Top Things To Do Opening Week


We're officially open for Springtime fun beginning May 1! From cycling to flower blossom watching, there's something for everyone. Here's our guide for the best ways to experience the park, free exhibits opening in our historic houses and spring activities for all ages during opening week on Governors Island:

Look for colorful blooms in our park

This is the first year you'll see spring in full bloom in our park. Keep an eye out for purple florals during opening week. The rain has brought out blossoms on our magnolias, cherries, crabapple trees and eastern red buds. The park's brilliant yellow daffodils, donated by our friends at New Yorkers for Parks just popped too!

Stay late and watch the sunset

Visitors rarely get to take in the views of the NYC skyline and Lady Liberty from the Hills in the glow of the sunset so you don't want to miss this! Stay late with us on Friday, May 5 until 9PM for live music, food and sunset viewing at Liggett Terrace and the Hills.

Run, cycle and recreate in front of Lady Liberty

The Island is YOUR park, and an unforgettable place to play. Over 7 miles of car-free paths await. Bike rentals are available from Blazing Saddles and are FREE from 10AM-12PM, and you can event rent a bicycle built for 2 (or 6)!

Conquer NYC's Longest Slide

If you didn't get to the Hills last season, be sure to pay them a visit during opening week. Slide Hill is a must-do for kids (and the young at heart), with four slides of varying lengths available to try out. For the more adventurous, conquer our long, winding 57 foot slide, the longest in New York City!

Learn about our Island bird friends

Visit the New York City Audubon Society's summer house in Nolan Park for free bird walks, activities and book nooks for kids and info about birds and their natural habitats. The best part? The house is open every day!

Preview the HoloCenter's summer exhibit

Push your senses with experimental visual technology and check out the HoloCenter Museum's first group show of the season, 'Ripple Effect'. The Museum is open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays but don't miss a special preview of the show from 2-4PM on Monday, May 1!

Douse yourself in color and celebrate diversity at Holi Hai

Mark your calendars for the first Saturday of the season and join us for NYC Holi Hai Spring Color Festival! Dance to the beat of live Indian drums, see dance performances and eat delicious food all while throwing color onto each other. This event is free and is family friendly. Attendees are encouraged to wear white and should be prepared to get messy and colorful!

Visit the Empire State Center for the Book's Children's Book Weekend

New to Nolan Park this summer is literary magic from the Empire State Center for the Book. Families should be sure to stop by Children's Book Weekend Saturday and Sunday, which will include fourteen authors reading stories from their books over the course of the weekend

Check out more events and exhibits during opening week and throughout the season.

NYC Ferry to Sail to Governors Island


NYC Ferry launches May 1, and the shiny new vessels will provide more direct service to Governors Island on weekends this year from waterfront neighborhoods in Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan! The newly relaunched East River Route will provide direct connections starting Saturday, May 6, the first weekend of the Governors Island season. The new South Brooklyn Route, scheduled to launch Thursday, June 1, will begin providing direct connections to Governors Island starting Saturday, June 3.

The new ferries will be routed to and from Governors Island's Pier 102 on the Eastern tip of the Historic District. Fare is $2.75 per ride.

"Like the brand new NYC Ferry, Governors Island is opening a month ahead of time this year,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “By connecting the two, we celebrate our City's seafaring history and continue putting a premium on access to jobs, community, and recreation."

“NYC Ferry will transform how we travel along our great waterfront and plays a critical role in the future of Governors Island becoming a year-round resource for New York City. I applaud the Mayor and NYCEDC for delivering an affordable and easy way for commuters to travel between the City’s historic and new waterfront neighborhoods,” said Michael Samuelian, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “With an early start to our season and these improved ferry connections, more New Yorkers than ever will have the opportunity to enjoy Governors Island this year.”

On the South Brooklyn Route:

-The first ferry will depart for Governors Island from Brooklyn Bridge Park at 10:27am, and from Red Hook at 10:35am

-The last ferry will depart Governors Island for Red Hook at 6:48pm, and for Brooklyn Bridge Park at 6:56pm

On the East River Route:

-The first ferry will depart for Governors Island from DUMBO at 9:56am, and from Wall Street at 10:15am

-The last ferry will depart Governors Island for Wall Street at 6:21pm, and for DUMBO at 6:39pm

The Island is open every day from Monday, May 1 through Sunday, October 1. On weekdays, the Island is open from 10:00am to 6:00pm. On weekends, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, the Island is open from 10:00am to 7:00pm. The Island will be open on Tuesday, July 4 from 10:00am to 6:00pm. Detailed timetables, along with a map of all 2017 routes, can be viewed here. When NYC Ferry is fully launched in 2018, the combined routes will cover more than sixty miles of waterway.

