New York City Mayor Eric Adams today announced new plans to expand the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School on Governors Island. Doubling the school’s footprint from two to four buildings — including one that will be newly constructed — the plan will bring additional classroom space and new facilities, including a pool, gymnasium, and lab space to support the school’s unique maritime and environmental curriculum. The plan is the product of a partnership between the Trust for Governors Island, the New York City Department of Education (DOE), and the New York City School Construction Authority (SCA).
“For many New Yorkers, Governors Island is a place to get away over the weekend. And for so many others, it is a place to learn about our world or prepare our city for the threats of climate change,” said Mayor Adams. “This project will give our young people the best of all worlds: a holistic, high-quality education, brand new facilities to help students learn, and access to one of our city’s gems where nature truly is the classroom.”
“The Urban Assembly Harbor School expansion will provide our youth with brand-new facilities, a unique learning environment, and exposure to a city treasure in Governors Island,” said First Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo. “Thank you, Mayor Adams, the School Construction Authority, and all the city and community stakeholders for making this project possible.”
“Governors Island has proven itself to be a recreational, cultural, and educational resource for over a decade in partnership with the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “We know the exceptional students at the Harbor School have bright futures, and I am excited to see all they can accomplish with state-of-the-art expanded space and resources.”
Expansion plans announced today include the construction of a new, state-of-the-art facility located on a site within the Island’s Western Development Zone. The new facility will house a competition-sized pool to support the school’s unique water-dependent maritime programs, a new gymnasium, and expanded laboratory space dedicated to career-technical training and research. The new facility will be the first new construction building located within a development zone on Governors Island since its transfer from federal to local control and will be a key component of the trust’s planned multi-tenant Center for Climate Solutions. The construction of the new pool, gymnasium, and laboratory facility will demonstrate bold sustainable and resilient design as outlined in the trust’s goals for the Climate Center and the island’s overall transformation.
The School Construction Authority will also renovate Building 555 — a designated landmark building originally constructed in 1938 as family housing by the United States Army — to support 32,000 square feet of additional classroom space. Both projects will expand the Harbor School’s facilities on Governors Island from two buildings to four. The overall expansion project includes capital funding support from the New York City Council and the Manhattan Borough President’s Office.
The first year-round tenant on Governors Island since its transfer from federal to local control in 2003, the mission of the Harbor School — a DOE public high school — is to provide a college-preparatory education built upon New York City’s maritime experience with a focus on environmental stewardship. With its partners — including the Billion Oyster Project — the school develops authentic activities for its students on, around, and related to the water that creates a sense of responsibility to the New York Harbor and develop a new generation of maritime advocates, enthusiasts, workers, and decision-makers. The Harbor School currently occupies nearly 80,000 square feet across two buildings located within the Governors Island Historic District, including Building 550 and the Marine and Science Technology Center, which supports the school’s water dependent activity.
The expansion of the Harbor School comes at a transformational moment as the trust moves forward, with plans to develop a Center for Climate Solutions, which will expand partnership, learning and training opportunities for students on Governors Island. The trust is currently in the process of attracting an anchor educational and research institution as part of the Center for Climate Solutions, a groundbreaking initiative designed to further New York City as a global leader in efforts to respond to the climate crisis. A key part of Mayor Eric Adams’ Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery, the project will support the research, development, and demonstration of equitable climate solutions for New York City — that can be scaled and applied globally.
“The Urban Assembly Harbor School is an incredible example of how a school’s campus and facilities can help mold our students’ passions, interests, and, ultimately, their path to economic security. Most importantly, we listened to and heard from the students, educators, and families of the Harbor School, who advocated for these facility investments,” saidDOE Chancellor David C. Banks. “I look forward to the impact that these new and sustainable facilities, including a new pool, gymnasium, and laboratory, will have on this unique school community, and thank the School Construction Authority and the Trust for Governors Island for their continued partnership.”
“For over a decade, the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School has utilized Governors Island and New York Harbor as a living classroom, where students from across the five boroughs receive career training in maritime and environmental fields and are empowered to take action in the face of climate change, and today’s announcement of an expanded campus means more students than ever will have the opportunity to experience its unique curriculum,” said Clare Newman, president and CEO, Trust for Governors Island. “We’re honored to have worked with Mayor Eric Adams, the School Construction Authority, Schools Chancellor David Banks, and the Harbor School community to develop new state-of-the-art laboratory and aquatic facilities here on Governors Island, where students will gain exposure to real-world training for jobs in the maritime, climate, and the environmental fields.”
“I am thrilled that the SCA will be able to improve and expand upon our original plans for the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School,” said SCA president and CEO Nina Kubota. “The collaborative effort between the SCA, DOE, and the Trust for Governors Island has led to this terrific opportunity for the school’s unique maritime programming to serve even more New York City students as well as an additional resource for the community.”
“The expansion of Urban Assembly New York Harbor School brings to life our chancellor’s vision of reimagining the student learning experience,” said Fred Walsh, high school superintendent for CUNY and the Urban Assembly, DOE. “We are thrilled about the plan to expand and improve the school’s facilities, which will ultimately expand opportunities for students across the city. Students who attend the Harbor School engage in a wide range of maritime- and marine science-focused career and technical education (CTE) programs and work-based learning, leading to industry certification, and preparing them for successful experience in college or a career of their choice. As our world changes and the need for climate change solutions evolves, this expansion will enrich the lives of countless students, while preparing future graduates to be at the forefront of the field and enter the workforce prepared to lead. We look forward to seeing the impact the expansion has on all of the students and families who join the Harbor School Community.”
“I am proud to have long championed Governors Island; it is truly one of our city’s hidden gems,” said U.S. Representative Jerry Nadler. “I have long supported the Harbor School on Governors Island. I believe that its educational mission is so important today, which is why after many years of advocacy it is great news that the School Construction Authority and the city are finally announcing an expansion of the school and building, a much-needed pool, gymnasium, and new science labs.”
