NYC Parks helps New Yorkers relive the Battle of Fort Washington

NYC Parks Department and the Fort Tryon Park Trust hosted a reenactment of the Battle of Fort Washington on Nov. 14.
Photo courtesy of Sarkis Bahar

New Yorkers were transported back in time on Sunday to the 18th century Battle of Fort Washington.

This month marks the 245th anniversary of the Battle of Fort Washington, a momentous skirmish during the Revolutionary War that took place in Fort Tryon Park. Commemorating the historic occasion nearly two and a half centuries later, NYC Parks Department and the Fort Tryon Park Trust welcomed visitors into the days of yore with an epic reenactment, games, live music, and arts and crafts.

A general overlooks battle plans. Photo courtesy of Sarkis Bahar

Visitors filed into the park, many of whom arrived dressed for a bygone era in order to fully immerse themselves in a day brimming with historical significance. Taking place from noon to 3 p.m., the educational showcase employed actors to demonstrate life over 200 years ago.

From generals hunched over in their tents plotting their battle plans and soldiers arming their rifles, to blacksmiths showcasing the ways of the forge for onlookers and cooking demonstrations, there were plenty of sights and sounds for families to enjoy.

“Fort Tryon Park is both a scenic greenspace and a historic site, and we’re proud to commemorate its role in the Revolutionary War with this annual event. This year’s talks with Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Zaq Landsberg highlighted his artistic tribute to Margaret Corbin as we looked back on the contributions of patriots like her who fought for American freedom 245 years ago,” said a representative from NYC Parks Department.

Blacksmith demonstrates his craft. Photo courtesy of Sarkis Bahar

In addition to the grand showcase, artist Zaq Landsberg gave two free talks about his art piece, “Tomb Effigy of Margaret Corbin,” commemorating the first woman to fight for the United States. He told spectators that the sculpture was exhibited near the site where she was wounded during the Battle of Fort Washington in 1776. Corbin’s valor was not fully acknowledged until the wake of the Women’s Suffrage movement when the Daughters of the American Revolution were able to verify and spread awareness in 1926 of her legacy.  Landsberg aimed to acknowledge Corbin’s part in the war but also the historical aspect of Fort Tryon’s Medieval Cloisters. 

Artist Zaq Landsberg’s art piece, “Tomb Effigy of Margaret Corbin,” commemorates the first woman to fight for the United States. Photo courtesy of Daniela Garza Maldonado

“It was special to talk about my artwork at this event, on this day, in this place, because the heart of the piece is deliberately putting together specific pieces to tell a particular story, and the Battle Reenactment, the changing legacy of the historical Margaret Corbin, the Cloisters and the Linden Terrace at the park itself are doing the same thing,” artist Landsberg said, who is the 2020 recipient of NYC Parks’ Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award and was granted $10,000 for this installation.

Actors showcased life in 1776. Photo courtesy of Sarkis Bahar
There were cooking demonstrations as well as arts and crafts. Photo courtesy of Sarkis Bahar