This weekend, get your first taste of summer in the harbor. Memorial Day weekend kicks off our peak season with longer hours, special programs and more ways to enjoy your favorite Island escape.
Stay out late on Governors Island when our late-night hours begin this Friday, May 24. Every Friday and Saturday night through August 31, we’re open until 10 PM. Come out to enjoy the sunset over The Hills, grab dinner in Liggett Terrace and enjoy a nightcap with stunning skyline views at Soissons Landing, or just take a scenic stroll in the cool evening air. See which vendors stay open for late hours on our Food page and keep an eye on our Things To Do page for exciting special events happening at night.
We’re making it even easier to get to the Island this weekend with additional Brooklyn ferry service. Saturday through Monday, ferries will run between our Yankee Pier and Brooklyn’s Pier 6 every half hour until the evening. NYC Ferry’s shuttle service between Pier 11/Wall St. and Yankee Pier also begins this Saturday, running weekends to get you to our shore from all over the city’s waterways.
Indulge yourself at special guest food trucks open all weekend on Colonels Row. Grab a classic cheesesteak at Gary’s Steaks, tuck into Wings Lovers’ chicken wings or chow down on Korean BBQ tacos at Kimchi Taco. Hungry Island-goers will be satisfied to hear that our vendors will be serving up their specialties on Monday, including Island Oyster and Taco Vista at Soissons Landing, all of the phenomenal offerings at Liggett Terrace and Three Peaks Lodge at Collective Retreats. Sea Biscuit, a new outpost of Little Eva’s on the western promenade south of Castle Williams, opens for the season this weekend to serve up frozen drinks and small plates in a scenic waterfront setting.
Governors Island is the perfect Memorial Day destination for families with kids. Besides Slide Hill and the Liggett Terrace play areas, play:ground NYC’s The Yard and Art Force 5 will both be open every day this weekend. Kids can also jump into a fun, free program imagining and building sustainable energy machines with Koko NYC on Sunday and Monday. The whole family can play together at Adventures at GI’s mini golf course, adventure maze, challenge wall and zipline.
If you’d rather take it easy (or just need a break from having so much fun), you can always relax in our gorgeous new parkland. Walk up into the Hills to take in a panoramic view of New York Harbor, bring a picnic and spread out on our rolling lawns, or kick back in an Adirondack chair or in a secluded spot in Hammock Grove.
Memorial Day is also the perfect time to visit Castle Williams, a former Army fortification that's now part of Governors Island National Monument. You can show yourself around or join a National Park Service Ranger for guided tours at 11:30 AM, 1:30 PM and 3:30 PM every day.
Even though it isn’t quite summer yet, we think there are still plenty of reasons to celebrate the season. With so much to do on Governors Island this Memorial Day weekend, you might have to come back twice!
OPEN MONDAY 5/27 (Memorial Day):
Food and beverage vendors Island Oyster (plus late nights Friday and Saturday) Taco Vista (plus late nights Friday and Saturday) Little Eva’s (plus late night on Saturday) Joe Coffee Makina Café (plus late night on Saturday) Perros Y Vainas (plus late night on Saturday) People’s Pops Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights (plus late night on Saturday) Melt Bakery (plus late nights Friday and Saturday) Sea Biscuit (plus late night on Saturday) Three Peaks Lodge at Collective Retreats (plus late nights Friday and Saturday) Gary’s Steaks (special guest on Colonels Row) Wings Lovers (special guest on Colonels Row) Kimchi Taco (special guest on Colonels Row)
May 22, 2019. Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the nomination of Clare Newman as President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. Newman is a lifelong New Yorker with extensive experience in strategic planning, real estate development and public private partnerships and a demonstrated passion for mission-focused projects. She comes to Governors Island with a strong vision for its future and a deep appreciation of the unique character that makes the Island so special.
Newman will be responsible for directing and managing all of Governors Island’s activities and operations, and supporting the development of Governors Island as a vibrant, year-round destination for recreation, innovation, and culture. Newman’s nomination will be voted on by the Trust for Governors Island Board of Directors on June 19, 2019.
“Governors Island is the jewel of New York Harbor – and Clare is the perfect person to unlock its potential. With her programming and planning experience, Clare will implement innovative projects to attract more New Yorkers to the island year-round while planning for its bright future,” said Mayor de Blasio.
“Governors Island is one of New York City’s great public resources—a vital destination for residents from across the city. As a life-long New Yorker, I’m deeply honored to have the opportunity to lead such an extraordinary place,” said Clare Newman. “I’m eager to foster development that will turn the Island into a 24/7 center of economic and cultural activity, and I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Deputy Mayor Been for this opportunity to build on all the work that has quickly brought the Island back into the city’s fabric.”
“We're excited to have Clare bring her expertise overseeing the largest expansion of the Brooklyn Navy Yard since WWII to Governor's Island," said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. "Clare has the vision, and track record, to bring new cultural experiences, improve access across incomes, and plan for the threats the island faces due to climate change, benefiting New Yorkers for years to come."
“Clare brings a longstanding track record, commitment and experience in delivering transformative, mission-driven projects across the City and is well suited to realize Governors Island’s full potential as an extraordinary place for all New Yorkers to visit, work, learn and enjoy year-round ” said Carl Weisbrod, Chair of the Board of the Trust for Governors Island. “I look forward to working closely with Clare, the Trust board and staff in building upon the successes of the Island’s transformation and expanding investment in the Island as a hub of culture, recreation, innovation and learning.”
"Clare Newman is a visionary, a placemaker, and a true New Yorker who will work tirelessly to maintain Governors Island's unique, funky character while crafting a plan for its strategic development," said Alicia Glen, former Deputy Mayor and incoming Chair of the Trust for Governors Island. "Clare will draw on her extensive experience in planning, development, programming and design to ensure that the Island is a crown jewel for all New Yorkers to enjoy."
