The Trust for Governors Island today announced the Governors Island Winter Village will open November 17, transforming historic Colonels Row into a singular seasonal destination for the second year in a row. The popular Winter Village will include a 7,500-square foot skating rink for visitors of all ages to enjoy, along with wintery activities, festive decorations, games, cold-weather food and drinks, and warming fire pits. The rink will be open Thursday through Sunday and all New York City public school holidays, with additional Winter Village activities available seven days a week.
“We are so excited to invite New Yorkers and visitors to Governors Island for the return of Winter Village,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Cold weather doesn’t have to mean being stuck inside — it can mean ice skating and sledding with your friends or sitting around a fire with your family. And with the return of Winter Dog Days, I’m sure Governors Island will be a popular destination for every member of the family.”
“Governors Island continues to showcase its unique and uplifting contributions to New York City’s cultural landscape through the Winter Village,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “From ice skating to Jenga to toasty drinks, there’s something for everyone in the family at the Winter Village and I encourage all New Yorkers to take advantage of Governors Island year-round.”
“The secret is out: Governors Island is truly a magical place all year long, and we are so excited to welcome New Yorkers back to the Winter Village,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “In addition to some pretty spectacular skating, Winter Village visitors will once again be able to enjoy some of the same amazing food trucks, exciting programming, and stunning landscapes that make Governors Island a great place to visit all year long.”
In addition to the rink, the Village will feature bike and sled rentals from Blazing Saddles NYC and wintery activities including lawn games like cornhole, can jam and giant Jenga; fire pits; winter arts and cultural programming, and a sparkling display of holiday lights throughout historic Colonels Row. The Governors Island Winter Village will be open through February 2023.
Expanding on last year’s public hours, the ice rink will be open Thursdays and Fridays from noon to 5:30pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5:30pm, with event packages and buyouts available during additional hours. The rink will also feature events, activities, and “Free Admission Thursdays,” with admission fees waived for all visitors every Thursday. Rink admission and skate rentals can be reserved online at www.govisland.org starting mid-November.
Island vendor Little Eva’s will be open daily at the Winter Village with a seasonal menu, complete with warm drinks and new takes on their classic comfort food like brats, vegan chili, fish and chips, soups, and more. A rotating series of New York City’s best food trucks, in partnership with the New York Food Truck Association, will round out the Island’s winter eats.
The Governors Island Winter Village is presented with support from The May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation.
Governors Island’s award-winning park is open to the public every day, along with recreation activities like bike rentals, a Community Climbing Boulder, Hammock Grove, The Hills, Picnic Point, and more. Governors Island Arts public art commissions, including work from Charles Gaines, Duke Riley, Rachel Whiteread, Mark Dion, and Mark Handforth are also currently on view throughout the Island.
QCNY Spa continues to be open daily on Governors Island, with heated outdoor pools alongside saunas, steam rooms, relaxation treatments, massages, and a new bar and bistro. This winter also marks the return of Winter Dog Days, where dogs are allowed on Governors Island on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the winter months. Dogs must be leashed while on Governors Island except for in the Weekend Winter Dog Park, located adjacent to Liggett Terrace.
“Governors Island is a jewel for New York City, not just in the summer months, but now year-round, ” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “Today’s announcement of Governors Islands Winter Village invites visitors from all over the city to engage in ice skating, hot chocolate by the fire and weather friendly activities and festivities. I’m thrilled to continue supporting Governors Island as a dynamic resource for all New Yorkers and I am excited to see the experience created for visitors in the winter season.”
“I am happy that the Winter Village will be returning this season,” said State Senator Brian Kavanagh, who represents Governors Island. “New Yorkers will once again have access to great food and exciting events for all ages, including ice skating, winter activities, fun games, and festive decorations. I encourage everyone to visit Governors Island this winter and enjoy this winter wonderland. I applaud the Trust for Governors Island for their ongoing efforts to make Governors Island a more accessible, enjoyable, and engaging place to visit and explore.”