“The New York Harbor School’s CTE program is one of the most unique in the city, and because of that, careful considerations must be made when developing a space that is intended to be of optimal service to the school community there,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “I am extremely pleased to see that SCA is acting on those considerations and centering equity as it relates to a school whose mission is to provide robust, unique, on-water experiences for their students and offer pathways into maritime careers.”
“I am thrilled that the Harbor School will be expanding its facilities and that they will finally get their long-awaited swimming pool and gymnasium,” said New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh. “For nearly twenty years, the Harbor School has offered unique educational opportunities to a diverse student body. Learning marine biology, sailing, and other watercraft skills, and collaborating with the Billion Oyster Project, all prepare students for careers engaging with and being good stewards of our natural environment — and serving Governors Island, the harbor, and New York. The aquatic center will allow students to take full advantage of the school’s maritime-themed academics. I am glad that the expansion includes additional classroom space, giving more students the chance to experience this exceptional education on Governors Island. Thank you to the trust, the School Construction Authority, Principal Jeff Chetirko, the Harbor School PTA, the students, Community Board 1, and all of the dedicated advocates who helped make this possible.”
“I am excited to see that after years of advocacy from parents, community members, and elected officials, Harbor School is finally getting the resources it deserves,” said New York State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “It is vital that we support our CTE programs and that we increase access to specialized resources and other facilities for our students. This proposal does both, and I am proud to have advocated for these projects.”
“Since taking office, we have been working with the Harbor School staff and parents to advocate for a full-sized competitive pool for their students,” said New York City Councilmember Christopher Marte. “We are so excited that the School Construction Authority has heard our call and committed to creating an incredible facility for one of our district’s most unique public high schools. Harbor School students have unique opportunities to graduate high school with skills that make them uniquely qualified to work green jobs and with our waterways. However, the lack of access to a competitive-sized swimming pool has left a significant gap in this education. The addition of this pool shows the power of community activism and the willingness of the School Construction Authority to work with parents and staff.”
“CB1 is thrilled that the Harbor School will finally have their long-awaited aquatics center on Governors Island,” said Tricia Joyce, chairperson, Youth and Education Committee, Manhattan Community Board 1 (CB1). “The School Construction Authority and the Trust for Governors Island responded to PTA and community feedback to find a solution, and the location and design of the new building will make this special program for environmental science and maritime careers on the water whole at last. We thank our elected officials for their tireless support of education in Community District 1.”
“We are thrilled and excited that the New York Harbor School’s long quest for an aquatics center and gym will finally have a facility empowering success for this special program of environmental science and maritime careers in our city on the water,” said Nan Richardson, chair, SEA committee; and Amy Koza, PTA president, New York Harbor School. “Gratitude to the Trust for Governors Island and School Construction Authority and to the chancellor for their commitment to a visionary future of education, as well as to Congressman Nadler, Councilmember Marte, Senator Kavanagh, Assemblymember Fall, Assemblymember Niou, and Manhattan Borough President Levine for their unflagging support and belief in innovative learning. Every single family and friend of Harbor School past, present, and future, will be joyous at this news.”
“The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School community greatly appreciates the support of the Trust for Governors Island and the School Construction Authority for providing our public school the necessary tools to meet the requirements of our seven career and technical education pathways,” said Jeffrey Chetirko, principal, The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School. “This investment will ensure greater opportunities to prepare our students to pursue careers in the blue and green economies of the future and continue to appreciate and protect our city’s greatest natural resources, New York Harbor and Governors Island. These resources will create equitable facilities, allowing New York City students to learn to swim, space for physical education, and state-of-the-art facilities that will support the environmental work we do with the Billion Oyster Project.”
“The Urban Assembly’s ability to provide robust work-based learning and career pathways in the maritime industry has been strengthened by this expansion,” said David Adams, CEO, The Urban Assembly. “We look forward to continuing the work of developing the next generation of stewards and leaders of the New York Harbor.”
“The New York Harbor School provides fantastic, hands-on, place based educational opportunities for students that are dependent on its location, on Governors Island, in the center of New York Harbor. This investment by the City and the Trust for Governor’s Island is a testament to over a decade of excellent instruction and unique and exciting learning opportunities. All of us at Billion Oyster Project are thrilled to see Harbor School expand and finally have convenient access to a pool for dive and swim training as well as much needed lab spaces for expanding Career and Technical Education,” said Pete Malinowski, Executive Director of the Billion Oyster Project.
In July 2022, Governors Island Arts, Times Square Arts, and Creative Time jointly announced the first public art exhibition by Charles Gaines, The American Manifest. This sweeping installation will take place in three parts in three different locations over the course of three years — Times Square, Governors Island, and Cincinnati.
Chapter One debuted on July 13 in Times Square with two performances of Gaines’ Manifestos 4: The Dred and Harriet Scott Decision. The performance was a musical interpretation of the original text of the 1857 U.S. Supreme Court case of Dred Scott vs. Sanford, and was performed with a woodwind quintet, piano, and tenor. The performance built upon the artist’s Manifestos series, in which Gaines disarms and draws upon historical texts, uniting the rational, mathematical, and lyrical structures of music with the irrationality of violence, racial tensions, and social injustice.
Read the text featured in the performance here, and read the full speech by Frederick Douglass in response to the decision — which was sung by tenor Darian Clonts as the final part of each performance—here.
Roots, Chapter One’s sculptural installation, also opened on July 13, and will be on view in Times Square through September 23. It features seven painted American Sweetgum trees, which historically grew in what is now Times Square, with their roots up to give the piece a surreal and dystopian feel.
Looking ahead, Chapter Two of The American Manifest will come to Governors Island in October 2022. Located at the base of Outlook Hill, Moving Chains will feature a large kinetic sculpture installation composed of nine chains. Eight of the chains will be move at the pace of New York Harbor’s currents, while the ninth will move at the speed of the many ships that have passed through the harbor throughout history. Moving Chains illuminates the exchange of people, capital, and goods cycling between the north and south that made up the slave trade, while calling attention to the political, judicial, and economic operations established in this country’s foundational financial system. Chapter Two will also include free public programming on Governors Island related to the piece, stay tuned for announcements and updates.
