! Alert

Please review our health & safety protocols prior to your visit: https://www.govisland.com/visit-the-island

Please review our health & safety protocols prior to your visit: https://www.govisland.com/visit-the-island

Our 2018 Program Calendar is Now Live!


A robust calendar of free programs exploring art, culture and the environment from organizations across New York will celebrate the diversity of the city

New Yorkers are invited back to enjoy the Island’s acres of expansive, open park space, car-free cycling, play areas, hammocks and spring blooms all with unforgettable views of the Harbor

Governors Island opens on Tuesday, May 1 and will be open every day through October 31

Ferries will be free for all visitors opening week, May 1-6

April 5, 2018. New York, NY. The Trust for Governors Island (The Trust) today announced its six-month public season and spring program calendar. Beginning May 1, New Yorkers are invited to enjoy the Island’s open and expansive park spaces with unforgettable views of New York Harbor, car-free recreation and a robust calendar of free public programming just a short ferry ride away from Lower Manhattan and Downtown Brooklyn. Building on a record-breaking 2017 season welcoming nearly 800,000 visitors, Governors Island will be open every day from May 1-October 31. Ferries will be free for all visitors during the first week of the season, from May 1-6.

“For the second year in a row, from May to October, New York families and friends can explore, on bike and on foot, the history and cultural diversity of our amazing island park – Governors Island. Enjoy!” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“From May to October, Governors Island is the easiest way for New Yorkers to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, gather, relax and discover something new,” said Michael Samuelian, Trust for Governors Island President. “Come May 1, a world away awaits, and we invite all New Yorkers to explore free arts programming from all corners of the city, a one-of-a-kind park in the harbor and springtime blooms in a car-free environment.”

Kicking off the season, the Island will host several special events in May. On May 12, NYC Bhangra will celebrate the start of spring with Holi Hai, a free festival featuring traditional Indian and Nepali dance, music and celebration in a sea of color. For classical music lovers, Rite of Summer will host free concerts throughout the season, starting with performances in Colonels Row on May 19. Returning for its 14th year, the Friends of Governors Island will present its annual free Family Fun Day on Sunday, May 27, featuring live music, theatrical performances, storytelling, arts and crafts and hands-on education for families.

During opening week, from Tuesday, May 1 to Sunday, May 6, ferries to Governors Island will be free for all visitors, including daily service from Lower Manhattan and weekend service from Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6. New Yorkers will be invited to experience the first taste of the Island’s spring blooms within its over 90 acres of public open space. The Island’s diverse food offerings, including popular waterfront bar and restaurant Island Oyster, will open for the season on May 1.

This year, nearly three dozen non-profit organizations working in the arts, the environment and education will activate the Island’s historic former officer’s homes in Nolan Park and Colonels Row with free public programming throughout the season. Nolan Park will anchor season-long exhibitions, offering a variety of programming that responds to the Island’s unique landscapes, ecologies, histories and relationship with the Harbor. Free exhibitions will be showcased throughout the season, including programs produced by returning organizations Children’s Museum of the Arts, the New-York Historical Society, the Billion Oyster Project, NYC Audubon, Dysfunctional Collective and HoloCenter.

Building on the Island’s reputation as a leader in sustainable urban design and track record in engaging audiences in climate-related topics, new organizations will increase environment-focused programming through multiple mediums, spanning visual arts, educational exhibits and hands-on workshops. Artist Mary Mattingly will expand her Swale project, a floating food forest built atop a barge that travels to piers in New York City, through new exhibitions in both the Island’s Urban Farm and Nolan Park that engage the public in farming and food access.Works on Water, a group show dedicated to New York City’s “sixth borough” of 520 miles of coastline, will bring artists and curators together to investigate water in the urban environment through artworks, theatrical performances and site-specific experiences.

Opportunities for children to engage in environmental programming will expand this year on Governors Island. Christodora will provide day-camp opportunities and public programming for children focusing on environmental exploration. The Island’s popular Urban Farm, home to GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden and the Compost Learning Center hosted by Earth Matter, will reopen on May 5.