New Beer Gardens Coming to Governors Island


Governors Island may be New York City's best place to picnic, but sometimes you may not want to bring your basket! We've got you covered this year with more dining options than ever.

This week, we announced that the Island's Liggett Terrace will offer not one but TWO pop up beer gardens! Island favorite Little Eva's returns for it's 6th season starting May 1, serving frozen drinks, sumptuous grilled plates and fresh grain salads featuring local and Island-grown produce in a seated atmosphere.

In addition, East Village veterans Alphabet City Beer Co. and Edi and the Wolf will bring the best of Avenue C to Governors Island with a season-long pop up, serving sausages, charcuterie, salads and even a beer brewed specially for Governors Island. YUM! Alphabet City Beer Co. / Edi and the Wolf will open in the Western corner of Liggett Terrace in May.

In January, we announced that Governors Island will also be home to Island Oyster this summer. Slated to open in early summer, Island Oyster, a pop-up oyster bar and beer garden from the crew behind Grand Banks, will bring a sustainable summer fare menu and signature cocktail program to the ferry landing at Governors Island. With sweeping views of New York Harbor, the Lower Manhattan skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge, Island Oyster will remain open into the evening hours (after the rest of the park closes), enabling guests to experience the best sunsets and nighttime views in New York City.

Stay tuned for more information on opening dates and hours, and be sure to include Governors Island on your NYC food & drink destination list this spring and summer. Cheers!

Zip Line & Wall Climb in View of the Statue of Liberty this Summer!


Calling all adventure seekers! Opportunities for recreation and play expand in 2017 on Governors Island near the Ball Fields. Opening early summer, Adventures at Governors Island is an affordable experience that brings interactive recreation and healthy family fun to visitors of all ages. New York City's first outdoor Amazing Maze that will challenge you to find your way out and beat the clock. You may compete in a race against time or wander at your own pace to find the way out.

A 3D Climb stands 24' tall and presents three unique climbing challenges. Soaring near Lady Liberty has never been more possible than it is on the Flywire double zip line. Providing the ultimate rush when zipping 300 feet across the sky while hanging free, the Flywire delivers an unforgettable experience. Feel the speed of 21 mph the length of an entire football field. Adventures at Governors Island is operated by New York Carousel.

Hours of operation will be announced in the coming weeks.

2017 Season Announced on Governors Island


The Trust for Governors Island (The Trust) today announced its 2017 public season. With an early opening, New Yorkers will be able to experience the spring season for the first time in one of New York City’s most beautiful public spaces. Building off an eventful 2016 season with a record-breaking 600,000 visitors, the Island will be activated with more programming and recreational activities than ever. A diverse array of arts, cultural and educational organizations, as well as brand new recreational activities will offer something for visitors of all ages. Governors Island opens to the public on Monday, May 1 and will be open every day through October 1.

“Governors Island is a treasure for the whole city, and an incredible magnet for culture and innovation,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We’re excited to kick off another great season and early opening for all New Yorkers to enjoy.”

“A visit to Governors Island is the easiest way to get away, and an extended season is our first step towards year-round activation with more opportunities to relax, play, learn and discover the jewel of the Harbor”, said Michael Samuelian, president of The Trust for Governors Island. “I invite every New Yorker to enjoy springtime for the first time on Governors Island. From grilling, cycling and lounging to exploring the arts and learning how to compost, we have something for everyone this year”.

Arts and culture are the heart and soul of Governors Island, and visitors will have the chance to explore more exhibits and programs than ever from both new organizations and familiar faces. Longstanding Island tenant Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) returns with an exciting array of arts programming at LMCC's Arts Center at Governors Island, including a solo exhibition with artist Kameelah Janan Rasheed, three Open Studios events showcasing works by their artists-in-residence, and the annual River To River Festival featuring MOAT, a performance and installation by Jodi Melnick and The Set Up: Island Ghost Sleep Princess Time Story Show, a series of performances by lead artists Wally Cardona and Jennifer Lacey.

Island favorites celebrating 10 years of programming include 4heads with their annual art fair and season-long children’s education programs in Colonels Row, the African Film Festival Family Fun Day and the Sculptors Guild’s Currently 80, curated by John Yau, including work by 50 of its present members in wood, clay, steel, stone, bronze, fabric, neon, paper, installations, and digital multi-media.

New art groups include the Staten Island based Labyrinth Arts Collective Face to Face: Imagine Thyself, an interactive weekend of mask making, portrait taking and celebration of individuality. The Public Works Department will present Sanctuary Cities, a global performance art project linking five cities along 17th century Dutch trade routes and exploring our interconnected histories against the backdrop of contemporary issues.

