Her vital statistics and historical facts can be neatly recorded, but she defies classification. She is a late 19th-century engineering wonder; a monument of art; an architectural form; and she speaks eloquently - if silently - for the spirit of liberty. She stands in New York Harbor but belongs to the whole nation. Her essence combines the tangible with the intangible. She is the Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World.
To assist vessels navigate the length of Long Island lighthouses were built at Montauk Point and Fire Island. However, this left a dark hole between the two stations, and in 1854 the Lighthouse Board successfully petitioned Congress to construct a station at Shinnecock, almost midway between the two. These three major seacost lights would ensure that the mariner always had at least one light in sight as he navigated along the south shore of Long Island.
Over the past century and a half, a slice of lighthouse history on the Staten Island waterfront, just across New York Harbor from lower Manhattan, has seen its fortunes rise and fall. Now, it may again be on the rise—and back in the service of lighthouses.
Perhaps no other light station on Long Island has experienced as many ups and downs as Cedar Island. From the glory of Sag Harbor’s whaling days and the laughter of many children, through erosion, storms, and abandonment, to the current struggle just to remain standing, this light station has had its share of good times, as well as bad.