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Gateway

National Recreation Area

In New York City, and in northeastern New Jersey, on Sandy Hook peninsula

Gateway, one of two major urban national parks in the country, offers residents of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania a national-park experience with diverse cultural, historical, and recreational opportunities. It is the nations fifth most visited national park site, with more than 7 million visitors each year. The recreation area includes Jamaica Bay in Queens and Brooklyn; Staten Island; and Sandy Hook in New Jersey. The park was authorized on October 17, 1972.

WHAT TO SEE & DO

Attending ethnic and special events, beach-going, bicycling, bird-watching, boating, fishing, hiking, jogging, participating in organized athletics, sunbathing, swimming, touring forts and lighthouses, walking. Facilities: 5 visitor centers: Floyd Bennett Field, Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Fort Tilden, Fort Wadsworth, Sandy Hook. Ecology Village (Jamaica Bay), Canarsie Pier, Great Kills Park Beach Center, Fort Hancock Museum, Fort Hancock History House, Sandy Hook Lighthouse, Battery Potter, beaches, trails, waysides, boardwalk, theater. At Jamaica Bay Unit: picnic areas, bookshop, marina, car-top boating ramp (Floyd Bennett Field). At Staten Island Unit: picnic areas, bookshop, marina and boat-launching ramp (Great Kills Park). At Sandy Hook Unit: picnic areas, bookshop and map sales area, beach concessions, and ferry service. Programs & Events: Ranger-led programs and walks (several times weekly, weekends). Outdoor programs (May-Oct.). At Jamaica Bay Unit: Canarsie Pier Concert Series (June-Aug.), Fort Tilden Concert Series (June-Aug.). At Staten Island Unit: New York City Five Borough Bike Tour (May), Metropolitan Opera Concert (June), New York Philharmonic Orchestra Concert (July), New York City Half Marathon (Oct.), New York City Marathon (Nov.). At Sandy Hook Unit: Clearwater Festival (Aug.), Beach Concert Series (June-Aug.). Tips & Hints: Watch for deer ticks. Get to Sandy Hook beach early on summer weekends. Access can be limited or closed between 10 and 3. Best weather: Apr.-Oct. Go in spring and fall to see migrating bird species, and Sept. and Oct. to see monarch butterflies. Busiest July and Aug., least crowded Jan. and Feb.

FOOD & LODGING

 Camping: 2 campgrounds in the park: Floyd Bennett Field (tel. 718/ 338-4306); Sandy Hook (tel. 732/872-5970). Near Matawan, NJ: Cheesequake State Park (300 Gordon Rd., tel. 732/566-2161; 53 sites; $15; flush toilets, showers). Restaurants: In Jamaica Bay Unit: restaurant at Canarsie Pier, snack bar at Riis Park Boardwalk (Memorial Day-Labor Day). In Staten Island Unit: snack bar and evening bar at Carriage House at Fort Wadsworth, seasonal snack bar and roving meal mobiles at Miller Field and Great Kills. In Sandy Hook Unit: Meals at Seagulls Nest Restaurant (tel. 732/872-0025; $6-$14), seasonal snack bars at beach houses.

FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS

Free. Sandy Hook parking fee Memorial Day-Labor Day: $8 weekdays, $10 weekends. $25 annual fee for anglers to use designated parking lots. Leashed dogs only. No dogs on swimming beach Mar. 15-Labor Day at Sandy Hook or at Great Kills Park. Permit required to drive on beach at Breezy Point. No off-road bicycling in park. No horse trails. Park open daily sunrise-sunset except in designated fishing-beach areas that are covered under a permit. Visitor center hours: At Jamaica Bay, Fort Tilden Visitor Center open daily 8:30-5; Ryan Visitor Center at Floyd Bennett Field open daily 8:30-5; Canarsie Pier open daily 9-4:30; Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge open daily 8:30-5. At Staten Island Unit, Fort Wadsworth open Wed.-Sun. 10-5. Sandy Hook visitor center open daily 10-5.

HOW TO GET THERE

Breezy Point District is on Rockaway Peninsula in Queens. Take Flat-bush Ave. (Exit 11S) off Belt Pkwy. over the Marine Park Bridge. The Jamaica Bay District is in Brooklyn. Take Flatbush Ave. (Exit 11S) off Belt Pkwy. The Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge is in Queens. Take Cross Bay Blvd. (Exit 17S) off Belt Pkwy. Closest airports: JFK and La-Guardia Airports. Staten Island Unit: Fort Wadsworth is on Staten Island. Take Verrazano Narrows Bridge-Staten Island Expressway to Bay St. exit and follow signs. Miller Field is on Staten Island. Take New Dorp La. off Hylan Blvd. Great Kills Park is on Staten Island off Hylan Blvd. south of New Dorp La. Closest airport: Newark, NJ (10 mi). The Sandy Hook Unit is on Sandy Hook Peninsula in NJ. Take the Garden State Pkwy. to Exit 117, then Rte. 36 east past Highlands, NJ. Closest airport: Newark, N J (25 mi).

CONTACTS

Gateway National Recreation Area (Public Affairs Office, 210 New York Ave., Staten Island, NY 10305, tel. 718/354-4606, fax 718/338-6284). Jamaica Bay Unit Visitor Center (Floyd Bennett Field, Bldg. 69, Brooklyn, NY 11234, tel. 718/338-3799). Staten Island Unit, Fort Wadsworth Visitor Center (210 New York Ave., Staten Island, NY 10305, tel. 718/354-4500). Sandy Hook Unit Visitor Center (Box 530, Highland, NJ 07732, tel. 732/872-5970). New York State Dept. of Economic Development, Division of Tourism (Box 2603, Albany, NY 12220-0603, tel. 800/225-5697). New Jersey Department of Tourism and Travel (Box 826, 20 W. State St., Trenton, NJ 08625, tel. 800/537-7397).

Gateway National Recreation Area.  Basic information for tourists visiting the Gateway National Recreation Area  In New York City, and in northeastern New Jersey, on Sandy Hook peninsula

Gateway National Recreation Area.  Basic information for tourists visiting the Gateway National Recreation Area  In New York City, and in northeastern New Jersey, on Sandy Hook peninsula