"Clare Newman is well-known in New York City as a dedicated and highly capable public servant - among the best of the best," said Marc Ricks, Chair of the Friends of Governors Island. “We at the Friends are thrilled with her appointment and look forward to working closely with her and the rest of the Trust staff and board to ensure that Governors Island reaches its full potential as a year-round destination for all New Yorkers."
“As the Council Member representing Governors Island, I have worked closely with the Trust to make the island an indispensable resource for all New Yorkers,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “Today, this space is a crown jewel in New York Harbor providing a valuable array of cultural and educational programming, outdoor events and recreation activities for the thousands of visitors the island welcomes every year. I congratulate President Clare Newman who—as the former Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation—brings precisely the type of experience needed to steer Governors Island towards further success.”
About Clare Newman
Clare Newman serves as Chief of Staff and Executive Vice President of the Brooklyn Navy Yard Development Corporation (BNYDC). As Chief of Staff, Newman oversees the Planning, Development, External Affairs, Transportation and Design & Construction departments and works on strategic initiatives. Newman’s focus has been on implementing projects that, together, will bring 10,000 jobs to the Yard by 2020, and on planning for future development. Newman previously worked at Bloomberg Philanthropies where she was a senior leader on the Government Innovation team. In that role she led the Mayors Challenge, an international competition to inspire and incentivize cities to generate innovative ideas to solve major urban challenges. Prior to joining Bloomberg Philanthropies, Newman was a Vice President at New York City Economic Development Corporation’s Real Estate division. There she worked with government, not-for-profit, and private sector partners to lead development projects and other City initiatives. In her over five years at NYCEDC, Clare executed projects throughout the five boroughs, including the restoration of the Loews Kings Theatre in Flatbush, Brooklyn, the City’s bike share program, and the Applied Sciences tech-campus initiative.
Newman received a Masters of Urban Planning from the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University and a B.A. with honors in Political Economy from Williams College. She is a member of the board of TransitCenter and a member of New York Women Executives in Real Estate.
change impacts ecosystems in ways that might not be visible if you don’t know
what to look for. Species and habitats can disappear without making a sound.
Sam Van Aken, a sculptor and multidisciplinary artist who is the Graduate Program Coordinator for the School of Art at Syracuse University, wants to reintroduce us to what we don’t know we’ve lost. Climate change and industrialized agriculture have reduced the biodiversity of plant life in the United States to a shocking degree. While a century ago the U.S. boasted over 3,000 distinct varieties of peach tree, there are now under 100. In his new project, The Open Orchard, Van Aken seeks to restore and preserve some of New York’s lost biodiversity and all its delicious benefits. The Open Orchard will plant 50 hybridized trees on Governors Island, each one bearing multiple varieties of peaches, plums, apricots, cherries and apples once native to the area but that have since disappeared. His vision for the project combines artistic expression and environmental stewardship into a sprawling public artwork that’s also a shared resource for generations to come.
The ancient art of tree grafting, which Van Aken uses to create his hybrid trees, involves stitching multiple fruit tree varieties together into a single tree that bears different fruit on each of its grafted branches. The results are not only beautiful and delicious (trees bursting with rainbows of flowers and yielding entire fruit salads) but an ingenious way to preserve vanishing fruit varieties. Van Aken is already growing 200 of these trees in a nursery on Governors Island. When The Open Orchard is planted over the next few years, 50 of them will remain on the Island to create the artwork, which doubles as a fully functioning orchard, and 150 will be distributed to community gardens across the city to spread the benefits of the project and further safeguard the included varieties.
We launched a Kickstarter campaign to help us bring The Open Orchard to life, and we hit our funding goal! We've introduced a stretch goal to donate 100 more trees to NYC community gardens. Learn more and help us plant the seeds of this remarkable, vital project here. Thank you to everyone who has backed the project so far!
On May 4th, the Friends of Governors Island hosted the first annual ShinDIG! Throughout the day over 500 community members pitched in to help get the Island ready for the season ahead. Thank you to all who helped the Friends keep Governors Island vibrant.
Removed 4,350 gallons of invasive species, making room for native plants to flourish and contribute to the Island’s healthy ecosystem
Weeded 5,000 square feet in Liggett Terrace, ensuring it remains a beautiful place for visitors to enjoy delicious food or splash in the play fountains
Removed 3,000 gallons of overgrown grasses in the Hills, encouraging new growth and protecting the habitats of friendly insects and birds
Distributed 800 gallons of mulch to the Liggett Terrace Play Area and Slide Hill, so kids (and adults!) can play safely
Harvested thousands of seeds from flowers grown on the Island, so we can continue to support the growing biodiversity of the Island
Worked with the Billion Oyster Project to clean and prepare 150 bags of oyster shells that will be used to create new oyster habitats and help restore our Harbor.
Cleared 220 gallons of dead leaves and weeds from The Lavender Field, ensuring a fragrant, purple summer to come.
Weeded and cleaned the garden at the Harbor School, creating a beautiful recess spot for 450 public high school students.
All of the 10,350 gallons of plant material we collected will be composted by our friends at Earth Matter NY’s Compost Learning Center, where it will be made into rich fertilizer that goes back into our landscapes as part of the Island’s zero-waste initiative.
