Jeffrey's Hook Lighthouse, better known to many as the Little Red Lighthouse, is located right under the George Washington Bridge, in Fort Washington Park. And the Parks Department is having the 15th Annual Little Red Lighthouse Festival today between 12PM and 5PM, with hayrides, face painting, the antics of a stiltwalker, live music, and tours of Manhattan's only lighthouse.
The lighthouse was erected in 1880 and stood in Sandy Hook, NJ until 1917. In 1921, it was reconstructed and placed in Manhattan at 178th Street and the Hudson River to help navigation along the river. Interestingly, after the GWB was completed, the Coast Guard decommissioned the lighthouse in 1948 and planned to auction it off, but by then, the lighthouse had been become beloved through the 1942 book by Hildegarde Swift with illustrations by Lynd Ward, The Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Gray Bridge. The lighthouse was then preserved and jurisdiction was shifted to the Parks Department.
The Parks Department explains that the book presents the lighthouse as a "symbol of the significance a small thing in a big world," and notes that "today the icon is celebrated as a reminder of our city’s history and the lesson of the book—that even small things can be important." Naturally, today's festival will also include readings of the book.
This year, the lighthouse boasts a new coat of red paint, courtesy of a $45,000 gift from Benjamin Moore. The Parks Department says the event, which is on rain or shine, will have "shuttle buses available from Plaza Lafayette on West 181st Street from 12:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. or follow the signs and arrows over the footbridge."