Building Governors Island: Building 9, the first Post Hospital

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Over 50 beautiful, historic buildings permeate the 92-acre Historic District that covers Governors Island’s northern half. In the Building Governors Island series, we’ll examine some of these notable structures, their individual histories and the roles they’ve played in the Island’s history as a whole, beginning with Nolan Park’s Building 9.

A few historic buildings stand out from the yellow wooden houses that dominate Nolan Park. Some grab more attention than others; it’s hard not to notice the cannon-flanked entrance to the Admiral’s House. Building 9, a cube of brick and stone sandwiched between two of the iconic houses, attracts fewer glances. While not always the center of attention, Building 9 embodies the last two centuries of Governors Island’s history better than most other buildings on the Island today.

An 1859 map of GI showing Building 9 predating Nolan Park. Image courtesy of Ann Buttenwieser

Built in 1839 to serve as Governors Island’s military Post Hospital, Building 9 has seen a variety of uses and names through its 180-year history. It helped define the area of Nolan Park long before the yellow houses appeared and today stands as one of the oldest structures on the Island. Even while serving its original purpose of hospital and medical training center, Building 9 housed officers and prisoners as well, being referred to as the Block House for that purpose. Notably, a young Lieutenant Ulysses S. Grant stayed in the Block House in 1852 while his unit was briefly stationed on the Island.

Elevation of Building 9 with General Hospital wing

As the Island’s Post Hospital, the facility was often stretched to its limits. An influx of wounded Union soldiers and thousands of Confederate prisoners during the Civil War reinforced the need for a more robust hospital on GI. In 1862, a large wooden structure was added to the building, nearly doubling the hospital’s capacity. This expansion, which no longer exists today, elevated the facility to the rank of General Hospital, designating Governors Island as a destination for treatment and recovery.

Building 9’s wooden hospital wing addition in 1864. Image courtesy of Ann Buttenwieser

The General Hospital wing came and went, and eventually a new structure was built to serve as Post Hospital for the Island. In 1874, the Army converted Building 9 to fill other roles including kitchen and mess hall, court chambers, chapel and even ballroom. Now, Building 9 serves as housing for Governors Island ferry crews who stay there when the Samuel Coursen (Governors Island's main ferry, in service since 1956) docks on the Island overnight.

Photo by Erika Clark

The history of Building 9 echoes the history of the Island itself in some ways. It has served many purposes, gone by different names, and housed an impressive variety of occupants. While not the grandest building in Nolan Park, its humble exterior belies its rich history as one of the most storied structures on Governors Island.

Watch live readings by two poets in Shantell Martin’s The May Room

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Intimate and expansive at the same time, the atmosphere inside Shantell Martin’s immersive installation, The May Room, lends itself particularly well to celebrations of the written and spoken word.

The May Room has hosted a variety of public poetry reading events since opening in September, three of which were presented by the Poetry Society of America showcasing poets from diverse backgrounds through partner organizations including CantoMundo and Kundiman.

The last Poetry Society of America-produced event, Puerto Rico en mi corazón, celebrated the poetry collection of the same name published this year in response to Hurricane Maria and the storm’s profound effects on Puerto Rico and its people. Featuring works by 40 poets in both Spanish and English, Puerto Rico en mi corazón provides a human perspective on the disaster while its proceeds benefit hurricane relief efforts.

For the event, Puerto Rican poets Raquel Salas Rivera and Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, both co-editors of the eponymous collection, performed live readings of works of theirs included in the book. See videos of the readings below and on the Poetry Society of America’s Youtube page.


Shantell Martin’s The May Room enlivens the interior of Our Lady Star of the Sea, a deconsecrated former chapel, into a modern site for reflection, contemplation and connection. The May Room and its lineup of programs like Puerto Rico en mi corazón breathe new life into the structure, making use of it for the first time in over 20 years.

The May Room will be open for special viewing hours on Wednesday 10/30 and Thursday 10/31, 1-4pm both days, before the end of Governors Island’s 2019 public access season.

Read more about The May Room and Puerto Rico en mi corazón.

Governors Island opens its annual call for proposals for indoor programs and exhibitions for the 2020 season

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The Trust for Governors Island has opened its annual call for proposals for free indoor exhibition space, open to artistic, cultural, environmental and educational organizations for the 2020 public season. Space inside over two dozen historic former officers’ homes will be offered to non-profit organizations proposing free public programs, including art and educational exhibitions, performances, workshops, screenings, talks and more.

