Situated in Bayside, Queens, Fort Totten has been turned into more than just an abandoned fortification, but has instead developed into a beautiful park surrounding the preserved Civil War fortress for which the park gained its name, acting as both a place for leisure and history.
Constructed in 1862 after the purchase of the site by the U.S. Government from the Willets famly, the fort had a long history of use for a wide variety of military purposes until 1974 when it fell into disuse. As well as being a park, Fort Totten also gives tours, and has a visitors center both of which educate visitors on the history of the place. The Officer’s Club, or ‘The Castle’ as it is known, is also home to the ‘Bayside Historical Society’ and is listed on the ‘National Register of Historic Places’.
The New York Fire Department and New York Police Department use the fort as training centers, but mostly it’s for the public, with green spaces for relaxing or enjoying a day in the park there is also a sports complex with an outdoor pool, soccer and baseball fields.
Matt Lambros of the Untapped series ‘After the Final Curtain’ scouted the location with a friend and found himself repeatedly drawn to the site and inspired to photograph the abandoned buildings. Although the series focuses on the abandoned buildings themselves, what particularly interested him about the location was finding and reading the inscriptions carved into the walls by the soldiers who were stationed there.