Tag: Beacon NY

Bannerman Island Castle  POB 843  Glenham, NY 12527

Bannerman Island Castle POB 843 Glenham, NY 12527

I recently visited Bannerman Island (Pollepel Island) just outside of Beacon, New York on a cool cloudy day and I highly recommend the twenty minute boat trip to this mysterious and scenic island. The only way to visit the island is by boat or kayak and the ride is very quick depending on the weather and the waves on the Hudson River.

Once you get to the island, you are greeted by the tour guide and then have to walk up 74 steps from the harbor to the ridge of the island so this is NOT ADA compliant.  At the top of the stairs starts the path around the island. Our tour guide that lead the tour had been there since the tours started in 2004 and gave us many insights on the history of the island and its purpose to the Bannerman family.

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Bannerman Island

Our first stop was the Bannerman Munitions Storage facilities that were in the form of a castle that can be seen from the rail system up to Poughkeepsie, NY. For years I thought (as most people do) that this was a home but it was the Bannerman Munitions Warehouse for all the Army surplus items that Mr. Bannerman had brought up here from New York City. All the Military items were stored up here and the orders were fulfilled from this island.

The company has not been in business since the early 60’s and when the children of the founder closed the company after the laws in the Federal Government changed to where private citizens could not sell explosive, it put a damper into operations. In 1967, the storage buildings were destroyed by fire and the compound was a shell of the former factory. The home was also abandoned at the top of the ridge when the family sold the island.

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The Bannerman Island Munitions Storage Facility

Once you leave the former storage facility which is now being held up by stilts because the structure is so weak, you will proceed up the path past the formal gardens that are planted along the trail. The local garden clubs now come to the island to replant Mrs. Bannerman’s formal gardens and beautify the island.

At the top of the point, there is the former home of the Bannerman family that is currently under renovation. It houses a quick tour of the family and there is a small gift shop inside. The porch area has the most amazing views of the Hudson River and the surrounding mountains. Here the Friends of Bannerman Island show movies in the warmer months and hold plays just outside the home. The last movie had been “Abbott and Costello Meet the Frankenstein”, which had been sold out according to the tour guide.

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The Bannerman House and Gardens

As you exit the tour, you will be heading down another flight of stairs to go back to the harbor. Please watch out for poison ivy! It is all over the place. Then it is back on the boat to the Beacon harbor. The tour guide gives you plenty of time to take pictures.

The tours are finished at the end of October and will reopen again in the Spring. You must book on line for the tours through the State website and the boats only hold 44 people so be sure to book in advance of when you want to go.

I had lucked out in that three people did not show up for the 2:00pm tour and I was able to pay cash for the trip.

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For the views alone it is well worth the trip.

 

History of Bannerman Castle on Pollepel Island:

Bannerman Castle was built from 1901-1918 by Frank Bannerman IV as a warehouse to store his collection of antique military equipment from the Spanish American and Civil Wars. Bannerman was the father of the Army Navy Store. His  world famous catalogue of military equipment became the “go to” source for collectors.

The island housed seven structures that formed the Scottish baronial castle, including workers apartments, a summer residence and beautiful trails and gardens.

A great fire in 1969 destroyed the interiors and left the shells you see today. Bannerman island opened for tours in 2004.

 

History of Francis Bannerman VI:

Francis Bannerman VI was born on March 24th, 1851 in Northern Ireland and emigrated to the United States in 1854. The family moved to Brooklyn, NY and began a military surplus business by the Brooklyn Navy Yard purchasing army surplus after the Civil War. The family continued to grow the business by buying weapons directly from the Spanish Government before it evacuated Cuba and then purchased 90% of the munitions actioned off by the Federal Government that had been capture by American forces at the close of the Spanish-American War.

The family bought the island in 1900 to store the surplus items to their growing business. The warehouse in New York was too small and too dangerous to keep in the City anymore and they could keep their inventory isolated on the island.

The castle was visible from the water and had a giant advertisement sign right on the arsenal “Bannerman’s Island Arsenal” created into the wall of the building. With the change in federal and state laws on selling military weapons and the sinking of the ferryboat that served the island by 1950, the island was abandoned. The island and its buildings were bought by New York State in 1967 and is now run by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

(This information is a combination from Wiki and the island pamphlet)

 

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Dia: Beacon 3 Beekman Street New York, NY 12508

Dia: Beacon 3 Beekman Street New York, NY 12508

Dia: Beacon

3 Beekman Street

New York, NY  12508

(845) 440-0100

https://www.diaart.org/visit/visit/diabeacon-beacon-united-states

https://www.diaart.org/visit/visit

Open: Sunday & Monday 11:00am-6:00pm/ Closed Tuesday & Wednesday/Thursday-Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm

Fee: General Admission $15.00/Seniors & Students $12.00/Children Free under 12

My review on TripAdvisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g47291-d273538-Reviews-Dia_Beacon-Beacon_New_York.html?m=19905

 

I visited the Dia: Beacon in Beacon, NY today and I have to say that is an interesting space.  The museum is sited on thirty-one acres on the banks of the Hudson River and is adjacent to ninety acres of riverfront parkland. The museum is located in a former printing plant built in 1929 by Nabisco (National Biscuit Company) (Wiki).

The Dia: Beacon presents Dia Art Foundation’s collection of art from the 1960’s to the present as well as special exhibitions, performances and public programs. The Dia invited artist Robert Irwin to conceive the master plan for a twenty-century museum that retained the original character of the factory’s interior spaces, Irwin also designed seasonally changing garden throughout the surrounding landscape. Following the renovation, the Dia: Beacon was added to the National Register of Historic Places (Dia: Beacon Museum).

Dia Art Foundation:

Founded in 1974, Dia Art Foundation is committed to advancing, realizing and preserving the vision of artists. In addition to Dia: Beacon, Dia maintains a constellation of iconic, permanent artworks and installations in New York City, the American West and Germany (Dia Museum).

Some of the Art work in the Museum:

The one thing about the Dia is that the works are quite large and pack a bold statement.  John Chamberlain created interesting works with the bodies of mangled cars and each one on the first floor galleries. The whole gallery looks one giant automobile accident.

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The Chamberlain Gallery

Louise Bourgeois has displayed some interesting sculptures that dominate the upper floors. One of the most fascinating pieces was that of a large spider that dominates the corner of the floor.

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This is a rather creepy piece of art like something out of the movie “It”.

Artist Dan Flavin has some interesting light sculptures on display along the walls and floors of the gallery. Things are made of long fluorescent lights of various colors.

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Artist Dan Flavin’s light sculptures

In the main gallery as you walk in are the large geometric shapes of artist Charlotte Posenenske who created these pieces in various colors and shapes. These pieces line the floors and walls.

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The geometric shapes of artist Charlotte Posenenske

 

Each of the galleries are devoted one artist’s work and these galleries make their own statements. There is also a really nice bookstore and gift shop on the extension of the museum and small restaurant.

It is nice to just walk around in your own time and visit each of the galleries. Plan about two hours to see the whole museum. It is an interesting place to see contemporary art in a gallery that is devoted to one artist at a time.

Dia

The outside grounds of the museum and the parking lot makes it own statement. There is not much parking so plan on getting there early or later in the afternoon.