“Regardless of the time of year, Governors Island is always a must-visit destination, and the second-annual Winter Village has something for everyone. I encourage all New Yorkers to hop on the ferry and try one of the many wintertime activities or huddle by the fire pits,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “Thank you to the Trust for Governors Island for being incredible stewards of and constantly expanding public access to all that the island has to offer.”
“Coming off the heels of pumpkin point weekend and the many opportunities to enjoy the amazing canopy of fall foliage and bucolic natural beauty of Governors Island, Manhattan Community Board 1 is delighted to welcome the second Winter Season!” said Tammy Meltzer, Chairperson of Manhattan Community 1. “We look forward to the public enjoying the Island’s beloved open spaces glistening with fresh snow, the amazing unfettered harbor and skyline views, events and cultural programming. Community Board 1 is thrilled that the Trust continues to enhance the public’s access to this priceless natural resource through sun, snow and beyond.”
During the winter months, Governors Island is open to the public daily from 7am to 6pm. 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. For schedules and ticketing information, visit www.govisland.org. Trust-operated seasonal weekend Brooklyn ferry service will return in Spring 2023.
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 daily on the South Brooklyn route. For ticketing information and full schedules for NYC Ferry, visit www.ferry.nyc.
Creative Time, Governors Island Arts, and Times Square Arts are pleased to announce the opening of Moving Chainson Governors Island on October 15, 2022, the second chapter of Charles Gaines’sThe American Manifest. The 110-foot kinetic sculpture activated by colossal chains rotating overhead anchors a public art project that addresses the reality of systemic racism in the United States of America through embodied and visual experience, and provides critical historical context on our extraordinary political division today.
Announced in June 2022, Charles Gaines’s The American Manifest is an exhibition of multimedia sculpture, performances, and educational sessions that unfold in three parts across New York City and Cincinnati, Ohio over 2022 – 23. The opening of Moving Chains on Governors Island follows the project’s première in Times Square this July 2022 with Manifestos 4: The Dred and Harriet Scott Decision and Roots. Opening next,Moving Chains will be on view to the public on Governors Island in New York Harbor from October 15, 2022 through June 2023, before it moves to the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati.
“The second chapter in Charles Gaines’s monumental The American Manifest, Moving Chains is Governors Island Arts’ largest public art commission to date and will provide a deeply immersive opportunity for Island visitors and all New Yorkers to engage with the complex histories and legacies of Governors Island, New York Harbor, and the United States as a whole,” said Meredith Johnson, Vice President of Arts and Culture and Head Curator at the Trust for Governors Island. “Governors Island Arts is committed to supporting transformative artistic interventions that encourage New Yorkers to engage with the most pressing issues of our time, and we are honored to work with Charles Gaines and our incredible partners to bring Moving Chains to Governors Island.”
Commissioning partner Creative Time Executive Director Justine Ludwig, elaborates on the project, “Creative Time is committed to commissioning works of art on the scale of dreams that challenge expectation. Ambitious public art projects, like the Moving Chains, allow us to forefront difficult questions and reexamine historical truths. Charles Gaines has provided a clarity of vision, and executed it on a large-scale that is impossible to ignore.”
New York City welcomes the momentous public art engagement for New Yorkers and its visitors, “Each year, Governors Island expands its contributions to public art, culture and creativity in our city,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria-Torres Springer. “I encourage all New Yorkers to take a trip out to experience Moving Chains, Chapter Two of Charles Gaines’s The American Manifest—a thought-provoking and consequential sculpture and the Island’s largest public art commission to date.”
For nearly 50 years, Charles Gaines has distinguished himself as an artist dedicated to the perception of subjective and objective truths. In the artist’s first commission of public art, in development for nearly a decade, Gaines confronts the American origin story — the nation’s founding and its expansion — with a series of artworks that dissect a narrative riddled with falsehoods and omissions that have furthered the project of white supremacy. Tracing the flow of the historically charged rivers and ports of New York City and Cincinnati’s Ohio River, 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 today.
