Just a short ride from the ferry on the north shore of Staten Island, New York, along the Kill Van Kull, lies the Snug Harbor Cultural Center—a collection of museums and gardens housed in and around 26 historic Greek revival, beaux arts, Italianate, and Victorian-style buildings. Although its buildings house arts organizations, Snug Harbor's origins are distinctly nautical.
During the mid-1700s, Scottish immigrant Thomas Randall made a sizable fortune in New York as a sea captain, ship owner, merchant, and privateer. In 1770, with a group of colonial merchants, he organized the Marine Society of New York City, whose goal was to raise funds to help indigent and distressed seamen and their orphans and widows. Randall bequeathed his large property holdings around Manhattan Island for the establishment of a "Sailors' Snug Harbor"—a refuge for old salts.