With your help, we accomplished a lot! But there’s more to do to keep this oasis in the Harbor beautiful and healthy. Here’s how you can get involved to help care for the Island:
April 2, 2019. New York, NY. The Trust for Governors Island (The Trust) today announced its six-month public season along with its full lineup of programming and activities. Beginning May 1, New Yorkers and visitors alike are invited to enjoy the Island’s open space with unparalleled views of New York Harbor, car-free recreational activities and an expansive calendar of events and public programs just a quick ferry ride from Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn. This year, Governors Island will be open daily from May 1 to October 31, with extended late-night hours every Friday and Saturday between Memorial and Labor Day. Ferries will be free for all visitors during the first week of the season, Wednesday, May 1 to Sunday, May 5.
“We’re excited to kick off another season for New Yorkers to experience the culture and natural beauty of Governors Island,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “With a new ferry and extended hours, more New Yorkers will be able to enjoy the Island than ever before.”
“Governors Island continues to bring an easy and affordable escape to all New Yorkers right in the heart of the city,” said Michael Samuelian, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “We’re proud to continue to expand access to this Island oasis with the arrival of our brand-new ferry and even more evening hours this season. With new and improved dining options and even more cultural and educational partners from across the city, we are adding more and more amenities to complement the Island’s amazing views and vibrant park.”
This season, public hours will expand with late nights every Friday and Saturday between Memorial Day and Labor Day. The Island will remain open until 10:00pm those evenings, allowing visitors to enjoy delicious food and cocktails from Island vendors, beautiful open space and special events surrounded by the incredible nighttime New York skyline. Additional evening arts and cultural programming will be announced in the coming weeks.
In addition to expanded hours, expanded ferry access comes to Governors Island this season. Beginning in June, visitors will be ferried to the Island by a new addition to the Trust’s fleet: a brand-new, 400-passenger ferry. Built to serve flexible routes and support the ever-expanding events and services offered, as well as future activation ofGovernors Island into a year-round destination, the new vessel will increase frequency of trips between Lower Manhattan and Soissons Landing on weekends, with service approximately every 20 minutes, carrying an additional 1,000 passengers per hour. A new weekend ferry schedule will be announced in the coming weeks and will go into effect in June.
“Governors Island has continued to grow into a welcoming green space, and I am thrilled to see all of the new amenities that will be available to the public this summer season,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I hope all New Yorkers will take advantage of the increased ferry service, extended hours, many food vendors, and free events that will take place there this season.”
“I am thrilled to invite my fellow New Yorkers to take advantage of all that Governors Island has to offer as it launches its 2019 season of activities. With 70 free events and a new ferry, even more families will have an opportunity to explore and relax on this iconic sanctuary of lush green space, unbeatable waterfront views, and eye-opening art. I thank the Trust for Governors Island and all its community and arts partners for their collaborative work to preserve this haven for culture, recreation and discovery,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin.
Events on the Island start soon after opening day, with the 1st Annual Opening Weekend ShinDIG, a community volunteer event and opening celebration hosted by the Friends of Governors Island on May 4. Special events kick into high gear in June, with the 14th iteration of the Jazz Age Lawn Party, the world’s largest prohibition-era gathering with live music, dancing and more, and the freeform folk festival Porch Stomp. Events featured later in summer include the New York City Poetry Festival in July, the Japan Performing Arts Festival in August and the Vendy Awards, a fierce competition featuring the best of New York City street food. New to Governors Island this year is the Longines Global Champions Tour, one of the world’s most exciting and competitive equestrian series, coming to New York City for the first time ever in September.
“Governors Island continues to be a beacon of joy and openness in our crowded city,” said Merritt Birnbaum, Executive Director of the Friends of Governors Island. “We’re thrilled to kick off the season with our first-ever ShinDIG on May 4, a spring celebration that invites New Yorkers of all ages to lend a hand in caring for our shared oasis in the harbor. And this is just the first of so many fun, free activities and events that will engage and delight visitors this year.”
More events will be announced throughout the season.
The Trust today also announced new vendors who will expand Governors Island’s culinary offerings this season in Liggett Terrace Food Court. Brooklyn-based Threes Brewingwill open a new outpost, located in Liggett Terrace that will serve a selection of beer & wine. As part of their involvement this season, they will launch a special beer to serve on the island, Public Property, with 10% of the proceeds donated. Neapolitan Express, the Island’s first pizza vendor, will bring its 100% alternative energy powered truck to serve Neapolitan-style pizzas, salads, sandwiches, coffee and pastries seven days per week. Makina Café will serve traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean food with a modern twist, including a range of vegan and vegetarian options. Perros Y Vainas will bring traditional “Perros Calientes” (or hot dogs) and other Venezuelan treats. Joe Coffee, Melt Bakery and People’s Pops will offer ice cream, dessert, coffee and pastries. Caribbean eatery Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights and Red Hook-based Little Eva’s Beer Garden Grill will return.
Vendors announced today responded to a Call for Proposals for food and beverage establishments issued in early 2019. Waterfront restaurants Island Oyster and Taco Vista will return this season, located near the Manhattan Ferry Landing. This season, Island Oyster will host live music on the second and last Saturday of each month between June and August.
ARTS, CULTURE & LEARNING
A diverse range of season-long, free exhibitions spanning visual arts, performance, culture and science in the historic houses of Nolan Park and Colonels Row will open between May and June. Over three dozen organizations bring free, public programs to the Island’s historic homes, including returning organizations like the Climate Museum, NYC Audubon, 4heads and the New Art Dealers Alliance, who will open NADA House on May 2, a new program featuring 45 artists from NADA Member galleries and non-profits in an expanded format across 34 rooms in three historic houses.
New cultural programs to Governors Island this year include the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), Pioneer Works, the American Indian Community House, the Climate Reality Project and the Human Impacts Institute, opening in Nolan Park in June. Visitors will be able to peruse a diverse array of free exhibitions, workshops, performances, artist talks and demonstrations every weekend of the season. The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s newly expanded Arts Center will open its doors in September, with inaugural programming focused on themes of ecology and sustainability including site-specific exhibitions by Yto Barrada and Michael Wang, plus Open Studios and related public events surrounding the Center’s signature Artist Residency programs and work developed in the space.