Moving Chains is a monumental 110-foot long kinetic sculpture built from steel and sustainably harvested Sapele, commonly referred to as African Mahogany, a tree native to West Africa. Created by Charles Gaines with collaborating architects TOLO Architecture, the sculpture, which people may enter and walk through, contains nine custom made chains weighing over 1,600 pounds each running its length overhead. Eight of the chains are representative of the pace of the currents in New York Harbor, while a ninth central chain moves more quickly, recalling the pace of ship and barge traffic that has traveled the city’s waterways for centuries. The overall effect of the weight and motion of the chains produces a rhythmic, undulating loop, evocative of the sounds of New York Harbor at the entrance to the Hudson River, known to the area’s Indigenous residents the Lenape as Mahicantuck, the river that runs two ways. Starting during the Dutch and British occupations, this waterway near present-day lower Manhattan would become an economic pillar of the transatlantic slave trade and seed the system of racial capitalism foundational to the United States. Facing the Statue of Liberty — an international symbol of benevolence and human rights, distinguished by the abolitionist iconography of a broken shackle and chain at her right foot—Moving Chains calls attention to the nation’s economic, judicial, and political frameworks that continue the legacy of slavery today.
To accompany Moving Chains, Creative Time and Governors Island Arts will present a conference on abolition and the limits of the law on the Island this Spring 2023, reconsidering legal and cultural definitions of freedom and the unfinished project of abolition. Bringing together an interdisciplinary group of thinkers, the accompanying programs will ask, how can liberation be defined outside of the confines of slavery and racial capitalism? What does freedom look like? What tactics are necessary to get there? Who is leading us in this work?
On the occasion of Moving Chains, Black Gotham Experience, a project that reimagines spaces directly impacted by the African Diaspora established by artist and historian Kamau Ware, will offer an audio tour of the pre-colonial, colonial, and post-colonial patterns that have informed a centuries-long relationship with what are known today as the East and Hudson Rivers and New York Harbor. Access to the tour will be available throughout the pathway to Moving Chains via QR code and on both the Creative Time and Governors Island Arts websites.
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 of slavery in America, and contributes to the ongoing dialogue about systems and cycles of racism, extraction, and oppression experienced today.
Charles Gaines: The American Manifest is made possible in New York and Cincinnati by the visionary support of the Ford Foundation, Lambent Foundation Fund, a fund of Tides Foundation, the Mellon 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, Suzanne and Bob Cochran, Marie Douglas, Karl Iagnemma and Ann-Kristen Lund, Jacob and Deborah Kotzubei, Jon Neidich, Bob and Renee Parsons, Sanjeev Rathi, Eric Richter, Waddell Family Foundation, Jed Walentas, Christopher Walker, Margaret Wang, Debi and Steven Wisch, and additional anonymous donors.
We are also grateful for the support of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) in partnership with the City Council and Mayor Eric Adams; and the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature.
Charles Gaines’s Moving Chains was developed in collaboration with TOLO Architecture, as well as numerous production partners in its design and construction including, engineering and mechanical design by AOA; installation and build by Torsilieri & Sons; sound engineering by Arup; and fabrication work by Stronghold Industries and Rozell Industries.
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 a 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; as well as the American Academy of Arts and Letters in May 2022. In January 2023, Gaines will be the subject of a major one person exhibition of new work at Hauser & Wirth New York.
The Trust for Governors Island and the Friends of Governors Island today announced the return of Pumpkin Point, a free annual pumpkin patch and fall festival on Governors Island. Located in historic Nolan Park, Pumpkin Point will bring over 1,000 pumpkins of all shapes and sizes to the Island’s historic district, transforming the idyllic setting along with its naturally stunning fall foliage into a delightfully autumnal escape with free programs and activities for visitors of all ages. Visitors are invited to pick out their own pumpkins (free with suggested donation) on the weekends of October 22 – 23 and October 29 – 30, 2022, from 10am to 5pm.