“Each season, arts and cultural organizations from across New York bring Governors Island’s historic district to life with groundbreaking and experimental arts, environmental and educational programming for all ages,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “Governors Island provides an unforgettable venue for cultural organizations and non-profits to present work in front of a highly engaged, diverse public audience.”

With a growing number of visitors of all ages from across New York, the United States and abroad, Governors Island offers an unprecedented opportunity for arts, environmental, cultural and educational organizations to reach the public in a singular setting. In 2019, 30 organizations presented exhibits, workshops, performances and talks, and hosted artists-in-residence in the historic houses of Nolan Park and Colonels Row, once home to military officers and their families during Governors Island’s nearly two-century history as a military base. These homes dating from the late nineteenth century provide multiple rooms of various sizes, often across two floors, that can be used for installations, exhibitions, artist studios, intimate performance venues or spaces for small workshops and educational programs.

“Governors Island has the rare combination of unparalleled historic space, rich ecology and an ever growing local, national and international audience at the center of our country’s largest metropolis,” said Meredith Johnson, VP of Arts and Culture at the Trust for Governors Island. “The cultural community is the heart of New York City, and we are thrilled to be able to share the Island’s unique resources with leading cultural organizations from across the city.”

Proposing organizations will present free public programming during the hours of 11am to 5pm on weekends during the public season (May 1–October 31, 2020). Organizations who apply are encouraged to propose programs that emphasize diverse public participation and engagement. Proposals will be evaluated based on the overall quality of the proposed program; fit and alignment with the Island’s dynamic arts, cultural and educational programming; track-record of conceptualizing, producing and organizing other programs and events; commitment to connecting with diverse audiences; and engagement with the Island as a site, including its history, ecology, architecture and relationship to the rest of New York City. The application and additional information on hosting indoor programs is available at govisland.org/permits.

Halloween in the Harbor: Pumpkin Point, Trick or Treating and Night of 1,000 Jack O’Lanterns Return to Governors Island this October

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October 1, 2019. Governors Island today announced its lineup of fall and Halloween-related programming for October. Just in time for fall, Governors Island’s historic district will transform during the last two weekends of October with Pumpkin Point, a free, family-friendly patch of over 5,000 pumpkins opening October 19 in historic Nolan Park.Lighting up Colonels Row evenings October 17-20 and October 24-27, Night of 1,000 Jack O’Lanterns will bring back a spectacular ticketed nighttime event featuring over a thousand hand-carved and illuminated jack o’lanterns. And on Saturday afternoon, October 26, young visitors and their families are invited to come in costume for free Trick or Treating at Nolan Park’s historic former officers’ homes.

“The fall season is just as vibrant as the summer on Governors Island,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “We invite New Yorkers and visitors alike to take a short ferry ride and experience the colorful fall foliage, seasonal programs for all ages, and all that Governors Island has to offer through October 31.”

Located in historic Nolan Park, Pumpkin Point will bring over 5,000 pumpkins of all shapes and sizes to Governors Island, transforming the idyllic setting along with its naturally stunning fall foliage into a delightfully autumnal escape during the last two weekends of October. Visitors are invited to stroll through the pumpkin patch and purchase their own pumpkins, while enjoying free, Halloween-inspired arts and craft activities with Children’s Museum of the Arts, including pumpkin painting and a costume design workshop. Governors Island’s own Little Eva’s will offer a menu of seasonally inspired food and beverages, with Threes Brewing hosting a pop up bar serving their tasty craft brews.

Pumpkin Point will be open October 19-20 and October 26-27, 10 AM-6 PM. Pumpkins will also be available for purchase Thursday, October 24 and Friday, October 25, 10 AM-5 PM.

“Governors Island gives New Yorkers the chance to experience a true ‘small town Halloween’ feeling without leaving the big city,” said Merritt Birnbaum, Executive Director of the Friends of Governors Island. “Everyone is invited to our car-free oasis to crunch through the autumn leaves, go trick-or-treating at our front porches, and pick out the perfect pumpkin to take home.”

As part of Pumpkin Point, Governors Island will once again host free Trick-or-Treating on Saturday, October 26. Beginning at 1 PM, young visitors and their families are encouraged to come in costume and join the Island’s dozens of arts and cultural organizations in Nolan Park to receive free treats. Trick-or-Treating will be first come, first serve and will last throughout the afternoon until supplies run out. Blazing Saddles will also offer free candy for Trick-or-Treaters at its Liggett Terrace location that day.