Beginning May 4 at the Island’s Urban Farm, visitors will have the opportunity to engage first-hand in programs that span environmental stewardship and sustainability, including the return of GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden and Earth Matter NY’s Compost Learning Center and Soil Start Farm. The Island Bee Project’s Bee Sanctuary expands their family to 80,000 honeybees with the addition of a new hive this year in partnership with the Honeybee Conservancy. Artist Mary Mattingly’s food accessibility awareness project, Swale, returns with an indoor exhibition in Nolan Park and a new outdoor food forest in the Urban Farm, featuring over 400 edible plants.
Visitors will also once again be able to enjoy guided programs exploring the rich history of the Governors Island National Monument. Fort Jay and Castle Williams will be open throughout the summer. The National Park Service will offer frequent ranger-led tours and many exciting programs. Visit www.nps.gov/GOIS for more information about upcoming tours and hours.
“Come and join the National Park Service at Governors Island National Monument starting on May 1, 2019,” said Shirley McKinney, Superintendent of Manhattan Sites for the National Park Service. “We are excited to welcome visitors to the monument to enjoy the wonderful views to NYC from Castle Williams and Fort Jay. I encourage all to discover more about Governors Island's magnificent history!”
In addition to free weekly walking tours, this year the Trust, in collaboration with Urban Archive, will launch a free self-guided mobile history tour. Merging technology with archival photographs owned by the Trust, Library of Congress and other institutions, Urban Archive’s app will take users on a historical journey around Governors Island. Users will learn details about the Island’s history, from its earliest inhabitants, the Lenape to its strategic position as a military installation, to its present-day transformation, while viewing stunning photographs from the Island’s past and seeing firsthand how its features have evolved over centuries. This unique self-guided experience will be available beginning in May. For more information, visit www.urbanarchive.nyc.
For a full lineup of ongoing programs, click here.
GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT GOVERNORS ISLAND’S 2019 SEASON
Governors Island is open every day from May 1 through October 31. On weekdays, the Island is open from 10 AM to 6 PM. On weekends and holidays, the Island is open from 10 AM to 7 PM. On Friday and Saturday evenings between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, the Island will be open until 10 PM.
Ferries will run from Lower Manhattan every day from the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street. Direct service from Brooklyn will run from Pier 6, Brooklyn Bridge Park on Saturdays, Sundays, Memorial Day and Labor Day.
All weekday and weekend afternoon ferries from Brooklyn and Manhattan are $3 round trip for adults. Children under 12, IDNYC holders and Governors Island Members ride for free at all times and senior citizens’ fares are $1.
Morning ferries (10 AM, 11 AM and 11:30 AM from Manhattan and 11 AM and 11:30 AM from Brooklyn) on Saturdays and Sundays are free for all. There is no surcharge for bicycles at any time.
Visitors will be able to purchase ferry tickets at the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan or at Pier 6 in Brooklyn. Only cash is accepted.
Ferries will be free for all visitors during the first week of the season, from May 1-May 5.
Beginning Memorial Day weekend, the city’s NYC Ferry service will offer additional connections to Governors Island’s Yankee Pier via a dedicated service from Wall Street/Pier 11. For ticketing information and for a full schedule, please visit www.ferry.nyc.
Welcome Centers are located at both Soissons Landing and Yankee Pier on Governors Island.
Visitors can pick up an information guide, receive personalized assistance on the day’s activities from our friendly Visitor Services team, purchase souvenirs and Island essentials like sunscreen and cold drinks and learn about membership and volunteer programs.
Soissons Landing Welcome Center hours: Wednesday-Friday 10AM-4PM Saturday-Sunday 10AM-5PM
Yankee Pier Welcome Center hours: Saturday-Sunday 10AM-5PM
Every day, visitors can bring their own bikes, or rent one while visiting. Blazing Saddles offers visitors over 500 bikes and 60 surreys for rental, and on weekday mornings offers an hour of free cruiser bike rentals. For the 2019 season, Blazing Saddles will expand to include pedal cars, scooters, and balance bikes for families with small children. Citi Bike kiosks can be found at Soissons Landing, Yankee Pier and Picnic Point. Visit govisland.org for more information.
Kayakers can access the Island’s kayak dock at Pier 101. The Downtown Boathouse will also offer free kayaking sessions to visitors of all skill levels on Saturdays from June 15 to September 14, 11am-4pm. For more information, visit www.downtownboathouse.org.
Gatherings and Grills
Visitors may reserve grills for gatherings, parties, reunions or any celebration when the Island is open to the public. Reservations must be made at least two weeks in advance and are booked on a first come, first served basis. All applicants will be charged a $26 non-refundable fee. For more information and to apply visit www.govisland.org/permits.
Adventures at Governors Island
Adventures at Governors Island is New York City’s premiere summer destination for thrill-seekers and adventure enthusiasts of all ages, open daily. This unique “pop-up” amusement park currently features four exciting amusements, including a zipline, climbing challenge, maze and mini-golf course. For more information, visit www.adventuresgovisland.com.
Collective Governors Island
Collective Retreats offers unique, seasonal lodging on Governors Island, offering both full hotel-style service and premium select service accommodations as well as experiential dining. The retreat offers a full-service restaurant and bar open to the public as well as public lawn space featuring yoga classes available on the weekends and lawn games. For more information on class times, accommodation booking and other events visit www.collectiveretreats.com.