Education and exploration continues to be a key part of the Governors Island experience. This year, the Billion Oyster Project will showcase the importance of oysters to our local waterways in a season-long exhibition in Nolan Park. The New York Historical Society celebrates NYC and the Women’s Suffrage Movement through a teen-curated exhibition commemorating the 100-year anniversary of New York State granting women the right to vote. Visitors with a green thumb and a love for animals can visit the Island’s Urban Farm on weekends starting on May 27. GrowNYC will showcase the growing, harvesting and cooking of vegetables grown in their teaching garden. Earth Matter will continue to share methods of making compost, including how chickens and goats help ensure that there is no waste wasted on Governors Island.

New special events include the Island’s first ever free Holi Hai Spring Color Festival on opening weekend, where attendees will celebrate diversity through playing with colors, dancing and music. The New York Transit Museum will take a trip down memory lane with the Vintage Bus Bash on the Island, no bus fare required. Returning favorites include FIGMENT’s weekend of playful participatory art, the iconic Jazz Age Lawn Party, Family Fun Day hosted by the Friends of Governors Island, Pinknic, the Brooklyn Music Festival and City of Water Day.

For a full listing of our season announcements, read the press release, and visit our

See you on the ferry!

Volunteer on Governors Island


Are you looking to meet new people and spend some time in the sunlight, all while giving back to New York City’s most innovative green space? The Friends of Governors Island wants you!

Passionate volunteers are essential to keeping the Island welcoming and beautiful for all. Apply today to help make the Island come alive this season.

We are especially excited to announce a brand new Tour Guide position - volunteers will lead visitors on a journey through the past, present, and future of Governors Island.

Full 2017 Volunteer Opportunities:

Tour Guide: Receive in-depth training on the sights and stories of Governors Island and share your expert knowledge with the world. If you have a passion for public speaking -- or just love everything about Governors Island -- this is the perfect opportunity for you.

Island Ambassador: Welcome visitors, answer questions and help visitors take full advantage of the Island's exciting features, as well as share the daily line-up of special programs and events.

Governors Gardener: Get down in the dirt by tending to the Island's sprawling meadows, young forest groves, beautiful flowerbeds, and brand new landscaped hillsides.

Volunteering on Governors Island is an excellent way to meet like-minded people and get the inside scoop on the workings of this vibrant oasis.

Volunteers get some great perks:
Free ferry to the Island and off-season access
Free Governors Island volunteer t-shirt
10% discount on souvenirs and merchandise
Free admission to various events and programs run by the Friends of Governors Island
Exciting professional development programs, workshops, and field trips throughout the year

Governors Island opens May 1... what are you waiting for?

Apply to be a Governors Island volunteer today!

Looking to get your whole office involved? Check out our Corporate Membership program and bring your team out for a unique day of fun and service.

See you on the Island!

Our 2016 Visitor Report Card


The Friends of Governors Island is excited to publish its 2016 Visitor Survey Report. Over the course of the 2016 public access season, our staff and volunteers, assisted by our intrepid team of Harbor Interns from the New York Urban Assembly Harbor School, surveyed over 1,500 visitors.

Data was collected from every fifth person waiting in line for the ferries leaving Governors Island on a rotational schedule to ensure an accurate and non-biased sample. We also compared our sample against the total Island visitorship data collected by the ferry operators. The final report includes analyses of both data sets.

Our team assembled a few of out favorite stats into the infographic above. To read the full report, click here.

Use Governors Island’s Sports Fields During the 2017 Season


The permit process to use Governors Island’s sports fields is now open! The two natural turf ballfields can be easily configured for Little League baseball and adult softball or for soccer and other field sports.

Prior to season opening, we will now offer limited Ball Field reservations pre-season from April 3rd to May 1st, Monday-Friday from 10am-5:30pm only. Use of the fields are free for public schools and youth groups, $250/hour for adult/private school reservations. After Governors Island opens for the season on May 1, the fields will be open for permitted use during daylight hours every day in 2017 from May 1-October 1.

The ballfields are sized for Little League baseball or adult softball. The outfields of these fields can also be used for soccer or other field sports. Fields are open when the Island is open to the public. The Island is open every day from May 1 through October 1. On weekdays, the Island is open 10 AM to 6 PM; on weekends from 10 AM to 7 PM.

Organizations can apply online to use the fields. The permit process will be open until March 1 at which point we will review all of the applications we have received. There is a $26 non-refundable permit fee. As with other public ballfields in New York City, preference will be given to youth groups, schools and leagues from across the City. Permits will be accepted on an ongoing basis, first come, first served.The Trust will let groups know if they have secured field space and the dates and times at which they can use the fields. Fields are free of charge for all youth and school groups. There is a fee of $50 an hour for adult leagues.

We look forward to welcoming groups from around the City to play ball while enjoying incredible views of the Harbor and Statue of Liberty.

