Did You Know that NYC has its Own Naval Militia? [HISTORY]

Posted on: February 24th, 2017 at 9:49 am by

naval-militia

Ever heard of the New York Naval Militia? I hadn’t, but now that I have, why not share?

From their website:

The New York Naval Militia was organized as a Provisional Naval Battalion in 1889 and was formally mustered into State service as the First Battalion, Naval Reserve Artillery, on 23 June 1891.

Today, the New York Naval Militia is the only federally recognized Naval Militia with continuous, unbroken service dating back to the 1890s. Its members are proud of the Naval Militia’s long history and tradition of voluntarism and service to the Nation and to the State of New York, and have dedicated themselves to carrying this tradition into the future.

Their first call to duty came a year after organization – to protect steam ship passengers during the 1892 cholera quarantine on Fire Island. Below is an image of an angry mob on Fire Island preventing the landing of the cholera-stricken S.S. Normannia. Riots were commonplace as locals were none too happy that the Governor purchased the island and designated the southern portion for the purposes of quarantining sick passengers.

harpers-weekly-sept-24-1892-mob-at-fire-island-normania-passengers

appletons-vol-7

appletons-vol-7-2

Appletons Vol. 7

Its next major deployment was protecting the Harbor during the Spanish American War. But today’s focus is actually the protection of our beloved East River crossings during World War I.

Sea Power Magazine, March 1917

Sea Power Magazine, March 1917

Sea Power Magazine, March 1917

Sea Power Magazine, March 1917

The caption above reads:

A NAVAL MILITIA SENTRY PATROLLING HIS BEAT UNDER THE MANHATTAN BRIDGE. THE WRECKING OF THIS STRUCTURE WOULD BLOCK THE CHANNEL BETWEEN THE NAVY YARD AND THE SEA.

Sidebar: The Brooklyn Navy Yard is so much more than a new hipster hangout and industrial park. The 10 buildings dubbed Admiral’s Row built between the 1860s and 1901 dramatically deteriorated and were therefore destroyed just this past year.  RIP to the Admirals. The Army Corp. of Engineers did say they were salvageable and should receive their landmark status…developers disagreed as per usual. Shame.

More on the Brooklyn Navy Yard here.

The Naval Militia was an intimidating presence at the time. The job they set out to do was successful; the jobs they continue to do are successful.

To those protecting our city today – we may not always see you walking the beat, but we know you’re there. Salute.

Recent Stories

Mayor Adams Vetoes Bill to Fine Non-Artists Residents in Upzoned SoHo and NoHo

The SoHo/NoHo Rezoning saga took a new turn last Friday when Mayor Eric Adams vetoed the controversial bill (Intro 2443A). The last-minute legislation, introduced by former Councilmember Chin, would levy fines against residents occupying JLWQA units without official “artist certification.” The odd JLWQA acronym isn’t the call sign of some defunct NYC radio station; it […]

Gaia Cafe Planning February Return with New Essex Street Locale

Gaia Italian Cafe, a locals favorite, is gearing up for a return. An early pandemic victim, Gaia shuttered its sub-level operations in the summer of 2020 after nearly a decade on East Houston. Then word came through last July that namesake chef-owner Gaia Bagnasacco signed a lease for the ground floor of 119 Essex Street, […]

‘Be My Baby’ and a Strange 1965 Visit to Parisi Bakery (Ronnie Spector RIP)

Ronnie Spector, the chanteuse who fronted the Ronettes in the 1960s with her signature vocal yearning, died yesterday. She was 78. She passed after “a brief battle with cancer,” according to a statement from her family. In tribute to her life and music, we’re re-publishing the following piece from a few years ago highlighting the […]

The Decimated State of East River Park

It’s full throttle with East River Park demolition. Nothing now stands in the way of the $1.45 billion coastal resiliency project. Tree stumps dot the park from East Houston to Corlears Hook, onetime green space which now resembles the blackened wasteland of a post-apocalyptic novel. In all, some 990 trees are being sawed into submission. […]

How to Help Essex Card Shop Rebuild After Devastating Fire on Avenue A

Monday afternoon, a two-alarm fire ripped through 47 Avenue A, destroying the long-running Essex Card Shop. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, Saba Aslam, daughter of the shop owner, launched a GoFundMe campaign to help rebuild the business. “Every single corner of this store is burned, damaged, and destroyed,” the appeal proclaims. […]