About The Trust for Governors Island
The Trust for Governors Island is the nonprofit corporation created by the City of New York that is responsible for the redevelopment and operation of 150 acres of Governors Island. The Trust's mission is to transform Governors Island into a vibrant resource for New York City, making this island at the center of New York Harbor a destination with extraordinary public open space, as well as educational, not-for-profit and commercial facilities.
The National Park Service manages Governors Island National Monument, which consists of twenty-two acres, including the historic fortifications Castle Williams and Fort Jay. The Monument is one of twenty-two sites operated by the National Park Service in the New York City area. Its purpose is to preserve and protect Castle Williams and Fort Jay, and to interpret them and the harbor’s rich history and ecology for the public. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/gois.
We announced our 2019 season today, which brings a full calendar of special events, fantastic free programs, expanded late night hours, and a new lineup of delicious food and beverage vendors to Governors Island. This year, visitors can dig into enticing eats and drinks from a diverse selection of establishments, including newcomers and returning Island favorites.
We’re welcoming new vendors and new flavors to the food court at Liggett Terrace. Enjoy a wide variety of cuisines like Makina Cafe’s menu of modern Ethiopian and Eritrean (together called Habesha) food, authentic Neapolitan pizza from Neapolitan Express and loaded Venezuelan hot dogs at Perros Y Vainas (vainas are toppings—don’t hold back on them). Then, satisfy your sweet tooth with the uniquely paired flavors of Melt Bakery’s ice cream sandwiches (like chocolate cherry cookies with pistachio ice cream) and refreshingly delicious popsicles from People’s Pops. Also at Liggett Terrace, wake up with Joe Coffee and sample their pastry selection or head to Threes Brewing’s new beer garden to relax with a pour of their inventive craft beer, including one brewed exclusively for Governors Island.
Vendors announced today were selected as a result of a Call for Proposals introduced in December, 2018. Proposals were evaluated based on their quality, affordability, successful prior experience running outdoor concessions, design, service and sharing the Trust’s goals of promoting a sustainable and zero-waste environment.
Island Oyster, recently nominated for the 2019 James Beard Foundation Outstanding Restaurant Design Awards, will return to the Manhattan Ferry Landing this season, featuring easygoing summer fare, a tropically inspired cocktail program and panoramic views of New York Harbor and downtown Manhattan. Island Oyster will feature live music on the second and fourth Saturday between June and August. Taco Vista, the Island’s waterfront taco and margarita restaurant will reopen in May as well. At Liggett Terrace, Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights returns to serve up Caribbean cuisine and Little Eva’s brings their eclectic menu and bar back to their longtime location. Little Eva’s will also open a new location, Sea Biscuit, where visitors can enjoy cocktails and small plates in a shady grove on the Island’s northern side.
No matter what your craving is, you’ll find something to satisfy it on our shore. For even more tasty Island eats, stay tuned for news about the Vendy Awards, which returns this year to celebrate the best food trucks New York has to offer. Hop on the ferry to see what awaits your taste buds on Governors Island.
Today, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council announced the opening of the Arts Center at Governors Island, which will bring over 40,000 square feet of new arts space to Soissons Landing as the first permanent arts facility on Governors Island. We’re thrilled for LMCC, who have been active on the Island since becoming one of our first tenants in 2009, to complete this beautiful space and move into their new permanent home!
LMCC’s Arts Center will provide ample studio space for artists in its residency programs to develop their work, as well as public space for exhibitions, events, and programs that will engage visitors and creators alike. Resident artists will begin using the space year-round when it opens this September and it will be open to visitors during the public access season from then until October 31, reopening to the public again for the 2020 season.
The first season of programming will focus on themes related to ecology, sustainability, resilience, history, and social justice and will include site-specific exhibitions by artists Yto Barrada, Michael Wang, and others. Barrada’s project, Tangier,incorporates sculpture, collage, textiles, video and other media to explore the changing relationships between cities (like New York, Tangier, Morroco and Tangier, Virginia) and their waterfronts, which once sustained them but now threaten them with rising sea levels. Wang’s project, Extinct in New York, creates a life support system in a series of miniature greenhouses that sustain species of plants once native to New York City but that can no longer be found here in the wild. During the public season, Open Studios Weekends will allow visitors a glimpse inside the working studios of these artists and others; a total of 19 artists-in-residence have been announced for 2019, with more to be announced in June.
Building 110, home of LMCC’s Arts Center, was originally built by the U.S. Army in the 1870s as an ordnance warehouse and later converted into military offices. LMCC partnered with the Trust for Governors Island on the renovation effort, with new interiors designed by PEI Cobb Freed & Partners and Adamson Associate Architects and engineered by BuroHappold Engineering. This renovation beautifully preserves and reveals the building’s original interior structures while transforming the space into a world-class arts complex. Visitors can see it for themselves while perusing exhibitions, attending public programs, or stopping by the cafe later this year. The new Arts Center is an exciting step in the Island’s transformation into a year-round destination.
Looking to get outside and give back to your favorite NYC destination? Volunteer with the Friends of Governors Island!
Dedicated volunteers help keep Governors Island welcoming and more beautiful for all. Whether you're hoping to try your hand at gardening, meet new people or share the Island’s story with visitors, our volunteer program has something for everyone.
March 7, 2019. The Trust for Governors Island (The Trust) announced today 30 New York-based organizations who will host free seasonal programs and exhibitions on Governors Island as part of its calendar of arts and cultural programs. Presented in the historic former military homes of Nolan Park and Colonels Row, programs announced today will engage visitors of all ages in the visual and performing arts, environmental science and culture. In 2019, Governors Island will be open to the public from May 1-October 31.
