One of a string of military fortifications built atop the steep bluffs overlooking the Harlem Meer, Fort Clinton today offers Park visitors a stunning view of the Harlem Meer.
The steep bluffs bordering the southern shoreline of the Harlem Meer played a significant historical role in American Revolution and the War of 1812. Vestiges of this chapter of pre-Park history can still be seen in the form of overlooks on the site of the military fortifications overlooking the Meer. During the Revolutionary War, the British seized the hills, erecting a chain of fortifications across the Harlem bluffs. After the war ended in 1783, the area was quiet and deserted until 1814. Anticipating a British invasion, over 200 American volunteers hastily rebuilt the network of military fortifications over six weeks during August and September 1814.
Among the fortifications was Fort Clinton, positioned to the east and named after Mayor DeWitt Clinton, Nutter's Battery, Fort Fish, and Blockhouse No. 1. Together, they served as important lookouts for advancing forces. The British never invaded, however. For information on work underway at the Fort Clinton overlook, please see below.
The Fort Clinton and Nutter's Battery overlooks are in the process of being reconstructed by Central Park Conservancy, taking into consideration their history and unique elevation. We are re-introducing rustic and historic Park details like stone walls, wooden railing and benches, and a flagpole, and adding plantings that will grow around boulders to enhance the sites’ rugged character. At the Fort Clinton overlook, we are conserving two cannons salvaged from the wreck of the British ship HMS Hussar, which sank in the East River in 1780. We plan to install the cannons at Fort Clinton later this year.
East Side between 106th Street and 107th Street.