Click here to learn more about The American Manifest.
Today, the Trust for Governors Island launched a new, digital guide on Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and cultural app created by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The Bloomberg Connects app helps to expand Governors Island’s accessibility for both onsite and offsite visits through multimedia features offering insights into this unique landmark in New York Harbor.
“New York City is back, and we are spreading the word,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Governors Island is one of the real gems of our city, and this new digital guide on the Bloomberg Connects app will help us share this great asset and all our city has to offer with more New Yorkers and visitors.”
“We are excited to partner with Bloomberg Philanthropies to launch of this new digital guide to Governors Island,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “Island visitors far and wide will be able to deepen their experience by exploring this accessible library of information on our transformative arts and cultural programming, recreational activities and amenities, historic buildings, and more.”
The new guide features in depth information to enrich visitor experience on Governors Island, with sections that include popular things to do and free recreation activities along with a detailed map allowing visitors to navigate the Island during their visit. In addition, Governors Island Arts — the public arts and cultural program presented by the Trust — features heavily in the guide, with detailed sections on public art commissions dating back to 2014, information on the two dozen seasonal Organizations in Residence in Nolan Park and Colonels Row, and features on upcoming events and free programs. Visitors will also be able to further explore Governors Island’s historic buildings through the app, with a virtual exhibit on the Historic District illuminating the Island’s architectural history.
“Helping more people enjoy all that Governors Island has to offer is a continuation of the work that the Bloomberg administration began 20 years ago, working with our partners to transform an untapped treasure into one of the world’s great parks,” said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Our Bloomberg Connects app will allow anyone with a smart phone to navigate the island, learn its history, and enjoy all the free recreational and cultural activities that are happening. There’s never been a better time to explore an island that keeps offering new reasons to visit.”
“Governors Island is one of New York City’s most dynamic and fascinating destinations — and now there is so much more to discover here, thanks to the partnership with Bloomberg Connects,” said Merritt Birnbaum, Executive Director of the Friends of Governors Island. “This new online tool brings to life the history, art, culture, recreation, and science in a convenient and accessible format that will be a terrific resource for visitors. The ability to use the map feature to enrich their experience as they navigate the public space will be a game-changer for exploration.”
The Bloomberg Connects app is available for download from Google Play or the App Store. Visitors can download and explore on-site by connecting to free Governors Island Wi-Fi.
Bloomberg Connects offers free digital guides to cultural organizations around the world. The app platform is part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ longstanding commitment to supporting digital innovation in the arts. Bloomberg Connects makes it easy to access and engage with arts and culture from mobile devices when visiting in person, or anytime from anywhere. With dynamic content exclusive to each partner organization, the app provides a range of features including video, audio, and text; expert commentary; and way-finding maps. Follow Bloomberg Connects on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for updates on new guide launches, exhibit highlights, and more.
Governors Island Arts announced today the launch of ‘House Fest,’ a three-day festival celebrating the incredible range of works presented by the seasonal arts, cultural, educational, and environmental Organizations in Residence on Governors Island. From August 5 to 7, 2022, Governors Island Arts will bring together more than 15 cultural partners for a weekend-long creative celebration in the historic Nolan Park and Colonels Row areas on the Island, featuring free dance and music performances, outdoor installations, interactive workshops, open studios, panel discussions, and more.
“Governors Island attracts New Yorkers and international visitors alike with its wide-ranging Organizations in Residence highlighting the arts, culture, and the environment,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria-Torres Springer. “This weekend’s celebration of these unique organizations will bring even more attention to the educational and cultural gems in the heart of New York Harbor.”
“Through Governors Island Arts, we are thrilled to bring together a unique group of organizations that fully embodies the diverse cultural community here in New York City,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “The singular environment of Governors Island fosters a cultural experience like no other, and I encourage all New Yorkers to come out and celebrate with Governors Island Arts at House Fest this August.”
“Each year, the Organizations in Residence activate Nolan Park and Colonels Row with evocative arts experiences, and we are so excited to celebrate this cultural community with the inaugural House Fest,” said Juan Pablo Siles, Associate Curator and Producer at the Trust for Governors Island. “Governors Island Arts is privileged to have such a dedicated group of organizations here on the Island collaborating to help bring transformative, accessible programming to Island visitors and all New Yorkers.”
House Fest will invite collaboration between Governors Island Arts’ two dozen seasonal Organizations in Residence and a diverse roster of choreographers and performers from throughout New York City, building upon the cultural landscape the program fosters each year in the former military homes of Nolan Park and Colonels Row on Governors Island.
The three-day celebration will feature free performances from Pigeonwing Dance, Jerron Herman, and Dance to the People, along with free public programs and activations from Organizations in Residence that include the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA), Harvestworks, The Climate Museum, ArtCrawl Harlem, 4heads, NYU Gallatin WetLab, Triangle Arts, and more to be announced.
Central to the weekend’s festivities is ‘Dance Party NYC’ on Saturday, August 6, a city-wide dance party taking place on the same night across 80 locations throughout the five boroughs – including Nolan Park on Governors Island. Festival goers will dance their hearts out alongside their fellow New Yorkers, with soundtracks provided by Brooklyn United Marching Band, Brass Queens, DJ Aguapanela Mami, and DJ Yung Mayne. Dance Party NYC on Governors Island is presented by Governors Island Arts in collaboration with Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
A full schedule of events and list of presenting organizations can be found at govisland.org/housefest, with more events to be announced in the coming weeks.