The Trust’s unique platform for arts and culture celebrates the diversity of New York City, offering organizations from all five boroughs the opportunity to showcase exhibitions, performances and more to an expanded audience on Governors Island. In addition to season-long exhibitions, organizations from across the city will host free cultural festivals, performances and short-term rotating exhibits in Colonels Row. New organizations producing special events this season include ARTs East New York presenting The Gathering of Hands, a week-long cultural experience celebrating drumming, unity and community. The West Harlem Art Fund will present Early Encounters, a mixed-media exhibition that focuses on the early interactions of Governors Island’s first inhabitants, the Lenape tribe and European explorers.

The Trust’s 2017 commission by artist David Brooks, Rock, Mosquito and Hummingbird: a Pre-History of Governors Island, will be extended into 2018 and will remain on view in Fort Jay through mid-summer. The sculptural installation winds through Fort Jay’s magazine and digs down to the core of Governors Island, telling the story of this ancient place through excavated core samples of cobbles, soil, silt, shells, clay and bedrock.

An exciting new public artwork, specially commissioned for the 2018 season, will be announced in the coming weeks.

“Governors Island is a gem in New York Harbor — providing marvelous open spaces, fantastic views of the city skyline, and great artistic, cultural and educational activities. Just minutes from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, it’s clear why a record 800,000 people visited Governors Island last year, and I hope 2018 is once again a record year,” said New York State Senator Brian Kavanagh. “I’d like to thank the dedicated staff of the Trust, the Friends of Governors Island and everyone who has made the Island what it is today. I look forward to visiting this spring and summer.”

“The first of May is fast approaching, marking the exciting opening day of this year’s public season at Governors Island,” said New York State Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou. “I have had the privilege of spending time on Governors Island, and I hope that with each new season, more and more New Yorkers will make the short trek to the Island. With incredible views and robust programming, Governors Island is one of the best places to visit and enjoy time with family and friends. I look forward to working with the Trust for Governors Island in continuing to make Governors Island a welcoming place for everyone.”

“With nearly 200 acres of lush greenspace and incredible views of New York Harbor, Governors Island has long been recognized as a dazzling world unto itself,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “This spring, as the Island kicks off a new robust six-month program calendar, more New Yorkers of every generation will have an opportunity to experience the wonder of Governors Island up close, learn about its rich history and participate in environmental programming to learn how they can be an active partner in the efforts to preserve and improve our environment. Thank you to Mayor De Blasio, Michael Samuelian of the Trust for Governors and everyone who is a part of this programming for your commitment to secure the future of the Island and ensure that everyone has an opportunity to unlock its beauty.”

“Governors Island is the crown jewel of New York Harbor – an incredible, 172-acre collection of green spaces, history, art and culture,” saidManhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “It’s my pleasure to encourage all New Yorkers to enjoy Governors Island during the spring, summer, and fall.”

“We all look forward to May 1 when Governors Island reopens,” said Anthony Notaro, Jr., Manhattan Community Board 1 Chairman. “It has become a jewel of lower Manhattan, indeed for all New York and the world. Wandering through and enjoying the Hills while taking in views of the city makes this such a special place, yet you feel like you’re in another world. We look forward to the new season and hope for even more exciting programing and developments. See you there…”

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 may exciting programs. Visit www.nps.gov/GOIS for more information about upcoming tours and hours.

“The National Park Service is excited about partnering with the Trust for Governors Island and looks forward to its 16th season welcoming visitors to enjoy the Island’s stories,” said Shirley McKinney, Superintendent, Governors Island National Monument. “New York City welcomes more than 50 million visitors every year from all over the world to experience the many cultural and historical sites like Governors Island National Monument, Federal Hall National Monument, Hamilton Grange National Monument and other national park sites that make-up the National Parks of New York Harbor. We look forward to visitors exploring Fort Jay and Castle Williams and learning about the Island’s important role in the history of New York City and beyond.”

