The Little Red Lighthouse (also known as Jeffrey’s Hook Light) under the George Washington Bridge in New York City shined more than once this past September. On September 19, 2002 at approximately 8 p.m., the Little Red Lighthouse shined its beacon on the Hudson River for the first time in over 50 years. The historic occasion on the Hudson was a culmination of months of work by the NYC Parks Dept and the Historic House Trust in securing the lighthouse as a private aid to navigation, and the cooperation of the U. S. Coast Guard in supplying the 300mm lens. The Coast Guard was also instrumental in expediting the paper work to have the light relit.
The lighting ceremony took place on a clear NYC evening beneath the George Washington Bridge, accompanied by the historic fireboat John Harvey honoring Little Red with a beautiful water display when the Little Red Lighthouse was lit. On land, the lucky few to attend the ceremony had the chance to witness the Little Red Lighthouse shine brighter than the Great Gray Bridge on that special night. The beacon is visible for five nautical miles, but on that night, it appeared it could be seen forever.
The lighting of the Little Red kicked off the 10th Annual Little Red Lighthouse Festival on September 21. The festival was cancelled last year because of the 9-11 tragedy in NYC, but this year the festival grew even larger in support than any previous year with an estimated crowd of over 7000 visitors. The festival had a special feel to it this year with the start of the fifth annual Little Red Lighthouse Swim, which began at the lighthouse and finished at Chelsea Piers. The brave swimmers entered the water at about 1 p.m. and swam with the tide over 7.8 miles to the finish.
Another tradition at the festival each year is the reading of the children’s book The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge, and this year they had two special guest readers—actor James Earl Jones and author Carol Higgins Clark. Their different interpretations of the book pleased both children and adults alike. In addition, to make this year’s reading even more special, the Little Red Lighthouse was designated as a Literary Landmark. The festival was important to the healing process of New Yorkers, and all in attendance were very, very proud.
Jim Crowley is the author of the book Lighthouses of New York and webmaster of www.nylighthousephotos.com.
This story appeared in the
December 2002 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.
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