This year’s Pumpkin Point and Trick-or-Treating events are co-presented by the Trust for Governors Island and the Friends of Governors Island. Generous support for the events is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Any pumpkins left over from Pumpkin Point will be baked into pumpkin pies and donated to The Bowery Mission, which serves homeless and hungry New Yorkers, or composted on Governors Island by Earth Matter, which runs the Island’s Compost Learning Center.

Continuing the Halloween fun into evenings in October, Night of 1,000 Jack O’Lanterns will return to Governors Island for the first time since 2017, bringing more intricately carved and painted pumpkins than ever before to historic Colonels Row. Visitors are invited to experience the Island after dark between October 17-20 and October 24-27 to enjoy a display of one thousand pumpkins designed by master carvers and illuminated for nighttime viewing. Presented by RISE of the Jack O’Lanterns, Night of 1,000 Jack O’Lanterns also features live carving demonstrations and makes for a perfect, family-friendly fall outing. Advance tickets are required. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.therise.org.

Governors Island Named One of 13 Great Places by the American Planning Association

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Washington, D.C. (September 25, 2019) — The American Planning Association (APA) has named Governors Island in New York, New York one of six Great Public Spaces on APA’s annual Great Places in America list, which starts the countdown to National Community Planning Month in October.

“Over the past decade, Governors Island has seen a remarkable transformation from an abandoned former military base, closed to the public, into a vibrant hub of open space, recreation and creativity in New York City,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “Thanks to proactive community planning, along with visionary leadership at the local, city, state and federal level, today Governors Island is a beloved resource for New Yorkers and visitors alike, and a model for great public spaces across the country. We are thrilled to be selected as one of APA’s Great Places in 2019 and to be among great company with this year’s honorees. We thank APA and its leadership for this recognition.”

APA’s Great Places in America program recognizes the streets, neighborhoods and public spaces in the United States demonstrating exceptional character, quality and planning—attributes that enrich communities, facilitate economic growth, and inspire others around the country. The Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets and Great Public Spaces of 2019 are places that are unique and exemplary in their success stories of revitalization, cultural identity, and strong community connection.

“The public spaces recognized this year demonstrate the importance of planning in creating welcoming, multi-use spaces for the entire community to enjoy and come together,” said Kurt Christiansen, FAICP, APA president. “Governors Island is a national example of how imaginative, resiliency-focused planning can be applied to recreational public spaces.”

For much of its history, Governors Island served as a U.S. military base at the center of New York Harbor. When the federal government sold the island to the state and city of New York in the early 2000s, the transfer sparked a vision to transform this former Coast Guard installation into a public recreational resource for the surrounding community. The Trust for Governors Island, a non-profit organization created by the city of New York, was charged with the planning and redevelopment of the site. Through a series of community planning events surrounding the design of Governors Island’s park and public spaces, New Yorkers shared their vision for an open space that preserves history, educates all generations about sustainability and environmental stewardship, serves as a haven for cultural celebrations and safe recreation, and protects against rising sea levels.

West 8 partnered with Matthews Nielsen Landscape Architects to develop the Island’s Park and Public Space Master Plan, and the result is a new, 43-acre green paradise with breathtaking 360-degree views of the Statue of Liberty, the New York Harbor and the dramatic New York City skyline. Closed to the public for nearly two centuries, the Island today is a popular seasonal destination with cultural activities, events, public art, educational programs and one of New York City’s first car-free recreational environments.

Looking forward, Governors Island is envisioned as a year-round, sustainable campus for learning, arts and culture and entrepreneurship with extraordinary open space. The transformation of Governors Island into a year-round community is underway with the addition of a public high school and arts center.

In addition to Governors Island, APA has also recognized the following Great Public Spaces in 2019:

  • Pioneer Park – Mesa, Arizona
  • Neponset River Greenway – Milton and Boston, Massachusetts
  • Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook – Amsterdam, New York
  • Gathering Place – Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Discovery Green – Houston, Texas

Since launching the Great Places in America program in 2007, APA has recognized 303 neighborhoods, streets and public spaces around the country. Designees are selected annually and represent the gold standard for a true sense of place, cultural and historical interest, community involvement, and a vision for the future.