Governors Island Arts, the public arts and cultural program presented by the Trust for Governors Island, creates transformative encounters with art for all New Yorkers, inviting artists and researchers to engage with the issues of our time in the context of the Island’s layered histories, environments, and architecture. Since Governors Island opened to the public in 2005, the Trust has invited cultural, educational, and non-profit organizations to utilize its historic houses to present engaging public programs while providing workspace for artists and cultural practitioners.
Through this unique Organizations in Residence Program, Governors Island Arts provides a platform for non-profit groups to reach a diverse and growing audience of engaged visitors, where collaboration is encouraged between participating organizations and space is provided to presenters free of charge.
Investment in Governors Island Arts advances a key component of“Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for NYC’s Economic Recovery,” the mayor’s vision for the future of the city’s economy. Over the next decade, the City and the Trust will invest in evolving this seasonal program into year-round permanent homes for cultural organizations on Governors Island.
Governors Island Arts 2022 Organizations in Residence include 4heads, American Indian Community House, ArtCrawl Harlem, Beam Center, Billion Oyster Project, BronxArtSpace, The Climate Museum, Escaping Time: Art from U.S. Prisons, Flux Factory, Harvestworks, KODA, MoCADA, NARS Foundation, National Academy of Design, New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA), New York Virtual Volcano Observatory, NYC Audubon, NYU Gallatin WetLab, Pratt School of Architecture, Swale, Syracuse University, Triangle Arts, and West Harlem Art Fund.
House Fest 2022 is presented with support from the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment. Click here to view the full schedule of House Fest events.
The Trust for Governors Island today released two Request for Proposals (RFPs) inviting operators of event, food and beverage, and hospitality venues to ground lease, redevelop and operate several buildings throughout Governors Island’s Historic District. The RFPs released today build upon the Trust’s recent milestone of opening Governors Island to the public year-round and support the long-term vision to expand visitor amenities while breathing new life into fifty landmarked former military buildings.
“Governors Island has become a cultural and recreational ‘must see’ in New York City,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “Today’s RFP release is a critical step to also make the Island a full-service hospitality destination, spurring our economic recovery through tourism and job creation. I thank the Governors Island team for their visionary stewardship of this unique New York City resource.”
“In the past year Governors Island has grown tremendously as a vibrant resource for all New Yorkers, with open space now accessible year-round, an array of arts and cultural programs, new amenities, and a growing community of tenants,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of The Trust for Governors Island. “Through the release of these RFPs, we are excited to make progress on expanding ways for New Yorkers to enjoy all the Island has to offer, while furthering our long-term commitment to breathing new life into our historic assets. We look forward to receiving proposals from New York City’s diverse hospitality community.”.
Through the two RFPs released today, The Trust is making available up to 45,000SF of space across five buildings located within the Governors Island Historic District for adaptive reuse by successful respondents. Properties made available through the RFPs include:
Building 140: Request for Proposals Seeking Food and Beverage Concepts and/or Event Venues
Developers and operators of food and beverage concepts and event venues are invited to submit proposals to ground lease, redevelop, and operate Building 140 an approximately 10,000 square-foot waterfront building on Governors Island featuring high ceilings, a column-free interior, and an approximately 13,000-square-foot outdoor waterfront terrace. Constructed in the mid-1800s as a munitions warehouse and used over the years as a bank and a post office, Building 140 is located at Soissons Landing, Governors Island’s primary ferry dock with 7‑minute service to Lower Manhattan, and features unobstructed views of the Lower Manhattan skyline, Brooklyn Bridge, and New York Harbor.
Buildings 1, 2, 3, and 25: Hospitality and Visitor Amenities
Developers and operators of food and beverage concepts, event and convening spaces, overnight accommodations, and other amenity spaces are invited to submit proposals to ground lease, redevelop, and operate Buildings 1, 2, 3, and 25 on Governors Island. Together, the Buildings offer approximately 35,000 square feet of combined indoor space located within Nolan Park, formerly home to Commanding Officer’s quarters during Governors Island’s history as a US Army and Coast Guard Base, and today home to a growing hub of arts and cultural tenants. Successful respondents will be located adjacent to the Nolan Park Cultural Campus, a growing hub of cultural organizations providing dynamic public programs during the Island’s spring, summer and fall seasons. Over time, the Trust plans to grow Nolan Park as a permanent, multi-disciplinary arts and culture campus, providing affordable space to cultural organizations and attracting a growing audience of visitors experiencing the Island’s arts program. Successful respondents will help complement this unique and growing cultural destination with supporting amenities.
Proposals will be evaluated based on the Respondent’s proposed program and vision, including serving a broad and diverse audience and aligning with the Trust’s climate and sustainability goals, team and feasibility, proposed terms, and quality of design. Responses to both RFPs are due October 31, 2022, by 5:00 p.m. For more information or to view the full RFP documents click here.
Governors Island has undergone a tremendous transformation over the last decade, including the creation of a resilient 43-acre park, a growing arts and cultural program, and remarkable growth in audience. The Island is home to a diverse number of year-round tenants, including the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Billion Oyster Project, Shandaken Projects, Beam Center, the Institute for Public Architecture, and QCNY Spa, as well as Buttermilk Labs — a new multi-tenant hub for coastal climate solutions announced in Fall 2021.
The Trust is currently in the process of attracting an anchor educational and research institution as part of the Center for Climate Solutions, a groundbreaking initiative designed to further New York City as a global leader in efforts to respond to the climate crisis. A key part of Mayor Eric Adams’ “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent: A Blueprint for NYC’s Economic Recovery,” the project will support the research, development and demonstration of equitable climate solutions for New York City — that can be scaled and applied globally.
Now open to the public year-round, Governors Island is home to a robust calendar of free public programs and events, outdoor recreation activities, diverse arts and cultural experiences, and more to explore. Visit www.govisland.org/things-to-do for more information and to view all upcoming events and programs.