“Fall is the perfect time to come explore Governors Island – from beautiful fall foliage to a free pumpkin patch to exciting programming, there is something for everyone,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “We invite all New Yorkers to hop on the ferry and take in the changing seasons!”
This year’s festivities will include plenty of free fall moments, pumpkin painting, and crafting activities all taking place October 22 – 23 and 29 – 30, as well as a rotating schedule of special events and performances from Rising Sun Performance Company, WonderSpark Puppets, Drag Story Hour, Brooklyn Magic Shop, Flying Leap Productions in collaboration with Governors Island tenant Beam Center, the National Park Service, and more to be announced. A full schedule of each weekend’s events can be found online at www.govisland.org/pumpkin-point. Trick or treating also returns to Pumpkin Point this year on Sunday, October 30 — costumes encouraged. Food will be available for purchase onsite from Governors Island vendors each weekend.
Pumpkins left over from Pumpkin Point will be donated to local organizations fighting hunger in New York City, or composted on Governors Island by Earth Matter, which runs a Compost Learning Center at the Urban Farm on Governors Island.
“Each year, this magnificent free public event brings together people from all over New York City to enjoy the fall atmosphere here on Governors Island — one of the Island’s most magical times,” said Danny DiMarino, Senior Manager, Volunteer & Visitor Engagement at the Friends of Governors Island. “We cannot wait to welcome visitors to pick up some pumpkins, enjoy free programs, take in the crisp autumn air and changing leaves, and bask in the most magical time on Governors Island.”
In addition to Pumpkin Point, visitors can enjoy a roster of new events and activities all month long: Governors Island will participate in Forest for All NYC’s inaugural City of Forest Day with a volunteer activity and guided tree walk on October 15; Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center at Governors Island, open Fridays through Sundays through the end of October, will hold their monthly Take Care Series on October 16; FAD Market will hold their final fall pop-up on October 15 and 16; NYCRUNS will hold their annual Haunted Island 5K and 10K race on October 29; Governors Island Arts’ Organizations in Residence continue to present exhibitions and events in Nolan Park and Colonels Row through the end of October; QCNY Spa is open daily with dozens of wellness experiences and two large pools; and more. See a full event calendar at www.govisland.org/things-to-do.
Pumpkin Point is co-presented by the Trust for Governors Island and the Friends of Governors Island. Generous support for the event is provided by Nickelodeon, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Intrepid Productions.
Guest post by Malcolm Gore, Arborist at the Trust for Governors Island
In the Winter and Spring of 2022, the Trust for Governors Island conducted a survey of all trees on Governors Island to better understand the diversity, health, and longevity of our unique urban forest. The Trust received a grant from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation in 2021 to complete this survey, and contracted Davey Resource Group, a nationally respected tree company, to conduct the survey and create a Community Forest Management Plan for this crucial canopy resource situated in the middle of New York Harbor.
Why survey our trees? It’s critical that we have the full picture of the Island’s tree canopy to make sure we are the best stewards we can be, ensuring our trees survive — and thrive — for years to come. Governors Island is home to almost 3,500 trees (3,496 to be exact) comprising 123 different species. Of these trees, 97% are in either fair, good, or excellent condition — meaning they will continue to provide countless benefits to the many human and non-human visitors of Governors Island for years to come. Before diving into the specific benefits provided by our arboreal friends, let’s take a look at the diversity of this island forest.
London Plane Trees, with their distinctive white bark and arching branches, are the most plentiful tree on the Island as the 422 individuals represent 12% of the total tree population on Governors Island. They also account for a whopping 54% of the total leaf cover on the island, since most of them are mature trees that were planted when Robert Moses was NYC Parks Commissioner (while we aren’t sure the extent to which he had a say in the trees planted on Governors Island, London Plane Trees sprung up in huge numbers across the city during this time period— it seems they were his favorite tree). Having a single tree take up 12% of the canopy does come with some risk — if a new disease that affected London Plane Trees were to sweep through New York, Governors Island would lose a lot of its canopy. This disease risk is precisely why the Trust is actively planting many different native tree species that will make our urban forest more resilient.