For the sixth year, members of the public can suggest their favorite public space, neighborhood, or street to earn a “People’s Choice” designation. Throughout October, individuals can offer suggestions via APA’s social media channels using the hashtag #APAgreatplaces. APA will select five finalists that the public can vote on via APA’s website. The “People’s Choice” winner will be announced October 30, 2019.

For more information about APA’s Great Neighborhoods, Great Streets and Great Public Spaces for 2019 and previous years, visit www.planning.org/greatplaces.

Learn more about APA’s National Community Planning Month by visiting www.planning.org/ncpm.

LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island Opens to the Public

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September 19, 2019. The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) and the Trust for Governors Island celebrated today the public opening of LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island. The first year-round tenant dedicated to arts and culture on Governors Island, LMCC’s Arts Center is a new home for artists and audiences and will host a diverse range of free arts, cultural and educational programming, including a year-round artist residency program. Beginning today, the Arts Center will be open Thursday-Sunday through the remainder of Governors Island’s public season.

Conceived as an incubator for creative exploration and a gathering space to engage in dialogue, LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island features over 40,000 square feet of space dedicated to public performances, exhibitions and artist residencies, visual and performing arts studios and the Island’s first indoor cafe. Beginning today, the Arts Center will also host a year-round artist residency program, providing studio space for up to 20 individual artists, ensembles and choreographers. Cultural programming will take place throughout Governors Island’s public season, which currently runs between May 1 and October 31. LMCC’s inaugural season program will host works and artists that investigate issues of ecology, sustainability and history, including site-specific exhibitions by Yto Barrada with guest artist Bettina and Michael Wang, as well as The Take Care Series featuring artists and collectives Olafur Elliason, Jesse Paris Smith, Tattfoo Tan, House of Trees and Jérôme Bel.

Located in an 1870s former ordnance warehouse within the Governors Island Historic District, LMCC partnered with the Trust for Governors Island on an interior and exterior renovation to reimagine the building for the 21st century. The interior renovation, designed by Pei Cobb Freed & Partners and Adamson Associates Architects and engineered by BuroHappold Engineering, features open plan artist studios, two floors of galleries, performance and rehearsal spaces and a café, and successfully reveals the stunning structure of the waterfront historic building, while keeping its spaces flexible for a variety of uses.

Representatives from LMCC, The Trust for Governors Island, the City of New York, elected officials and cultural leaders joined a ribbon cutting ceremony on Governors Island on September 19 to mark the official opening of the Arts Center. LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island will be open to the public Thursday-Sunday from 12PM-5PM for the remainder of Governors Island’s public season. The Arts Center will continue its operations year-round, as an artist residency program.

We’re excited to welcome the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) to their new home on Governors Island,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been.” As the island’s first permanent cultural tenant, LMCC will provide a vibrant space for art creation and enjoyment for Governors Island visitors. Moreover, the center will have an outsized role in giving artists and audiences from diverse backgrounds an opportunity to participate in the City’s thriving arts scene.”

“LMCC is a cultural anchor of New York City and Lower Manhattan, uniting cultural and institutional partners with its visionary leadership in the arts,” said Timur Galen, Chair of the Board of LMCC. “In partnership with the Trust for Governors Island, LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island will enable LMCC to continue its work with artists and the creation of exceptional artistic programming for broad audiences for the long term.”

“Arts, culture and creativity have made Governors Island the special place it is today, and with LMCC’s Arts Center, they now have a permanent home,” said Alicia Glen, former Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development and Chair of the Trust for Governors Island. “The opening of LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island is a testament to our commitment to making New York City an affordable place for artists to work while realizing our vision to unlock the potential of Governors Island as a place for New Yorkers to learn, work and create.”

“We are thrilled to expand upon the decades-long work of LMCC to connect artists and communities through our model of service and sharing of the creative process, said Lili Chopra, LMCC’s Executive Director of Artistic Programs. “The deep roots of LMCC’s presence in Manhattan’s arts and cultural landscape are now prominently visible through LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island. Through the inaugural exhibitions of Yto Barrada and Bettina, Michael Wang, and the Take Care series, as well as work that will be developed by the inaugural family of artists-in-residence, we invite the public into LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island to reflect on the world we inhabit. How can we better care for ourselves, those around us and the planet as a whole?”