The Trust for Governors Island announced today new extended hours for the area Soissons Landing, one of the best spots in the city to watch the sunset on the horizon. Starting Friday, July 1, Soissons Landing will remain open late every night of the week through October 31. Soissons Landing will be open until 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Visitors can enjoy delicious food and drink from Island Oyster, Taco Vista and Gitano Island, along with unique wellness experiences from QCNY Spa and beautiful picnic spots within the area surrounding Soissons Landing in the Governors Island Historic District.
“There really is no better place to spend a summer evening than Governors Island,” said Clare Newman, President &CEO of The Trust for Governors Island. “With unparalleled waterfront views, delicious food and drinks, unique amenities, and peaceful picnic spots, Soissons Landing has something for everyone. We are thrilled to announce these expanded public hours and can’t wait to welcome our visitors to the best place to catch the sunset in New York City.”
Evening ferries to Governors Island run from the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan, with the last public ferry over to the Island departing at 8:15 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 9:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The last ferry off of the Island departs at 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. While Soissons Landing will be open until 10 p.m., all other areas on Governors Island will close at regularly posted public hours — 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays through September 3, and 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.
The Soissons Landing area includes the below vendors and amenities, in addition to rolling lawns available for picnicking or taking in the views.
Taco Vista: Classic Mexican menu including tacos, burritos, quesadillas, craft beer, and margaritas with a casual dining area and waterfront views. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Island Oyster: A unique outdoor destination for easygoing summer seafood, tropical cocktails, and panoramic views. Open Wednesday through Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Gitano Island: A brand-new restaurant and beach club from Grupo Gitano featuring an extensive cocktail menu, modern Mexican cuisine, dance floors, and regular live events. Open Sunday through Thursday from 12 to 10pm and Friday and Saturday from 12:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
QCNY Spa: Guests can unwind with more than 20 wellness experiences including massages, saunas, steam rooms, water therapies, and more, along with two infinity spa pools overlooking the Lower Manhattan skyline. Open Sunday through Thursday from 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Visitors are encouraged to reserve ferry tickets at www.govisland.org/ferry in advance of their trip, and face coverings continue to be required on Trust-operated ferries. Evening ferries will only operate to and from the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan during the Sunset at Soissons Landing hours.
Round-trip ferry tickets cost $4 for adults. Governors Island ferries are always free for children 12 and under, seniors 65 and up, residents of NYCHA, IDNYC holders, current and former military service members, and Governors Island members. Ferries before noon on Saturdays and Sundays are free for all. There is no surcharge for bicycles or strollers at any time.
NYC Ferry also serves Governors Island weekdays on the South Brooklyn route and weekends via a dedicated shuttle from Pier 11/Wall Street. NYC Ferry does not serve Governors Island after 5:19 p.m. on weekdays and 5:42 p.m. on weekends. Visit ferry.nyc for more information and schedules.
Presented by Creative Time, Governors Island Arts, and Times Square Arts
Debuting in New York this summer, a series of new artworks contends with the over 400-year settlement of the United States and its ongoing legacies of colonialism and racial capitalism
Creative Time, Governors Island Arts, and Times Square Arts are pleased to present the first public art exhibition by Charles Gaines, The American Manifest. The serialized public art installation will unfold in three parts, or chapters, across three locations over the course of two years — Times Square, Governors Island, and Cincinnati. The project will debut in New York City on July 13, 2022 in Times Square with a new iteration of the artist’s pioneering Manifestos performances coupled with an installation of sculptures of the complex root systems of the American Sweetgum tree on view through the summer. Moving Chains, a monumental, kinetic sculptural work sited on Governors Island in New York Harbor opens next in early October 2022 before journeying to the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati in the summer of 2023.
Tracing the flow of these northeastern waterways — the historically charged rivers and ports of New York City and Cincinnati’s Ohio River, which are not often considered in relation to each other — Gaines offers a multifaceted interrogation of the dual role of the northern states in both maintaining and abolishing slavery, and the enduring implications of the racialized systems, myths, and logics that underpin the nation’s economic and legal foundations that persist today. Through large-scale sonic and sculptural works, the project grapples with the entangled systems of property, citizenship, displacement, and freedom that enables and furthers racial capitalism, a mechanism for enforcing white supremacy in the United States of America. Gaines’s work for The American Manifest originates with the 1857 Dred and Harriet Scott historic Supreme Court decision, which decreed that people of African ancestry were not U.S. citizens and therefore could not sue for their right to freedom, and demands the viewer contend with the legacies and afterlives of chattel slavery, Manifest Destiny, and colonialism.
“By exploring the Dred and Harriet Scott Decision, The American Manifest is intended both critically and poetically to unpack the complexity of America’s humanist ideals. It is intended to take us through the slippery contradictions that make up the American narrative,” said Charles Gaines.
Charles Gaines has been a pivotal figure in conceptual art for the past five decades, known for his body of work engaging formulas and systems that interrogate relationships between the objective and the subjective realms. The concept of identity politics has played a central role within Gaines’s oeuvre, and the radical approach he employs addresses issues of race in ways that transcend the limits of representation.
“The American Manifest is a sharp look at the history of the United States and how our laden past manifests in our contemporary struggles. It is only through an interrogation and understanding of these entangled histories that we may face our systemic societal ills,” said Creative Time Executive Director Justine Ludwig.
Sited within two key cities whose histories have shaped the identity of America, this project invites the public to consider New York and Cincinnati’s waterways’ in both upholding slavery and securing liberation, a duality that challenges reductive narratives of the history and legacy of slavery in America. Times Square, often called “the crossroads of the world,” exists as a global emblem of capitalism, commerce, and media, with over 300,000 daily pedestrians. Five miles away, in the middle of the New York Harbor, Governors Island feels comparatively serene. The island played an integral role in the city’s economic and political history; it served as a Lenape fishing and hunting camp, an early colonial Dutch settlement, a home for the British ruling Governors and, later, a U.S. Military and Coast Guard base from the Revolutionary War until the late 1990s, before becoming publicly accessible in the mid-2000s. Halfway across the country, Cincinnati’s John G. and Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park connects downtown Cincinnati to the Ohio River, which historically served as a demarcation point and transportation route between southern slave states and the free states in the north.