“Each season, the short ferry ride to Governors Island offers much more than just a visit to one of the city’s most beloved public spaces – New Yorkers have the opportunity to deeply engage, learn and delight in the visual arts, performances, cultural programs and environmental science, presented by organizations from across the city” said Michael Samuelian, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “This season’s calendar of programs represents the Island’s spirit as a diverse and historically important place. We are thrilled to continue our mission of expanding access to Governors Island as an unparalleled setting for the creation and discovery of arts, culture and learning.”
Highlighted new programs on Governors Island this year include a residency program that illuminates the histories and futures of the African diaspora presented by the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA), the House of Poetics, a space for poetry and multidisciplinary production presented by The Cooper Union, an exhibition of work by Native artists from New York City with talks, performances and events by the American Indian Community House, and environmental education workshops co-presented by the Human Impacts Institute and Climate Reality Project. Additional new seasonal artist residencies were also announced today from academic institutions including the School of Visual Arts and School of Art at Syracuse University, as well as residencies, events and exhibitions from Brooklyn-based Pioneer Works and Triangle Arts Association.
An exciting range of organizations returning to Governors Island this season include The Climate Museum’s exhibition focusing on steps toward a climate-safe future, a newly expanded program from The New Art Dealers Alliance (NADA) inspired by Governors Island as a site for artistic expression, the 12th iteration of 4heads’ independent art fair featuring over 80 artists, and Swale’s indoor soil lab, an extension of artist Mary Mattingly’s groundbreaking floating food forest.
For kids, young artists will once again enjoy free hands-on art-making workshops with The Children’s Museum of the Arts, play:groundNYC will expand on New York City’s only adventure playground with a new education hub presented in collaboration with the Student Conservation Association, and Alfred University’s Art Force 5 programwill present an exhibition exploring the history of comic books along with art-marking workshops celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. New for kids this year is STEM Kids NYC, who will host student-centered workshops on physics, kite-flying, coding and more.
Additional new and returning organizations hosting programs in Governors Island’s historic houses this year include the Billion Oyster Project, the City Volcano Lab, Harvestworks and the 2019 Electronic Art Festival, NYC Audubon, the Student Conservation Association, West Harlem Art Fund, Works on Water, Escaping Time: Art from US Prisons, Rare Air Exhibition Space, Rising Sun Performance Company, Dysfunctional Collective, Exquisite Corpse Company, Holocenter and Linked Dance Theater.
“Each season, the community of arts and cultural organizations on Governors Island grows and the programming grounds itself deeper in the history, landscape and ecology of this unique place,” said Meredith Johnson, VP of Arts and Culture for the Trust for Governors Island. “We are thrilled to welcome such a distinguished group of new and returning organizations in 2019, presenting an unmatched variety of cultural experiences for New York City audiences.”
The Trust invites cultural organizations and non-profits to propose seasonal public programming on Governors Island every year, including exhibitions, workshops, performances, film screenings, talks and more. The Island’s platform for public programming positions Governors Island as a citywide resource for emerging arts, cultural and educational organizations to engage and share their work in front of a diverse and growing audience. As part of this platform, over 150,ooo square feet of indoor space within the Island’s historic houses is made available free of charge to organizations producing free public programming.
Programs presented in Governors Island’s Nolan Park will be open to the public on weekends throughout the entire season, from June 1-October 28, with additional public hours for some programs. Colonels Row programs will open May 4 and will rotate in August. All are free and open to the public.
In 2019, Governors Island will be open to the public daily from May 1 to October 31. A full calendar of special events, activities, Trust commissioned public art and programming presented at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center on Governors Island will be announced in the coming weeks. For more information, visit www.govisland.org
Free indoor programs presented on Governors Island in 2019 include:
PROGRAMS IN NOLAN PARK
(Saturday, June 1-October 27, 11AM-5PM, unless otherwise noted)
The American Indian Community House will host art exhibitions and artists talks with three Native artists from New York City. In addition, AICH will host a Native story teller, a Native American Youth Council visual project about the history of Native Americans in New York City, Native American musical and theatrical performances and presentations by Native American artisans (jewelry makers, fashion designers and others).
The Billion Oyster Project (BOP) is an effort to restore a sustainable oyster population and to foster awareness, affinity and understanding of the Harbor by engaging New Yorkers directly in the work of restoring one billion oysters. The hands-on science of reef construction and monitoring is executed through in-school, restoration-based STEM learning opportunities, community science and research, restaurant shell collection and volunteer programs. In the BOP exhibit in Nolan Park, visitors will get up close and personal with everyone’s favorite bi-valve. Visitors can dive into the work of the Billion Oyster Project and the New York Harbor School, as well as learn about NYC oyster history and the many marine critters that call the Big Apple home.
In CMA’s Free Arts Island Outpost, young artists travel to the historic Governors Island for free hands-on art-making workshops and art-viewing experiences! On weekends, the open outdoor space of Free Arts Island Outpost beckons families to become inspired and explore big projects utilizing found objects and traditional mediums. CMA’s Free Arts Island Outpost is a space to invent, adapt and transform relationships.
City Volcano Lab’s New York Virtual Volcano Observatory brings the experience of exploring a volcano to Governors Island. Join volcanologists from CUNY and other NYC institutions to discover the complex life of magmas and volcanos – and the rich volcanic history of the New York region – through virtual reality experiences, a volcano sound gallery, guest speakers and kid-friendly activities.
The Climate Museum will present the first exhibition in the US to focus on steps young people can take--and are taking--toward a climate-safe future. At this family-friendly show, visitors will explore interactive installations to learn how clean energy, green design, strong decision-making on fossil fuels, and more can transition us to a carbon-free economy and culture. The show will celebrate youth leaders who are moving us forward, and invite all to get involved through a range of activities and commitments.