“For over 45 years, LMCC has championed artists and their visions in transforming urban spaces,” said Diego S. Segalini, LMCC’s Executive Director of Finance & Administration. “LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island is a gift to all New Yorkers in a time of intense economic inequity and ecological crisis. The Arts Center will be a space of conversation and thought. It reflects the mission and values of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to serve and connect artists and communities on a human and personal scale, completely aligned with Governors Island’s commitment to the City, water and the environment.”

“The opening of LMCC’s Arts Center is an exciting milestone in the transformation of Governors Island as a hub of creativity and a year-round part of New York City’s cultural life,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “The Trust was thrilled to partner with LMCC on this project in creating a vibrant new home for artists, free cultural programs and community engagement. As our first permanent cultural tenant on Governors Island, LMCC’s Arts Center is a model for how the historic district can be reimagined for the 21st century.”

“LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island will further cement the status of Governors Island as a truly indispensable resource for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “The new center will not only serve as a vibrant space for visitors to experience art but will also provide a diverse array of artists with an opportunity to showcase their work and participate in New York’s art scene. I am proud to have worked with LMCC and the Trust for Governors Island to bring this center to the island, and I look forward to partnering with the Trust as they bring more opportunities for enrichment to New Yorkers.”

“Governors Island just keeps getting more exciting for New Yorkers, and that couldn’t be more true with its new addition, LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I’m happy to welcome LMCC to its new home, and look forward to watching it flourish into a dazzling part of the arts-and-culture scene of this City.”

“The opening of LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island is an important milestone in the continued transformation of Governors Island from a sleepy little island into a place where New Yorkers can go to experience and enjoy our history, spectacular views of Manhattan and Brooklyn, partake in recreational activities and after today enjoy a permanent arts complex in a former munitions warehouse,” said US Congressman Jerrold Nadler. “Active in Lower Manhattan since 1973, I am proud to be a supporter of LMCC and congratulate them on the opening of this new home for artistic expression that will help transform Governors Island into a cultural destination and a year-round hub of creativity and innovation.”

“For decades, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council has played an important role in fostering and sustaining New York City artists,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh. “By establishing Governors Island’s first year-round, permanent home for artists and audiences, LMCC will continue to support our city’s cultural diversity. Congratulations to LMCC executive directors Lili Chopra and Diego Segalini for reaching this great milestone and to the artists who will have their work on display during the Arts Center’s inaugural year.”

“LMCC’s new Arts Center at Governors Island will provide a great opportunity for artists to showcase their work, allowing the community to engage with themes of ecology, sustainability, and resilience through a number of creative outlets and events,” said Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “In a time where the dangers of climate change are increasingly dire, we need more discussion of our relationship with nature and the environment. The exhibits and workshops at the Arts Center will help facilitate these discussions between artists and the public with issues relevant to Governors Island and New York City at large.”

“Governors Island is a gem that has already become a unique hub for NYC residents and visitors, attracting over 800,000 people last year alone for its exciting attractions, stellar views, and vibrant cultural programming,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “The opening of LMCC’s new Arts Center offers a spectacular new venue for creativity and dialogue, and adds to our city’s supply of free and affordable studio space. It permanently cements a home for artists in this remarkable place making it a year-round cultural destination for all New Yorkers.”

“The addition of LMCC to Governors Island is exciting and yet a natural combination whose sum will be greater than the parts,” said Anthony Notaro, Jr., Chair of Manhattan Community Board 1. “It will benefit Lower Manhattan and the City at large. We welcome this and look forward to wonderful things to come.”

“The opening of the LMCC Arts Center is a giant step forward in achieving our organization’s founding vision of Governors Island as a place for public enrichment and enjoyment.” said Merritt Birnbaum, Executive Director of the Friends of Governors Island. “LMCC’s programs are breathing new life into a historic building, offering New Yorkers a chance to discover new perspectives on arts and culture in their city, and fostering a year-round community that will help shape the Island’s future. We look forward to working closely with the Trust and LMCC to continue enhancing the visitor experience on Governors Island.”

Since 1973, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) has served tens of thousands of artists and arts groups in New York City with critical financial support, training, networking and long-term studio residency programs. As a champion of independent artists and a vital cultural force in city arts, LMCC connects audiences with public presentations of artists’ work (including its flagship River To River Festival), creating innumerable cultural experiences and programs across Manhattan, free of charge and welcome to all.