Coming in second are Swamp White Oaks, with 202 individuals that comprise 6% of the total, followed by 150 of both Northern Red Oaks and River Birches. Rounding out the top five are the 120 Sweetgums that call the Island home. These native tree species are vitally important to bird and insect populations, as many types of caterpillars (AKA baby bird food) feed on their leaves in the spring and summer.
Additionally, the majority of these trees are young and, as they grow and mature, will provide more habitat and food for the plethora of fauna that visit the Island every year.
Biodiversity isn’t the only important thing to consider when maintaining a healthy tree canopy; the age diversity of the Island’s tree population is also important. Mature trees provide more habitat and shade, but are also riskier given their greater bulk and surface area to catch windstorms. The below chart represents the relative age of Governors Island’s trees as compared to the ideal to sustain a healthy forest.
As you can see, Governors Island’s tree canopy contains nearly double the amount of recommended young trees — this is largely due to all of the trees planted within the last five years in the Island’s award-winning park space. With proper care and time, these young trees should develop into established ones as soon as 2024, and this new urban forest will become more robust and self-sufficient.
Currently, only about 91 acres of Governors Island’s 172 acres are considered shaded, and the vast majority of that is in the Island’s Historic District under those 422 London Plane Trees. As the young oaks, sweetgums, and birches grow and mature on the South Island, more of the Island will experience the cooling benefits of tree shade, thus ensuring that the island becomes a place to escape the city heat in upcoming summers.
Besides shade, what other benefits do these 3,500 trees provide for New Yorkers? For one, trees are experts at removing pollution from the air. The Island’s forest removes 1,160 pounds of air pollutants annually, improving the air quality and lung health of people in the surrounding area. The more trees in a given area, the better the air quality which translates to reduced rates of asthma and stress, and improved cognition.
Trees also benefit the health of the planet by storing carbon. The trees of Governors Island contain approximately 1,245 tons of stored carbon, and every year they capture and sequester an additional 22 tons. Mature trees store more carbon that younger ones, simply because they have more surface area and larger root systems. Every year, trees grow a dense network of small feeder roots, made of carbon, that will die and be turned into organic matter in the late fall. The larger the tree, the more feeder roots they grow each year, and the more carbon they sequester underground.
This is just one reason why the Trust is dedicated to maintaining the health and longevity of as many mature trees as possible, and is taking steps to reduce the upper canopy of at-risk trees so their roots systems can continue to capture and store carbon for many years to come.
In addition to storing carbon, trees can help mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing storm damage and runoff. Tree roots act as giant sponges, soaking up vast quantities of water that could quickly turn into toxic runoff, and the canopy intercepts deluges of rain that would otherwise hit the ground with force and cause compaction or flash floods. On Governors Island, the canopy prevents up to 378,000 gallons of runoff annually, improving the soil of our park space and preventing pollutants from contaminating New York Harbor.
All the data resulting from this survey is incredibly valuable to the Trust for Governors Island, as it will help inform decisions on tree planting, park maintenance, construction projects, and programming events. The 3,500 trees on Governors Island are a vital resource to the people of New York, and the Trust is committed to ensuring that this crucial urban forest remains healthy and resilient for many years to come. To learn more about urban forests and trees, come to Governors Island on October 15 for our City of Forest Day event — including a special volunteer activity and a tree walking tour around the Island. Click here to learn more and register.
September 19 – 25, 2022, marks the fourteenth annual Climate Week NYC, the biggest global climate event of its kind — an entire week dedicated to taking action in the face of climate change to ensure a better, more sustainable future. Organized by The Climate Group in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly and the City of New York, this year’s programming centers around the theme “Getting it Done.”
The week is packed full of events — both virtual and in-person — held by a host of leading climate organizations, including some Governors Island partners and tenants. Check out the full schedule of events online at climateweeknyc.org.
