Governors Island is a 172-acre island in the heart of New York Harbor. Just minutes from Lower Manhattan and the Brooklyn waterfront by ferry, the Island is a popular seasonal destination open to visitors from May to October. An award-winning park complements its dozens of historic buildings, year-round educational and cultural facilities, rich arts and culture program and 22-acre National Monument managed by the National Park Service.
Looking ahead, the long-term vision for Governors Island focuses expanding public access year-round by enlivening it with transformative public art and culture, extraordinary recreational and open space, and research and education dedicated to addressing the global climate crisis. With unparalleled historic, natural and waterfront resources, Governors Island will be activated as a year-round, vibrant, and constantly evolving public place and resource for all New Yorkers to enjoy.
Today three entities act as stewards and advocates: the Trust for Governors Island, the National Park Service and the Friends of Governors Island.
City of New York and the Trust for Governors Island
In 2003, the federal government sold 150 acres of Governors Island back to the people of New York, with the Island’s governance and funding jointly shared by the City of New York and State of New York. The Island’s remaining 22 acres were declared the Governors Island National Monument, which is overseen by the National Park Service.
The City of New York is now responsible for Governors Island and created the Trust for Governors Island, the organization charged with the operations, planning, and redevelopment of 150 acres of the island. The mayor appoints the Trust’s 13-member board, four of whom are nominated by local officials. The organization seeks to revitalize Governors Island as a destination with vibrant public open spaces and educational, nonprofit, and commercial facilities.
In 2014, the Trust opened 30 new acres of the island to the public for the first time. It also broke ground on The Hills, a planned land feature that will be Governors Island’s crown jewel. In addition, the Trust embarked on an ambitious infrastructure program that will support the island’s historic buildings and their tenants, fulfilling the organization’s goal of transforming Governors Island into an extraordinary public resource with a lively mix of uses and activities.
Governors Island Historic District
In 1985, 93 acres of the island’s 172 acres was declared a National Historic Landmark District. A slightly smaller district was recognized by New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission in 1996, a designation that added even greater protection to Governors Island’s stately homes and landscaped grounds.