Thank You To Ronay Menschel


After more than a decade of extraordinary service, Ronay Menschel is stepping down as Chair of the Trust for Governors Island. Ronay has offered her steadfast leadership in the Island's transformation from a forgotten former military base to the beloved resource it is today since serving on the Board of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, formed in 2003. In 2010 she was appointed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg as the first Chair of the Trust for Governors Island.

Throughout her service to Governors Island, Ronay has made a significant mark in expanding access to the arts in New York City. From numerous on-Island public art installations, including Cabin, Rachel Whiteread's first permanent site specific sculpture in the US, to spearheading the activation of the Island through free public programs from New York City arts and cultural organizations, Ronay's commitment to the arts has shaped the spirit of Governors Island as a hub for creativity. Her leadership also delivered the Island's spectacular new park spaces, giving New Yorkers a new and unforgettable relationship with the Harbor, Statue of Liberty and City skyline.

At the Trust's January meeting of it's Board of Directors, Ronay was presented with a Proclamation from Mayor Bill de Blasio commemorating her everlasting contributions to the City of New York. It reads:

Whereas: Our city has always been a place where anyone with the vision and determination to improve the five boroughs has the chance to make their mark. So many New Yorkers have been inspired to serve their fellow residents and create lasting, positive change that sets us on the path to a brighter future. Dedicating her career to strengthening our communities and improving the quality of life throughout our city, Ronay Menschel stands out as one of these remarkable leaders. Today, together with the members of the Trust for Governors Island, I join in celebrating all that she has achieved as she steps down from her position as Chairman.

Whereas: Throughout the course of her distinguished career, Ronay has played many roles and accomplished many feats. As a Deputy Mayor in the Koch Administration and as a board member of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, she demonstrated great dedication to improving quality of life throughout the five boroughs. At the MTA she founded what is now MTA Arts & Design, championing public art and our City’s creative spirit. Ronay currently is the Chairman of Phipps Houses that has made an indelible mark on the communities it serves through affordable housing initiatives. In 2010, her mission to improve our city continued when she was appointed Chairman of the Trust for Governors Island, helping to transform Governors Island into an extraordinary destination for all to enjoy.

Whereas: Thanks to Ronay’s visionary leadership, Governors Island is poised to become both a year-round destination and a hub of innovation, education, and creativity. With efforts underway to restore the Historic District and create new space that combines educational, non-profit, and commercial uses, the future of Governors Island has never looked brighter. None of this would be possible without Ronay’s steadfast commitment to shape the future of our city into a place where all people can rise. I applaud all she has accomplished as Chairman of the Trust for Governors Island and together with those gathered, extend my gratitude for all that she continues to do for our great city.

Now therefore, I, Bill de Blasio, Mayor of the City of New York, do hereby proclaim January 17th, 2017 in the City of New York as:

“Ronay Menschel Day”.

From the Governors Island community, thank you to Ronay!

Expanded Role for the Friends of Governors Island


The Trust for Governors Island and the Friends of Governors Island entered into an agreement to formally align missions and goals for the future in January, 2017. The agreement creates a road map for collaboration between the two organizations to raise Governors Island’s profile, improve visitor experiences, build its base of support and streamline operations.

The Trust will continue to lead efforts to expand public access, improve parks and infrastructure, run summer arts and cultural programming and transform the Island into a year-round destination with non-profit, commercial and educational tenants. The Trust will also continue to manage all operations, capital improvements and support from the City of New York.

The agreement formalizes the role of the Friends in supporting these activities by assuming responsibility for all fundraising, volunteer coordination, new membership programs and advocacy. Originally known as Governors Island Alliance, the Friends has been a champion for Governors Island since 1995. The group was originally formed to advocate for the Island’s transformation from an abandoned military base to a treasured civic resource, leading to the deed transfer from the Federal Government to New York in 2003. Much like the Island itself, the Friends has transformed over the past decade from a small advocacy group to a mature organization that provides critical support to meet the Island’s most pressing needs.

For example, caring for the 44,000 new shrubs and trees that cover the Hills is a massive undertaking. The Friends helps meet this challenge by contributing thousands of volunteer hours each year, and by supplementing that labor with private funding for tools, equipment and staff. The Friends also sponsors a free Annual Family Fun Day over Memorial Day weekend, which brings together dozens of top tier performers and artists for a day of fun and learning. Last year, the event drew over 15,000 people from diverse neighborhoods all over the city to kick off a season of accessible, high-quality arts programming. All season long, the Friends promotes the Island’s programs and amenities through its “Island Ambassadors” — a combination of seasonal staff and volunteers who serve as visitor guides.

Going forward, the Trust and the Friends will work side-by-side toward a shared goal of making Governors Island a 365-day destination that is at the heart of New York’s cultural, recreational and educational life.

Interested in getting involved with the Friends? Learn how you can lend your voice, time and resources to ensure Governors Island remains a vibrant shared space for all.

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