House of Poetics is a space for the practice of contemporary poetics via interdisciplinary artistic production. The project is a hybrid studio, publisher, lab, and gallery that explores the role of poetry in society. Presented by The Cooper Union, architecture students imagine installations inspired by the phenomenology of the house and its programming, which will include visiting poets, artists, architects and musicians.
Harvestworks will present a dynamic program of residencies, exhibitions and workshops centered on the intersection of art and technology including the 2019 New York Electronic Art Festival, a celebration of 21st-century art and experiences, as well as a participatory environment for artists, scientists and the public.
The Human Impacts Institute/Climate Reality house combines arts, culture and science-based learning to inspire environmental action. Programs will inspire visitors’ engagement and action on local environmental solutions through the ongoing exhibits, workshops and residency programs of the Human Impacts Institute, as well as the weekly presentations from metro-area Climate Reality leaders. Visitors will also be able to engage with diverse leaders from the arts, policy, science and beyond, while connecting with the ways they can make a difference.
Since 1999, MoCADA has been widely regarded as an incubator for emerging artists and curators of color, having greatly supported and furthered the artistic careers of over 100 groundbreaking artists across 20+ countries to date. To celebrate this longstanding history, specifically 20 years of rich, cultural programming and trailblazing initiatives, MoCADA will invite seven rising creators to participate in its newly expanded residency program in 2019. Selected artists and curators will work with celebrated industry leaders to create public programming that illuminates the histories and futures of the African diaspora and art, in connection to themes of social justice and the upliftment of marginalized communities.
Visit NYC Audubon’s seasonal nature center for family-friendly activities, information on the city’s birds and habitats, binoculars to borrow and opportunities to meet avian-inspired artists at work. Bird walks and nature-themed workshops will also be scheduled on weekends throughout the season.
Pioneer Works is a cultural center and artist residency based in Red Hook, Brooklyn, devoted to building community through the arts and sciences. Pioneer Works hosts a rotating selection of public programs and workshops across the disciplines of visual art, music, narrative arts, science and technology. On Governors Island, Pioneer Works residents will create exciting new work for the public to experience, along with an exhibition and events hosted in the historic house.
play:groundNYC is back for their fourth year on Governors Island, stewarding and operating The Yard – a 50,000 square-foot adventure playground stocked with loose parts, tools and space for you to play, imagine and dream big! This year, play:groundNYC will be offering an adventure club, school field trips, professional development for educators, a ten-week summer camp program and, of course, free play every weekend all season long.
play:groundNYC’s The Yard hours are 12-4PM and opens May 4.
The SCA and play:groundNYC will co-program a house in Nolan Park for the 2019 season. This exciting collaboration will see the house transformed into an education hub, highlighting the work and shared values of both organizations – primarily environmental stewardship and awareness, youth participation and play advocacy. Programs will be suitable for young people age 5 to 18, with additional resources for adults.
Collaborating with organizations including the NYC Urban Field Station, Space HL and the Urban Soils Institute, Swale will present a variety of environmental arts programming exploring the intersections of soil, water and food. Visitors will be invited to participate in walk-in workshops for a New York Soil Library, an archive of soil samples from across NYC, and join free classes about local soils, international seas, as well as edible and medicinal plants. In addition, exhibitions and multimedia installations will explore processes of environmental decay and transformation, from everyday found objects to massive coral reefs and imagined dystopian landscapes.
Triangle Arts Association is an artist-founded non-profit art institution in New York City, working locally and globally since 1982, with programs that emphasize research, dialogue and experimentation through residencies and public programs. On Governors Island, Triangle will host ongoing residencies for artists across disciplines, including sculpture, painting, performance and video. An evolving exhibition will provide visitors with a first-hand view of in-process artwork.
The West Harlem Art Fund returns to Governors Island in 2019 with a two-part exhibition, public programming and an educational tasting room for the season. Traces is a pan-Asian art show that opens our season in May featuring eight artists in partnership with the Eli Klein and Aicon Contemporary Galleries. In late July, West Harlem Art Fund will present Crossing the Sands, a contemporary art show with individual artists representing the Caribbean, Africa and the MENA region. Public programming will spotlight dance, music and cuisines from South Asia and Africa.
Works on Water will host a residency for artists, writers, designers and researchers working on, in and with water. Studios will be open to the public on the weekends with rotating interactive projects and exhibitions in the main space. The work exhibited aims to deepen the experience of visiting the Island by connecting visitors to the waterways that surround us.
PROGRAMS IN COLONELS ROW, SESSION 1
(Weekends, May 4-August 4, 11AM-5PM unless otherwise noted)
The 4heads Artists in Residency Program welcomes you inside a historic home on Colonels Row for Open Studio Weekends, select weekends when visitors are invited to step into working art studios where the artists-in-residence are creating new work and discussing their process.
The Art Force 5 welcomes young and old superheroes-in-training to come make their own superhero action figure and customized cape. A huge comic book exhibit depicting the history of comic books alongside equal rights will delight both comic novices and enthusiasts. Visitors will be invited to paint a tile that, when joining forces with hundreds of others, will make some beautiful public art celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance. All free, all fun, and open to all ages.
Escaping Time: Art from U.S. Prisons displays and sells artwork created by currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. While visitors view the various paintings, ceramics and sculptures, they will be able to see the humanity and creativity that exists behind prison walls.
NADA will host the second edition of its collaborative, public exhibition on Governors Island from May 1-August 4 2019. Spanning two historic buildings on Colonels Row, the exhibition is inspired by the Island as a site for artistic experimentation and will feature artists working with the organization’s international community of galleries and alternative spaces.
Expanding upon its exhibitions of neon artwork in 2018, Rare Air will present a new series of exhibitions centered around Green Screen practices. By utilizing color, lighting and digital video techniques, Rare Air will investigate the vastness inside of the Green Screen to amplify the physical space of our shared New York footprint.
