  In 1948, the Coast Guard decommissioned the lighthouse, and its lamp was extinguished. 

Hearing this news of impending auction and eventual razing of the lighthouse,  thousands of children who had loved Swift’s book started a nationwide campaign to save the Little Red Lighthouse.  On July 23, 1951, the Coast Guard gave the property to NYC Parks, and on May 29, 1979, the Little Red Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1986, NYC Parks hosted a party in honor of the lighthouse’s 65th anniversary and to celebrate a renovation of the lighthouse that included reconstruction of the concrete foundation and installation of new steel doors. In 2000, the lighthouse received a fresh coat of red paint that was true to its original, historic color, along with new interior lighting and electric lines. Today, the Little Red Lighthouse remains a stalwart symbol of the area’s heritage, lighting the way into the city’s past. 

Come out an celebrate this beacon of hope! 

The Little Red Lighthouse is owned by NYC Parks and is part of the Historic House Trust of New York City.



Arts & Crafts, Education, Concerts, Festivals, Games,
History, Best for Kids, Free Summer Concerts, Waterfront, Fishing

Tags: #UpperWestSide, #NYCLifestyles, #SovereignAssociates, #NYCRentals, #NYCNeighborhoods

User Comments

There are no user comments at this time.

Related Posts

151st Street Pedestrian and Bicycle Bridge - Read The Story from November 9, 2017 »

Symphony Space - Read The Story from November 2, 2017 »

Burger Heights - Read The Story from October 26, 2017 »

The Little Red Lighthouse

September 30,2018 | By Sovereign Associates |

When moving to a new place, especially one as overwhelming as New York, a little history is never a bad place to start learning about your new stomping ground. I suggest starting with The Little Red Lighthouse which sits atop Jeffrey’s Hook in Fort Washington Park, just under the George Washington Bridge. The lighthouse was installed in the late 1800s in hopes of decreasing the amount of accidents occurring in this part of the Hudson River.


Unfortunately, with the installation of the George Washington Bridge in 1931 the lighthouse was shut off for good and set to be taken down. However, outcry from the public, especially from children and their families due to their love for the children’s book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, caused the city to save this treasure. Because of the support, this little red piece of history was renovated to its original condition and is now recognized as a historic landmark.


If you’re lucky, you might get the chance to receive a tour of the famed lighthouse, but you’ll have to call to find out because the tours happen rarely (212-304-3401). Also, every year the NYC Parks Department holds an annual Little Red Lighthouse Festival as a part of Summer on the Hudson. This festival offers visits to the inside of the structure, live music, food vendors, readings of the adored children’s book, and lots of other family activities. The iconic festival will be held on Septermber 29th, 2018.


The book and the lighthouse remind us that even small things are significant, so take a walk with your significant other, your mom, your best friend, your dog, or whomever you want, and go explore this historical point. Grab a snack, get takeout from your favorite restaurant, or just an ice-cold beverage and venture on over to the Little Red Lighthouse and watch the sun set over the Hudson.

Tags: #FortWashingtonPark

User Comments

There are no user comments at this time.