VISITOR INFORMATION

Beginning September 19, LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island is open to the public Thursday-Sunday from 12PM-5PM. LMCC’s Arts Center is accessible by ferries to Governors Island operating to and from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. The Arts Center is a 2-minute walk from the Soissons Landing pier. For the Governors Island ferry schedule, please visit govisland.org

Shantell Martin Expands Artwork on Governors Island With ‘The May Room’

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August 29, 2019. The Trust for Governors Island today announced a new work as part of Shantell Martin on Governors Island, a public art commission for the Island’s 2019 season. Opening the doors to Church, Martin’s work that enlivens the exterior of the former military chapel Our Lady Star of the Sea, The May Room will transform its interior into an immersive, introspective environment. Welcoming the public inside the building for the first time in 20 years, The May Room will transform the space into a site for gathering, reflection and performance. Martin will use the floors and walls as a canvas for her signature line drawings and will install custom-built furniture of her own design. Opening to the public on Sunday, September 8 at 11AM, The May Room will be open weekends through the end of the Island’s season and will also host free public programs including a series of readings presented by the Poetry Society of America, featuring poets from national organizations Kundiman and CantoMundo.

The May Room is the latest in a series of installations as part of Shantell Martin on Governors Island, the Trust for Governors Island’s 2019 Public Art Commission. Church, which opened in June and The May Room, opening September 8, will remain on view for the rest of Governors Island’s public season, through October 31.

“We’re thrilled to expand our 2019 commission with Shantell Martin’s latest work, The May Room,” said Clare Newman, Trust for Governors Island President and CEO. “Each season Governors Island visitors are delighted by public art that enlivens the historic district and park. Martin’s work is just the latest in our growing commitment to providing high-quality, free public art and cultural programs that New Yorkers will enjoy each season for years to come.”

“Shantell Martin’s monumental work Church has become a beacon in the landscape of Governors Island. We are now thrilled to open the doors of this structure to reveal The May Room, an immersive, meditative and dynamic space that surrounds visitors with the free-flowing drawings of Shantell Martin,” said Meredith Johnson, VP of Art and Culture at the Trust for Governors Island. “By taking this once-abandoned, former place of worship and reopening it to the public for self-reflection and the collective sharing of ideas, Martin adds to the cultural legacy of the Island through images, language and performance.”

With The May Room, Shantell Martin will create a labyrinthine installation spanning the floors and walls of the building that will act as a place of both quiet reprieve and shared discussion. To expand on her monumental work Church, which transformed the façade of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Martin now reimagines the interior of this former chapel built in 1942 with her signature black-and-white line drawings. Custom-built furniture in the shape of letters that can be arranged to spell out words will dot the floor of the space, allowing visitors to move and interact with the work. The building’s nave, which has been closed to the public since 1996, will be restored as part of Martin’s project.

The May Room will open to the public on Sunday, September 8. Throughout the remainder of the season, the interior work will be on view Saturdays and Sundays from 11AM-5PM through October 27. Church, Martin’s drawing on the exterior of the building, will remain on view daily through October 31.

In addition to regular open hours for visitors to explore the installation, The May Room will host a series of poetry readings presented by the Poetry Society of America in partnership with national poetry organizations including Kundiman and CantoMundo. These free events will respond to the spirit of Shantell Martin’s work and the architecture and setting it exists within.

Schedule of Poetry Society of America readings and partner organizations:

Saturday, September 14: CantoMundo
CantoMundo is a national poetry workshop dedicated to supporting and developing Latinx poets and poetry.

Saturday, September 28: Kundiman
Kundiman creates an affirming and rigorous space where Asian American writers can explore, through art, the unique challenges that face the new and ever changing diaspora.

Saturday, October 5: Puerto Rico en mi corazón
This reading celebrates the publication of Puerto Rico en mi corazón, a bilingual anthology of 40 Puerto Rican poets in response to Hurricane Maria.

The Poetry Society of America is thrilled to be working with the Trust for Governors Island to organize poetry readings within Shantell Martin’s installation,” said Brett Fletcher Laurer, Poetry Society of America Deputy Director. “It makes perfect sense for this space, which was designed for contemplation and transformed by Martin’s meditative work, to be filled with poetry.”

