Governors Island in New York County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The Fort Jay Theater
On Governors Island, a boat ride away from the activities of New York City, entertainment could be hard to come by. Nevertheless, performances were a part of life on the Island for many years. Early performances took place in an old YMCA building near Castle Williams, then in the new YMCA (sill standing) next door to this theater. In 1939, a new movie theater was constructed under the supervision of the Army Motion Picture Service, which was responsible for theaters on bases across the country. First-run movies were shown here, as well as productions from an active live theater program. During 1941, draftees with experience in civilian theater were called on to produce and stage professional quality shows to raise troop morale.
In order to support the war effort, Broadway music composer Irving Berlin helped produce a show about World War II called “This is the Army.” The show was inspired by a performance he saw at the Fort Jay Theater in 1942. The theater continued to show movies to Army and then Coast Guard personnel and their families until the base closed in 1996. At that time, double features of first-run films on Friday night cost two dollars!
Location. 40° 41.263′ N, 74° 1.052′ W. Marker is in Governors Island, New York, in Touch for map. Marker is located on Governors Island, on Owasco Road between Division Road and Clayton Road. Marker is in this post office area: New York NY 10004, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Polo on Governors Island (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Yankee Pier (about 300 feet away); Division Road (about 300 feet away); Comfort Road (about 300 feet away); Colonels’ Row (about 400 feet away); Meuse-Argonne Point (about 400 feet away); Reagan-Gorbachev Meeting 1988 (about 500 feet away); The South Battery (about 600 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Governors Island.
More about this marker. Two photos of the theater appear at the right of the marker. One depicts “The Fort Jay Theater seen soon after its 1939 construction.” Above this is an interior photo with the caption “Performance space as seen today in the YMCA, next door to the Fort Jay Theater.”
Also see . . .
1. History of Governors Island. The Trust for Governors Island website. (Submitted on September 15, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
2. Governors Island. New York Harbor Parks website. (Submitted on September 15, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
3. Governors Island National Monument. National Park Service website. (Submitted on September 15, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.)
Categories. • Arts, Letters, Music •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 15, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 316 times since then and 19 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 15, 2011, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.