Times Square, New York | July 13 – September 23, 2022
Broadway and 46th St, Duffy Square
The project originates in Times Square with a performance-based installation, Manifestos 4: The Dred and Harriet Scott Decision, and sculptural installation, Roots.
Continuing Gaines’s Manifestos series, and specifically building upon his Manifestos 4composition with the creation of a new vocal arrangement, this performance transforms the original text of the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred and Harriet Scott historic decision, which decreed that people of African ancestry were not U.S. citizens and therefore could not sue for their right to freedom. Featuring a woodwind quintet, piano and tenor, the 5‑part performance will be staged on July 13 and July 14 in America’s modern-day commercial crossroads, Times Square.
Roots, on view from July 13 through September 23, 2022, consists of a series of seven American Sweetgum trees, presented with the root systems upside down and painted to a surreal and dystopic effect. The trees, which were indigenous to the eastern United States and grew in Times Square, a forested area and beaver pond prior to colonization, are known for their impressive root systems that require vast open spaces to grow.
“We are incredibly honored to launch the first chapter of Charles Gaines’s monumental, multi-sited exhibition with works that call upon both Indigenous histories and present day symbolism of Times Square to tell the story of our country’s complex legacies,” said Times Square Arts Director Jean Cooney.
Governors Island, New York | October 2022 – June 2023
Sited at the base of Outlook Hill on Governors Island with views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, and Lower Manhattan, Moving Chains — a 100 foot-long immersive, kinetic sculpture — evokes the hull of a ship reverberating with the low rumble of nine chains churning overhead, while visitors pass through below. Eight of the chains move along at the pace of New York Harbor’s currents, while a central ninth chain moves noticeably faster, at the speed of the ships and barges that have traveled the city’s waterways over centuries. Complicating narratives of slavery that easily demarcate northern virtue and southern sin, Moving Chains illuminates the exchange of people, capital, and goods between the north and south, calling attention to the nation’s economic, judicial, and political frameworks that continue to shape the lives and define the freedoms of Americans today.
“The second chapter in Charles Gaines’s monumental project The American Manifest, Moving Chains is a historic work that we are humbled to present on Governors Island, a site whose landscape is intertwined with the stories and struggles of New Harbor and the waterways that have defined this nation’s past, present, and future,” said Meredith Johnson, VP of Arts and Culture and Head Curator at the Trust for Governors Island. “We are honored to present Charles Gaines’s pivotal work on Governors Island, and look forward to welcoming visitors and all New Yorkers to engage through a dynamic calendar of public programs,” added Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “Moving Chains represents a key investment in Governors Island Arts’ mission to create transformative art experiences for all New Yorkers to engage with critical issues of our time while in this extraordinary public space.”
The project will be accompanied by a series of public programs that re-consider legal and cultural definitions of freedom, bringing together an interdisciplinary group of thinkers.
Cincinnati, Ohio | Summer 2023
Opening in multiple locations throughout Cincinnati in Summer 2023, The American Manifest will travel to the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati’s John G. and Phyllis W. Smale Riverfront Park, accompanied by an additional site-specific commissioned work to deepen the geographic nuances of colonial expansion. The Ohio River has historically represented both a route to liberation, as the one-time gateway between slave and “free soil” states, as well as a historic route used to transport enslaved persons to the infamous port of New Orleans. The project’s journey to this location from New York makes a final connection between the plantation logic of people as property, federally recognized in the case of Dred and Harriet Scott, and the era of Manifest Destiny and westward expansion, which established the American West landscape as the rightful property of the United States government.
Charles Gaines: The American Manifest is made possible in New York and Cincinnati by the visionary support of the Ford Foundation, Lambent Foundation, VIA Art Fund, FotoFocus, The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Charina Endowment Fund, Donald A. Pels Charitable Trust, the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, Morgan Stanley, Wave Pool, and mediaThe Foundation, inc.
Major support is provided by Hauser & Wirth, Deborah Beckmann and Jacob Kotzubei, Bob and Renee Parsons, Sanjeev Rathi, Christopher Walker, Debi and Steven Wisch, and additional anonymous supporters.
We are also grateful for the support of the National Endowment for the Arts; public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council; and the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.
“We are thrilled to work with Creative Time, Times Square Arts, and Governors Island Arts to bring Charles Gaines’ monumental series to the city,” said Rocío Aranda-Alvarado, program officer for Creativity and Free Expression at the Ford Foundation. “This initiative sheds an important light on our nation’s past and offers critical perspective for those working to build a more equitable future.”
“Governors Island is alive with dynamic arts and cultural programming, providing unforgettable and accessible experiences for New Yorkers. This powerful new work by Charles Gaines will serve to connect New Yorkers across the boroughs to the essential arts and cultural experiences that are a core part of Mayor Adams’ economic recovery blueprint,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “I encourage all New Yorkers to experience the wide-ranging power of this project throughout the city.”
A pivotal figure in the field of conceptual art, Charles Gaines’s body of work engages formulas and systems that interrogate relationships between the objective and the subjective realms. Using a generative approach to create series of works in a variety of mediums, he has built a bridge between the early conceptual artists of the 1960s and 1970s and subsequent generations of artists pushing the limits of conceptualism today. Gaines lives and works in Los Angeles. He recently retired from the CalArts School of Art, where he was on faculty for over 30 years and established a fellowship to provide critical scholarship support for Black students in the M.F.A. Art program. He has been the subject of numerous exhibitions in the United States and around the world, most notably a mid-career survey at the Pomona College Museum of Art and the Pitzer College Art Gallery in Claremont CA, as well as a museum survey of his Gridwork at The Studio Museum, Harlem NY, and Hammer Museum, Los Angeles CA. His work has also been presented at the 1975 Whitney Biennial and the Venice Biennale in 2007 and 2015. An exhibition of his work is currently on long term view at Dia:Beacon in New York. In addition to his artistic practice, Gaines has published several essays on contemporary art, including ‘Theater of Refusal: Black Art and Mainstream Criticism’ (University of California, Irvine, 1993) and ‘The New Cosmopolitanism’ (California State University, Fullerton, 2008). In 2019, Gaines received the 60th Edward MacDowell Medal. He was inducted into the National Academy of Design’s 2020 class of National Academicians and will be inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in May 2022.