Returning to Governors Island for their third year, Rising Sun Performance Company will continue their curated Theatrical Residency and Laboratory program offering free works on a weekly basis. The selected works will be representative of the diverse nature of the company and network of guest artists from the New York City, national and international theatre communities. Their house promises to be a hub for new work development and artistic creation, allowing audiences and creators to meet, merge and share ideas and dialogue.
SVA’s globally recognized Fine Arts MFA program works with emerging artists from across the U.S. and the world. This perspective provides rare glimpses into a vast archipelago of art worlds, unique socio-cultural influences and divergent aesthetic and art histories. SVA’s program on Governors Island will engage the diverse body of SVA alumni, current students, faculty and partner art schools to make site-specific work through a series of short-term residencies related to the theme of “life on an island,” and share this work with the public.
Let off some STEAM with STEM Kids NYC! Through fun, engaging, student-centered sessions, engineers (this means YOU) from age 5 to 105 will learn the fun physics of making kites and flying them, harness changing states of matter to make polymers (street name: SLIME), code an app and more. STEM Kinds NYC invites you to tap into your natural abilities for success in the wonderful world of STEM.
Graduate students in the MFA program at Syracuse University’s School of Art will move beyond the academic setting as they create work in response to the history, environment, and architecture of Governors Island. With the mission of developing new modes of engaging diverse audiences, the residency on the Island will take the form of an evolving exhibition, workshops emerging from individual research, performances and screenings – all while initiating experimental means of production and opening up these creative practices to the public.
PROGRAMS IN COLONELS ROW, SESSION 2
(Weekends, August 31-October 27 11AM-5PM unless otherwise noted)
Portal: Governors Island is the free, large-scale, independent art fair you have known and loved for the past 11 years as Governors Island Art Fair. Now with a fresh moniker and even more exciting exhibitions than ever, 4heads brings you over 80 full solo exhibits, side-by-side throughout the historic buildings and green spaces of Colonels Row, every weekend in September. Don’t miss the best, newly discovered emerging artists in what the New York Times has dubbed, “The Art Fair for the 99%.”
Portal: Governors Island will be open from August 31-September 29.
The Dysfunctional Collective turns a historic house on Colonels Row into a grab box of art, theater, music and dance. Stop by to hear a song, write a poem, see a play, learn to dance, solve a mystery and make something new – or just come and explore the house.
In Exquisite Corpse Company’s performative exhibition Water, Water, Everywhere, the lampshade remembers lullabies, and the teacup can tell you a secret. It is up to you to listen. Four overlapping storylines unfold in an immersive, interdisciplinary experience inspired by Governors Island’s history inside a historic house that was once a home. The show invites visitors to explore the exhumation of memory, what makes a home and how water connects us all.
How do we represent our bodies in holographic space, and how are we embodying the virtual? Holographic Embodiment is an exhibition of art holograms and holographic media that explore physicality at the confluence of the real and virtual. Perceptions and sensations are augmented as our bodies extend into and enfold virtual engagement. Explore installations and artworks and create in the mixed reality studio for collaborative drawing.
Remembrance is the story of a woman who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Part free, educational art installation and part ticketed, immersive show, the program will explore the fracturing memories of Margaret. Come discover her mind on your own time or help celebrate Margaret’s 65th birthday as one of her close friends or family members – either way, visitors will unearth things forgotten and witness what happens when our minds are no longer our own.
For a full list of exhibitions and for more information, please visit www.govisland.org.
About The Trust for Governors Island
The Trust for Governors Island is the nonprofit corporation created by the City of New York that is responsible for the redevelopment and operation of 150 acres of Governors Island. The Trust's mission is to transform Governors Island into a vibrant resource for New York City, making this island at the center of New York Harbor a destination with extraordinary public open space, as well as educational, not-for-profit and commercial facilities.
From May to October, Governors Island is where New Yorkers get away.
In 2018, visitors like you saw later nights, more sunsets and celebrations, more ferry trips and harbor breezes, more art and recreation, and more to discover.
Thank you for making memories with us on Governors Island in 2018!
Read our 2018 Year in Review
Look Back at Some of Our Favorite Memories
...and don’t forget we’re only three months away from opening day!
Welcoming Visitors to a Shared Part of the City
Over 750,000 people visited during the 2018 season – more than twice the visitation from just 5 years ago. 75% of our visitors are from New York City!
Expanding Access to New York City’s Escape
Governors Island came alive at night during extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays from May to September – from outdoor films and new waterfront dining options to spending the night under the stars.
Caring for the Park
Five new full-time gardeners and 2,500 volunteers contributed more than 14,000 hours of landscaping (plus a squad of adorable working dogs) to help us care for the 120 acre park – from the shady lawns of the Historic District to the southern end’s new, award-winning park.
Commissioning Jacob Hashimoto on Governors Island
In his first-ever public installation in New York City, artist Jacob Hashimoto delighted visitors with a new commission of two immersive works inspired by the Island’s historic architecture exploring time, architecture and cosmology.
Fostering a Vibrant, Citywide Destination for the Arts
Over 60 organizations across NYC – including 4heads, the Climate Museum, the New-York Historical Society and more – hosted nearly 70 exhibitions, festivals, youth programs, residencies, open studio events and other learning opportunities – all free and open to the public!
A Living Lab for Environmental Stewardship
From its position at the heart of New York Harbor – and partnerships with the New York Harbor School, Billion Oyster Project, Earth Matter NY, GrowNYC and more – the Island continues to inspire conversation and exploration of our changing climate and how we all can be a part of the solution.
Thank you to all our visitors for making Governors Island great in 2018!