Opportunities for recreation and play expand in 2018. Adventures at GI will return with its zipline and climbing adventures, along with a brand new mini-golf course near Liggett Terrace opening in June. The Island’s play areas near Hammock Grove, play:ground NYC’s Yard, New York’s only adventure playground and New York City’s longest slide will offer fun for children and the young at heart. Kayakers will be able to access the Island’s kayak dock at Pier 101, including free kayaking with the Downtown Boathouse on weekends starting in June. Collective Retreats, a new overnight retreat will open later this summer, offering New Yorkers the opportunity to sleep under the stars in their own city for the first time on Governors Island.

New Yorkers will be able to enjoy miles of car-free cycling, strolling and jogging in the Island’s Historic District and in the Island’s park and public spaces, as well as the complete surrounding promenade. Visitors can bring their own bikes to the Island or rent one while visiting. Blazing Saddles’ Free Bike Mornings allows visitors to borrow a bike for free for one hour between 10 and noon every weekday. Citi Bike kiosks can also be found once again at Soissons’s Landing, Yankee Pier and Picnic Point.

“We can’t wait to welcome hundreds of thousands of visitors to this oasis in the Harbor,” said Merritt Birnbaum, Executive Director of the Friends of Governors Island. “Governors Island’s 2018 season has something for everyone. Whether you love nature, art, science, sports—or simply relaxing in a hammock with an ice cream cone, our growing visitor services team is ready to help you plan the perfect visit.”

Below is the current calendar of events for May and June, as well as general information about the Island’s public access season. More details on exhibitions, special events and new Trust-led art commissions will be announced in the coming weeks. For the most up-to-date information, visit www.govisland.org. All events are free unless otherwise noted.



NYC Holi Hai – Spring Color Festival, Saturday, May 12, 10 AM – 5 PM
Rite of Summer, May 19, June 9, July 7 and August 18, Colonels Row
Family Fun Day Festival, Sunday, May 27, 11 AM-4 PM Nolan Park
New York Harbor School Oyster Classic 5K
The 13th Annual Jazz Age Lawn Party, June 16-17 and August 25-26, Colonels Row
ARTs East New York (AENY) and TheHAND™ Presents The Gathering of Hands, June 23-29, Pershing Hall
FIGMENT, June 23-24, Colonels Row
Porch Stomp, June 24, Nolan Park
Additional special events will be announced in the coming months.


On View
Rock, Mosquito and Hummingbird: A Pre-History of Governors Island, Daily, 10AM-4PM, Fort Jay

Nolan Park Season-Long Programs
Billion Oyster Project, Saturdays and Sundays, May 26-October 31
Children’s Museum of the Arts Free Island Outpost, Saturdays and Sundays, May 26-October 31
Christodora: Nature, Learning, Leadership, Saturdays, May-October
Dysfunctional Collective, Saturdays and Sundays May 5-October 31
Harvestworks presents The TEAM lab: Artworks and Experiences, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Holiday Mondays, May 25-October 21
NYC Audubon, Saturdays and Sundays, May-October
New-York Historical Society (Opening July 2018, exhibit to be announced)
Rare AIR, Saturdays and Sundays, May-October
Swale, Saturdays and Sundays, June-October
Works on Water, Saturdays and Sundays, May 5-October 31

Colonels Row Early Season Programs
4heads Artists in Residence, Saturdays and Sundays, May 5-October 31
Art Force 5, May-August
Art of Intuitive Photography, Saturdays and Sundays, May 26-July 29
HoloCenter, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Memorial Day, May 4-June 10
Mosaic ColorFete, Saturdays and Sundays, May 5-July 28
Nut Island Creative Colony, Tuesdays - Sundays, June 9 - July 16
West Harlem Art Fund Presents Early Encounters, Saturdays and Sundays, May-July

Urban Farm Programs
GrowNYC Teaching Garden, Saturdays and Sundays, May 5-October 31, Urban Farm
Earth Matter NY’s Compost Learning Center, Sundays, May 6-October 31 and Soil Start Farm, Saturdays, May 5-October 31