Since 1974, Creative Time has commissioned and presented ambitious public art projects with thousands of artists throughout New York City, across the country, around the world — even in outer space. The organization’s work is guided by three core values: art matters, artists’ voices are important in shaping society, and public spaces are places for creative and free expression. Creative Time is acclaimed for the innovative and meaningful projects they have commissioned, fromTribute in Light,the twin beacons of light that illuminated lower Manhattan six months after 9⁄11, to bus ads promoting HIV awareness, to Paul Chan’s production of Waiting for Godot in New Orleans, and much more. In partnership with a variety of well-known cultural institutions and community groups, Creative Time has commissioned art in unique landmark sites from the Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage, Times Square, Rockefeller Center, Governors Island, and the High Line, to neglected urban treasures like the Lower East Side’s historic Essex Street Market, Coney Island, and New Orleans’s Lower 9th Ward. Creative Time is committed to presenting important art for our times and engaging broad audiences that transcend geographic, racial, and socioeconomic barriers.
Times Square Arts, the public art program of the Times Square Alliance, collaborates with contemporary artists and cultural institutions to experiment and engage with one of the world’s most iconic urban places. Through the Square’s electronic billboards, public plazas, vacant areas and popular venues, and the Alliance’s own online landscape, Times Square Arts invites leading contemporary creators, such as Mel Chin, Tracey Emin, Jeffrey Gibson, Ryan McGinley, Yoko Ono, and Kehinde Wiley, to help the public see Times Square in new ways. Times Square has always been a place of risk, innovation and creativity, and the Arts Program ensures these qualities remain central to the district’s unique identity.
Governors Island Arts, the public arts and cultural program presented by the Trust for Governors Island creates transformative encounters with art for all New Yorkers, inviting artists and researchers to engage with the issues of our time in the context of the Island’s layered histories, environments, and architecture. Governors Island Arts achieves this mission through temporary and long-term public art commissions, an annual Organization in Residence program in the Island’s historic houses, and free public programs and events in partnership with a wide range of cross-disciplinary NYC cultural organizations.
On June 7, 2022, the Trust for Governors Island, in partnership with Trust for Public Land and The North Face, unveiled a newly installed Community Climbing Boulder located on Governors Island. At the ribbon cutting ceremony, students from the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School along with youth from Beam Center and play:groundNYC were among the first ever to climb the boulder, which is free and open to the public. As part of a unique collaborative design process, youth participants from play:groundNYC’s Island-based summer camp and Beam Center’s programs on the Island used clay to design their dream boulders nearly a year ago, and elements from their designs were incorporated into the finished boulder.
“As a destination that offers one of the largest and most unique open spaces in the city, and during a time in history when access to parks, recreational opportunities, and wellness are more important than ever, we’re honored to present Governors Island and this amenity as a resource for all communities in New York City.” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of The Trust for Governors Island.
“We want to, all the time, hand over a better world to the people who follow us, and that’s what the kids did just last year.” said Carter Strickland, Vice President Mid-Atlantic Region and New York State Director of Trust for Public Land “The design process is really critical. We want to create outdoor spaces that are yours…so stop by on your way to The Hills or Picnic Point and give it a climb.”
The Community Climbing Boulder is located on the Western Promenade adjacent to Collective Retreats and the Harbor School and boasts unparalleled view of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. Climbing routes are posted onsite. Governors Island is open to the public Sunday through Thursday from 7am to 6pm. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the Island is open to the public until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Trust for Governors Island-operated ferries run daily between the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street in Lower Manhattan and Soissons Landing on the Island. Trust-operated ferries also serve two Brooklyn locations on weekends through September 25, 2022: Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Atlantic Basin in Red Hook. For schedules and ticketing information, click here.
NYC Ferry also serves Governors Island daily, with weekday service on the South Brooklyn route and via the summer weekend shuttle from Wall Street/Pier 11. For ticketing information and full schedules for NYC Ferry, visit www.ferry.nyc.
The Trust for Governors Island is officially welcoming baaaaack to New York City its five most famous employees from last summer: a family of landscaping sheep. This fluffy flock — Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad, and Philip Aries — hail from Friends of Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm in Albany and for the second straight year will spend the summer Governors Island, helping to control invasive plant species in Hammock Grove’s young urban forest and ensuring the area’s biodiversity can thrive for years to come.
The sheep’s love for herbaceous plants, such as grasses, phragmites, and flowering plants like mugwort and sunflowers make them a natural fit to join Governors Island’s horticulture team. Replete with such delicacies (phragmites being the sheep’s favorite), the flock will live on the Island, enjoying a lush grove and eating its invasive plants for the second straight summer.
“We are thrilled to welcome our four-legged landscapers back to Governors Island. They may be cute and fuzzy, but these hardworking sheep also provide an incredible service to the Island by supporting our horticulture team in clearing invasive species that otherwise would harm our growing urban forest in Hammock Grove,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of The Trust for Governors Island. “Flour, Sam, Evening, Chad, and Philip Aries will help provide a groomed and beautifully maintained green space this summer for all of our visitors to enjoy.”
“We are excited to be back on Governors Island this year, sharing the animals and expanding their grazing services,”said Kim Tateo, Executive Director and Farm Manager of Friends of Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm.“It’s been so great to see the how the sheep have helped to improve the plant diversity on Governors Island, and to have that work connect directly with the rest of our flock doing similar work upstate. We can’t wait for Island visitors to learn more about these animals this summer.”