Shantell Martin’s drawings interrogate the role of artist and viewer. With a meditative process, her compositions embody her internal state and the impermanence of the world around her. Exploring themes such as intersectionality, identity and play, Martin is a cultural facilitator, forging new connections between fine art, education, design, philosophy and technology. London born and New York-based, Martin teaches as an adjunct professor at NYU Tisch ITP and was an MIT Media Lab Visiting Scholar. Martin’s body of work includes solo shows at the New York City Ballet, the 92Y Gallery, the Albright-Knox Art Gallery and MoCADA.

Built in 1942, Our Lady Star of the Sea originally opened as a Catholic chapel during the Second World War and remained in use until 1996 when the U.S. Coast Guard ceased operations on Governors Island. Deconsecrated for over 20 years, the former chapel is one of the few non-landmarked buildings located within the Governors Island Historic District. Martin’s project brings new life and visibility to the former chapel for the first time in years.

Generous support for Shantell Martin on Governors Island is provided by Charina Endowment Fund, The O’Grady Foundation and Facebook Art Department. Additional support is provided by Pullman, Sherwin-Williams and Krink.

Follow Shantell Martin on Instagram and Twitter at @shantell_martin.

Celebrate summertime this Labor Day weekend on GI

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Summer may be winding down, but there’s no shortage of things to do, see, taste and experience on Governors Island as the season comes to a close. This Labor Day weekend is packed with all sorts of special events, brand new free programs and summertime vibes all weekend long. And don’t miss your chance to stay out late with us—we’re open until 10 PM on Friday and Saturday for the last two late nights of the season. Read on to see everything happening on our shore this weekend.

We’re making it a breeze to ship out this weekend, with Manhattan and Brooklyn ferries running on a weekend schedule on Labor Day, giving you plenty of chances to take a quick ride across the harbor to GI. Don’t forget that ferries are free before noon on weekends! NYC Ferry will also run their Governors Island route from Wall St./Pier 11 all weekend, including Monday.

Japan Performing Arts, Inc. kicks things off on Friday evening with the first performance of their Bon Odori Festival that brings traditional Japanese summer dances to GI. See dances on Outlook Hill 7:30-9 PM on Friday and Saturday, plus a whole day of Japanese games, food, activities and more in Nolan Park, 12-8 PM on Saturday.

The 10th annual NYC Unicycle Festival keeps things rolling on Saturday and Sunday 12-5 PM with games, workshops and competitions celebrating all things unicycle. Veteran riders can show off their talents and test their skills, while newcomers can learn how to ride and take in spectacular performances!

New arts and culture programs on Colonels Row open their doors this weekend. 4heads’ sprawling annual art show, Portal, displays a staggering lineup of new works across seven historic houses every weekend in September. They’ll mark their first day on Saturday with a public opening reception, 6-9 PM.

Free arts and performance programs will open in Colonels Row starting on Saturday, including the diverse theatrical performances of Dysfunctional Collective, a soft opening of Exquisite Corpse Company 5-9 PM on Saturday night, holographic art all weekend at the HoloCenter, and Linked Dance Theatre bringing you a weekend of dance and art exhibitions with an opening reception on Sunday, 3:30-6 PM.

More art, culture and learning can be found in Nolan Park during the houses’ normal weekend hours on Saturday and Sunday, 11 AM-5 PM. Our fantastic food and beverage vendors will also be open for their usual weekend hours.

Read on for a list of all programs, attractions and vendors that will be open on Labor Day (Monday, September 2). See you on the Island!

Open on Labor Day:

Nolan Park
Triangle Arts
Harvestworks
West Harlem Art Fund
Children’s Museum of the Arts Free Arts Island Outpost
NYC Audubon
play:groundNYC’s The Yard

Colonels Row
The HoloCenter
Linked Dance Theater
Dysfunctional Collective

Urban Farm
GrowNYC

Vendors
Island Oyster
Taco Vista
Makina Café
Little Eva’s
Joe Coffee
Perros Y Vainas

Attractions
Blazing Saddles
Governors Island National Monument (Fort Jay and Castle Williams)

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Announces Inaugural Season and September 2019 Opening of LMCC’s Arts Center At Governors Island

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Today Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) announces that LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island will open to the public on September 19 with inaugural season programming that includes commissioned site-specific exhibitions by internationally renowned artists Yto Barrada (with special guest artist Bettina) and Michael Wang, as well as the Take Care series, a fall public program that furthers ideas presented in the Arts Center’s inaugural art installations and reframes art curation as a mindful practice stemming from the concept of care. Artists and collectives featured in the season include Olafur Eliasson’s Little Sun Sunlight Graffiti, Tattfoo Tan, Anne Mourier, Jérôme Bel, Jesse Paris Smith and Pathway to Paris, House of Trees and The Floor, plus both Barrada and Wang. Signature Open Studios events will offer behind-the-scenes looks at the artistic process with the Center’s inaugural Artists-in-Residence. See this page for details, with full schedule available at LMCC.net. All programs and exhibitions are free and all are welcome.

