! Alert

Governors Island is now open to the public year-round, every day from 7am-6pm. Ferries run daily from Manhattan, click here to view schedules and book tickets.

Governors Island is now open to the public year-round, every day from 7am-6pm. Ferries run daily from Manhattan, click here to view schedules and book tickets.

Planning and Governance

Gov­er­nance

The City of New York estab­lished The Trust for Gov­er­nors Island as a non­prof­it orga­ni­za­tion and instru­men­tal­i­ty of the City of New York, charged with man­ag­ing the Island’s ongo­ing oper­a­tions, plan­ning and devel­op­ment. The Trust owns 150 acres of the island and has a con­tract with the City to oper­ate and rede­vel­op it. Ten­ants exe­cute short, medi­um, or long-term leas­es. As land­lord, the Trust owns and man­ages the island’s prop­er­ties and facil­i­tates or direct­ly pro­vides cer­tain island-wide services.

The remain­ing 22 acres of the Island are owned and man­aged by the Nation­al Park Ser­vice as the Gov­er­nors Island Nation­al Mon­u­ment. For more infor­ma­tion on NPS prop­er­ties, please vis­it nps​.gov/gois.

Plan­ning History

For near­ly two cen­turies, Gov­er­nors Island was closed to the pub­lic, oper­at­ing as a mil­i­tary instal­la­tion. Thanks to over a decade of advo­ca­cy, plan­ning and city invest­ment, the Island is now a unique and beloved year-round pub­lic des­ti­na­tion with plans for expand­ed edu­ca­tion­al, non-prof­it and com­mer­cial tenancies.

1996

Coast Guard Departs

After nearly 2 centuries as a military installation, US Coast Guard departs Governors Island.

2001

A National Monument

President Bill Clinton designates 22 acres as the Governors Island National Monument.

2003

Return to the People of New York

The federal government sells the remaining 150 acres of Governors Island to the people of the City and State of New York for a nominal cost. Provisions in the deed ensured that much of the Island would be used for public benefit. The Island later welcomed its first visitors in 2005.

2010

City Control

The State of New York transfers 150 acres of Governors Island to full City control, beginning a decade of nearly $400M in investment, including a new park and infrastructure upgrades. The Trust for Governors Island is founded as the entity responsible for the Island’s ongoing planning, operations and development.

2010

Master Plan

The plan outlines 43 acres of new park space, improvements to Historic District landscapes, and designates 33 acres of area for future development to support the Island’s expanded public access and long-term financial sustainability.

2010

First Tenants

The Harbor School, a New York City public high school, restored Building 555 to provide a college-prep curriculum focused on maritime careers and environmental stewardship. The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council restored Building 110, including an expanded renovation in 2019, as a year-round shared, multidisciplinary space providing a retreat-style artist residency and public exhibitions.

2013

North Island Rezoning

The North Island Historic District is rezoned to allow for a broad range of educational, commercial, and non-profit uses within the Island’s over 50 landmarked buildings in compliance with the Island’s deed. The rezoning was a major step towards unlocking investment and new tenancies within the Island’s historic buildings.

2016

Park Completed

With the opening of the Hills on Governors Island, the crowning achievement of the new park, 43 acres of open space were complete for New Yorkers to enjoy.

2020

The Island's Next Chapter

With the park now complete, the Island is poised for growth as a year-round public place, with new educational, cultural and commercial facilities anchored by a center for climate solutions.

Deed Require­ments and Restrictions

When the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment trans­ferred the island to local con­trol, it estab­lished a set of required, per­mit­ted, and pro­hib­it­ed use covenants for Island prop­er­ties, as well as his­toric preser­va­tion covenants for the his­toric dis­trict. The deed also includes a pro­vi­sion that all rev­enues gen­er­at­ed on-Island shall be applied to Gov­er­nors Island. These covenants guide and con­trol devel­op­ment on the island and can only be altered with the agree­ment of the Unit­ed States Depart­ment of the Interior.

Required Uses

90+ acres for pub­lic ben­e­fit, including:

  • 40+ acres of parkland
  • 20+ acres of edu­ca­tion­al use, includ­ing stu­dent and fac­ul­ty housing

Per­mit­ted Uses

  • Arts and culture
  • Recre­ation and entertainment
  • Hos­pi­tal­i­ty, includ­ing hotel, con­fer­ence and banquet
  • Retail, ser­vice and din­ing facilities
  • Health facil­i­ties
  • Com­mer­cial offices and mixed use
  • Pub­lic works
  • Hous­ing for Island care­tak­ers and on-Island police and fire
  • Short-term and extend­ed stay accommodations

Pro­hib­it­ed Uses

  • Casi­nos
  • Indus­tri­al
  • Park­ing and pow­er gen­er­a­tion for use off the island
  • Res­i­den­tial, except as oth­er­wise express­ly permitted

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.