Mugwort, phragmites, and other invasive plant species have a competitive nature and crowd other plantings within the park, essentially creating a monoculture. The sheep eating these herbaceous plants helps to break down and weaken them, preventing them from flowering and the seeds spreading.
Recruiting a herd of sheep is extremely beneficial to the Trust for Governors Island’s efforts to care for the park, as it reduces the time spent on invasive species removal to less than 30 percent of the gardening staff time. Having the sheep deal with the invasive plants allows the horticulture team to focus more on the well-being of the trees and soil and ensure that the forest in Hammock Grove thrives on Governors Island.
Prior to the arrival of these sheep last year, the Trust’s horticulture team spent a tremendous amount of time weeding, and the sheep represent a cost effective and eco-friendly solution that allows the team to focus on more productive tasks. During their first year on the Island, they cleared more than eight acres of invasive plants, expeditiously keeping up with the active growing season and completely clearing many sections of the Island’s park several times over.
Sheep are also uniquely suited to the work on Governors Island, more so than goats or other animals, since their culinary tastes do not include tree bark. The sheep will eat around the young trees in Hammock Grove and focus on phragmites and other delicacies, while goats would devour virtually any plant life they could get their hooves on, invasive or not.
Throughout the summer, the Trust will partner with Friends of Tivoli Lake Preserve and Farm to host several public sheep herding demonstrations on the Island; dates will be announced in the coming weeks.
Governors Island is open to the public Sunday through Thursday from 7am to 6pm. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the Island is open to the public until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays. Trust for Governors Island-operated ferries run daily between the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street in Lower Manhattan and Soissons Landing on the Island. Trust-operated ferries also serve two Brooklyn locations on weekends through September 25, 2022: Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Atlantic Basin in Red Hook. For schedules and ticketing information, click here.
NYC Ferry also serves Governors Island daily, with weekday service on the South Brooklyn route and via the summer weekend shuttle from Wall Street/Pier 11. For ticketing information and full schedules for NYC Ferry, visit www.ferry.nyc.
Governors Island Arts and Film at Lincoln Center announced today the return of free outdoor film screenings on the Island for summer 2022 featuring John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch on Friday, June 3 and Sidney Lumet’s The Wiz on Friday, August 5. This summer’s screenings are curated by Film at Lincoln Center and produced by Rooftop Films and will take place on the Island’s historic Parade Ground — an expansive eight-acre lawn with wide-open views of Lower Manhattan.
“Outdoor films on the Parade Ground have become an iconic summer tradition, and we cannot wait to welcome film buffs and all New Yorkers to Governors Island for the fourth year of this landmark series,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “Ensuring access to accessible, affordable, and transformative arts and cultural experiences is a core tenant of Governors Island Arts, and we are so excited to partner with Film at Lincoln Center once again for two evenings of free movie magic with our amazing city as backdrop.”
“There’s no better spot than Governors Island to catch a free movie under the stars, and this year’s selection provides audiences with an incredible range of engaging cinematic experiences. We are thrilled to be launching our fourth season of this incredible partnership with Film at Lincoln Center, providing even more New Yorkers with the opportunity to gather together and enjoy film on Governors Island,” said Meredith Johnson, VP of Arts and Culture at the Trust for Governors Island.
“Free outdoor screenings in the summer are a treat for New York audiences. Film at Lincoln Center looks forward to celebrating iconic films on Governors Island, a spectacular location to gather,” said Lesli Klainberg, President, Film at Lincoln Center. “With our friends at NewFest we are pleased to showcase the cult classic Hedwig and the Angry Inch and, together with our colleagues at Dance Films Association and the New York International Children’s Film Festival, we invite families and fans to experience the musical adventure that is The Wiz.”
Both screenings are free and open to the public with pre-show entertainment kicking off at 7pm and films beginning at dusk. Food and drinks will be available for purchase, including a beer garden by Threes Brewing along with food from Pizza Yard and additional Governors Island vendors to be announced.
Evening ferry service will run from Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan, located at 10 South Street, departing Lower Manhattan at 5:15, 5:45, 6:15, and 6:45pm. Ferries will return to Lower Manhattan from Soissons Landing at 9, 9:30, 10, 10:30, and 11pm.
Visitors are encouraged to reserve ferry tickets at www.govisland.org/ferry in advance of their trip, and face coverings continue to be required on Trust-operated ferries. Round-trip ferry tickets cost $4 for adults. Governors Island ferries are always free for children 12 and under, seniors 65 and up, residents of NYCHA, IDNYC holders, current and former military servicemembers, and Governors Island members. Ferries before noon on Saturdays and Sundays are free for all. There is no surcharge for bicycles or strollers at any time.
Governors Island is open to the public daily year-round, Sunday through Thursday from 7am to 6pm and Friday and Saturday from 7am to 7pm. Beginning Memorial Day Weekend, the Island will remain open until 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays through Labor Day.
Friday, June 3
Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001), directed by John Cameron Mitchell, invites you to rock out! After falling in love with a U.S. Army sergeant, an East Berlin boy named Hansel undergoes a sex-change operation so that he can legally marry his beloved. But the operation is botched, leaving the boy less than a man, but not quite a woman. Deserted in a Kansas trailer park, the boy/girl, now named Hedwig, reinvents himself/herself as a rock star. Based on the hit off-Broadway musical. Presented in association with NewFest.
Friday, August 5
The Wiz (1978), directed by Sidney Lumet, invites you to ease on down the yellow-brick road! Relive all of the magic of this beloved musical when Dorothy is whisked away to the enchanting wonderland of Oz, where she encounters the Scarecrow, the Tinman and the Lion. The Wiz features spectacular musical numbers from legendary producer Quincy Jones and an all-star cast including Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Lena Horne, Richard Pryor, Nipsey Russell, and Ted Ross. Presented in association with Dance Films Association and New York International Children’s Film Festival.