Whether it’s through monumental public art commissions that engage directly with the climate crisis, the climate solutions literally built into the Island’s award-winning, 43-acre park, or the vibrant community of tenants and partner organizations leading climate work in innovative and equitable ways, Governors Island is a hub for climate education, arts, culture, and other programming every week of the year. We look forward to further expanding opportunities for education and research, encouraging public engagement in the climate crisis, incubating equitable solutions, and growing NYC-based green jobs through the Center for Climate Solutions on Governors Island. Visit govisland.org/climate to learn more about this vision and follow along with us on social media all week long for a look into everything that helps make Governors Island a sustainable community.
NYC’s adolescent and youth population has had to endure so many challenges over the past two years; spending a great amount of time indoors and trying to adjust to the ever-changing (and increasingly common) hybrid models of school, work, and recreational programs. Because of this, The Friends of Governors Island partnered again with Futures and Options to provide a hands-on, experiential, and primarily outdoor internship that provides interns with valuable work and life experiences that they can carry with them through their professional and educational pursuits. This summer, the Friends welcomed a team of eight high school-aged interns that served as Island Ambassadors, offering their skillsets to improve the Visitor Services operations.
Futures and Options is a nonprofit organization that partners with New York’s business community to provide career and internship opportunities for underserved youth. With their extensive career readiness programs, the interns that come from Futures and Options come equipped with training and education, providing Governors Island with a valuable and diverse workforce. Interns have reapplied to come work on Governors Island for multiple summers in a row, as our Island Ambassador Internship is very well-liked and sought after amongst our cohorts each year.
The FGI Island Ambassador Internship is a holistic summer program that emphasizes growth in public outreach, community building, and ecological exploration and preservation. Throughout the five weeks, interns relate to the thriving Island community of artists, farmers, environmentalists, historians, (and more!) to explore their career interests and deepen their communication skills.
As a team, the interns serve as the core Visitor Service cohort on weekends, interfacing with the public regularly while running our Welcome Center shops. On weekdays, they support the Island’s many corporate events and preservation efforts, from the historical buildings to plant life, and get to know the diverse organizations that call Governors Island home. Additionally, the interns had the opportunity to staff some of the Island’s unique art installations, such as the May Room, and were encouraged to foster relationships with the other organizations in residence on the island, such as Beam Center, the West Harlem Art Fund, and Billion Oyster Project.
Each year, The Friends of Governors Island provides new opportunities for these young professionals. In addition to meeting a weekly requirement of in-the-field visitor service experience, the interns attended a career development workshop focusing on resume building, interview skills, and financial literacy hosted by the Friends of Governors Island staff, along with off-Island networking events.
Over the course of the summer, the 2022 interns provided nearly 1,000 hours of direct service and helped thousands of visitors. While gaining professional work and service experience is paramount for our interns, building meaningful connections with individuals on the Island and in the city they call home is also important to them as they gain confidence socially after enduring such isolating times.
Stay tuned for information on Fall internship opportunities!
Governors Island Arts today announced new fall programming from the seasonal Organizations in Residence in the historic former military houses of Nolan Park and Colonels Row, expanding cultural offerings for Governors Island visitors and exploring themes including abolition, origins of Latin American art, intersections of art and technology, struggles for racial and gender equity, and more.
“Governors Island attracts a variety of visitors with its wide-ranging Organizations in Residence programming and this Fall’s pieces are the epitome of unique experiences in the middle of New York Harbor,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria-Torres Springer. “I encourage every New Yorker to visit Governors Island’s Nolan Park and Colonels Row, which include powerful pieces highlighting the arts, culture, and technology.”
“As Governors Island’s cultural community continues to grow, we are excited to present even more engaging cultural experiences from the more than two-dozen Organizations in Residence from across the city,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “There’s no place in New York City quite like Governors Island – from our accessible recreational experiences to our stunning, ecologically innovative landscapes, to one of the most diverse collections of cultural experiences to be presented in one place – I encourage all New Yorkers to hop on the ferry and take advantage of all the Island has to offer this fall.”