Lili Chopra, LMCC’s Executive Director of Artistic Programs, commented, “We are thrilled to open LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island, sharing the work of artists whose local and global sensibilities speak to our present moment. Yto Barrada and Michael Wang examine the complex power dynamics of the natural world. Their divergent approaches share an intense sensitivity that embraces the root meaning of curation—to care, to look after, to support. Through these exhibitions and the Take Care series, along with the work being developed by the inaugural family of artists-in-residence, we invite the public into the Arts Center at Governors Island to reflect on the world we inhabit. How can we better care for ourselves, those around us and the planet as a whole?”

LMCC’s Executive Director of Finance & Administration, Diego S. Segalini, remarked, “For over 45 years, LMCC has championed artists and their visions in transforming urban spaces. LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island is a gift to all New Yorkers in a time of intense economic inequity and ecological crisis. The Arts Center will be a space of conversation and thought. It reflects the mission and values of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council to serve and connect artists and communities on a human and personal scale, completely aligned with Governors Island’s commitment to the City, water and environment.”

Conceived as an incubator for creative exploration and a gathering space to engage in dialogue, LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island is the first year-round, permanent home for artists and audiences on Governors Island. Located within the Governors Island Historic District, LMCC’s Arts Center features 40,000 square feet of space dedicated to public performances, exhibitions and artist residencies, visual and performing arts studios and a cafe. Work created and exhibited during the inaugural season investigates issues of ecology, sustainability, geography and history related to Governors Island and New York City at large. Artists will be in residence year-round with public programming to take place during Governors Island’s public season, which runs May 1 through October 31.

As a welcoming hub for working artists and community engagement, LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island will host a broad range of events—including Open Studios, performances, exhibitions, talks, discussions and workshops—to convene artists and the public in an ongoing exchange of ideas and creative practice. Beginning September 19, the exhibitions are open to the public Thursdays through Sundays, 12–5 p.m. The Take Care series takes place every Saturday, 2–5 p.m.

Since 1973, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC) has served tens of thousands of artists and arts groups in New York City with critical financial support, training, networking and long-term studio residency programs. As a champion of independent artists and a vital cultural force in city arts, LMCC connects audiences with public presentations of artists’ work (including its flagship River To River Festival), creating innumerable cultural experiences and programs across Manhattan, free of charge and welcome to all.

Stay safe in the heat this weekend on GI

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With an excessive heat advisory in effect this weekend, we encourage you to take precautions to stay cool and hydrated when visiting Governors Island.

Make sure to bring plenty of water with you and to refill your bottles regularly. You can find our water stations throughout the Island—locate them on our visitor map.

Stay cool in the shade! There are plenty of shaded areas to relax in on Colonels Row and in Nolan Park. You can also find large sun umbrellas in Liggett Terrace as well as a water feature that can keep kids cool while they enjoy a splash.

If you’re not feeling well, need to cool down or in case of emergency, head to our first aid station at Soissons Landing. You can also contact Island security at 212-809-3299.

Please note that due to the heat, program hours and events may be changed or canceled.

The following programs have confirmed their closures this weekend:

Colonels Row
Syracuse University
4heads
Rare Air
Nolan Park
NY Virtual Volcano Observatory
House of Solutions
Imagination of Space
Triangle Arts
Harvestworks
West Harlem Art Fund
play:groundNYC + Student Conservation Association (closed Saturday)
Children’s Museum of the Arts
Swale
Billion Oyster Project (closed Saturday)
Urban Farm
Earth Matter
GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden

Additionally, Pioneer Works’ Machine Learning salon at 3pm on Saturday is cancelled. Their opening reception for Betsy Kenyon’s LightHouse, 5-9PM, and their stargazing session, 7-9 PM, will go on as scheduled.

NYC Audubon and Works on Water will close early this weekend.

Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights and Perros Y Vainas in Liggett Terrace will be closed on Saturday.

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