“The Organizations in Residence program represents a powerful cross-section of perspectives from around New York City, and we are thrilled for visitors to be able to experience the expanded program offerings for the fall months,” said Juan Pablo Siles, Associate Curator and Producer at the Trust for Governors Island. “These new offerings put into practice the mission of Governors Island Arts, engaging with the most pressing issues of our time and responding to the Island’s unique environments, while further connecting the artistic hub on Governors Island to the citywide arts and cultural community.”
Reflecting the diversity of New York City in one cultural hub, Governors Island Arts’ seasonal Organizations in Residence program presents dynamic, accessible, free programming to Island visitors each year. 2022 Organizations in Residence include 4heads, American Indian Community House, ArtCrawl Harlem, Beam Center, Billion Oyster Project, BronxArtSpace, Bronx Hispanic Festival/New York Latin American Art Triennial, the Climate Museum, Escaping Time: Art from U.S. Prisons, Flux Factory, Harvestworks, KODA, MoCADA, NARS Foundation, New Art Dealers Alliance, New York Virtual Volcano Observatory, National Academy of Design, NYC Audubon, NYU Gallatin WetLab, Pratt School of Architecture’s GAUD Program, Swale, Triangle Arts, and the West Harlem Art Fund.
See below for a schedule of upcoming free exhibitions and public programs, with more to be announced in the coming weeks at www.govisland.org.
BronxArtSpace: Artist Residency & Open Studios
Colonels Row Building 407A
BronxArtSpace is a community-based organization committed to supporting local and often under-resourced artists, fostering projects that engage vital social, educational, and political concerns. On Governors Island, BronxArtSpace will host their annual artist residency for seven Bronx-based artists alongside open studios September 24 – 25 and October 29 – 30.
Escaping Time: Art from U.S. Prisons
August 20-October 30
Colonels Row Building 410A
Founded in 2013, Escaping Time: Art from U.S. Prisons works to change the way people who have been through the criminal justice system are viewed by society as a whole. By exhibiting and selling artwork created behind prison walls, they engage Governors Island visitors with issues related to the criminal justice system, serving as a reminder that there are human beings behind each piece. Join for an opening reception on August 27 from 5 – 7pm.
New York Latin American Art Triennial 2022 (NYLAAT) presented by the Bronx Hispanic Festival
August 29-November 16
Colonels Row Building 405B
New to Governors Island is the 2022 New York Latin American Art Triennial (NYLAAT), presented under the umbrella of the Bronx Hispanic Festival at eight locations throughout New York City. This year’s theme, Abya Yala: Structural Origins, explores pre-Columbian, African, and European influence and the compulsive changes on Latin American art brought along with the contemporary era. NYLAAT2022 on Governors Island will feature the work of 10 artists on display through the fall.
NYU Gallatin WetLab: feel rubble
September 10-October 30
Colonels Row Building 403
feel rubble assembles historic multimedia works by Beverly Buchanan and Betty Beaumont, along with a site-responsive sculptural intervention by Gabriela Salazar. Join for an opening party on September 10 from 4 – 7pm.
American Indian Community House
Nolan Park Building 15
The American Indian Community House will present several free public arts programs throughout the fall, including staged readings, open rehearsals, and performances from Chatha/Choctaw, Creek, and Delaware Native American performer, writer, director, and actor Nicholson Billey; Mohawk actress, director, and writer Danielle Gray; LeAnne Howe, Marla Carlson, and Muriel Miguel.
Colonels Row Building 404A
Free, artist-led public programs at Flux Saturdays, held on the last Saturday of each month through the end of October – including performances, exhibitions, open studios, workshops, and more.
Harvestworks: Fluid — an art and tech exhibition
August 27-October 30
Nolan Park Building 10B
Through tech-focused artworks, Fluid brings together artists working in a variety of media including recycled electronics, web-VR, and immersive sound and image installations. Bringing attention to the fluid relationships between human, animal, and machines, each work explores these issues through the lens of the artist.
KODA: Mildred Beltré: Working to get there
August 12-September 18
Colonels Row Building 404B
Through her agitprop work and poetic gestures, Mildred Beltré generates desire and invites imagination to dream with eyes open wide. Working to get there takes its title from pre-figurative and abolitionist writing and presents prints, drawings, crochets, and human hair installations created between the years of 2002 – 2022 that represent a powerful struggle for racial and gender equity that is crucial to hope and joy.
KODA x Residency Unlimited — The Snake & The Archive
August 20-September 10
Colonels Row Building 404B
The Snake & The Archive is a collaborative research & installation project by Stephanie Misa and queer feminist, zine-producing duo Multiple Spirits. The installation approaches and encounters the archive — whether as subject, source or concept, and the intersections between them— through embodied and situated knowledge and culturally distinct perspectives.
Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art: MoCADA Abolition House
July 16-October 30
Nolan Park Building 7A
At MoCADA Abolition House on Governors Island, mid-career artists will use their unique platform, space, and resources to develop and present projects, films, performances, and other new work related to social justice. Highlights include Supremacy Project, a group installation addressing systemic violence and oppression that BIPOC families and communities are fighting to end; Protest With Art, featuring artifacts collected by The All Street Journal that chronicle the Black Lives Matter Movement, movements for housing justice, and mental health causes; and short film features.
Curated by NARS Curatorial Fellow Jessica Duby, this exhibition features works by NARS Foundation’s Satellite Artists in Residence on Governors Island, along with artist-led workshops and open studios.
National Academy of Design: Materia/Material
Nolan Park Building 7B
National Academy of Design is holding a summer residency for six artists in residence, along with several open studios and participatory workshops throughout the fall.
Nolan Park Building 17
August 6‑October 29
This fall, New York City Audubon will open the doors of their Governors Island residence, inviting visitors inside the house to experience the world of urban birds in unexpected ways. In addition, Afternoon Bird Walks continue every Saturday from 2 – 3:30pm.
Pratt School of Architecture’s Department of Graduate Architecture and Urban Design (GAUD): Experimental Landings
Nolan Park Building 14
Through September 5
This exhibition interrogates how designers assert agency through the representation, organization, and formation of land. Join for a panel discussion and reception on September 1.
Pratt School of Architecture’s Department of Graduate Architecture and Urban Design (GAUD): MS.Arch and MS.AUD Student Show 2022
Nolan Park Building 14
September 16-October 28
An exhibition featuring the work of students graduating from the Ms.Arch (Masters of Science in Architecture) and MS.AUD (Masters of Science in Urban Design) in the summer of 2022.
Swale: Metabolism of Cities
Nolan Park Building 11&LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island
November 16 – 17
An annual symposium that will focus on the metabolic processes that sustain life and that can build or rebuild the foundations of sustainability. Co-presented by Urban Soils Institute NYC and NYC Soil and Water Conservation District.
Swale: Free Soils Testing Events
Nolan Park Building 11
August 27& September 17
Visitors can bring soil samples from home, and Swale and NYC Urban Soils Institute will test it for heavy metals content on the spot.
West Harlem Art Fund (WHAF)
Nolan Park Building 10B
September 10-October 30
West Harlem Art Fund will present Fall Arts, a newly curated indoor show featuring print, design, and sculpture artworks by NYC area artists. This fall, WHAF will also hold monoprinting workshops on September 10, September 24, October 8, and October 22, led by artist Red Sagalow, and outdoor tap-dancing workshops on October 2 and October 9.
In addition, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC)’s Arts Center at Governors Island – the first year-round home for the arts on the Island – continues their 2022 season through the fall months, with a site-specific exhibition by Amy Khoshbin and Jennifer Khoshbin, a four-channel video installation by Elissa Blount-Moorhead and Bradford Young, a participatory sculpture installation by Simon Benjamin, and the monthly Take Care public programs series. The Arts Center is open Friday through Sunday, with free admission available at www.lmcc.net.
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.