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​.gov​is​land​.org. All events are free unless oth­er­wise noted. 

PRO­GRAM­MING CAL­EN­DAR — May through June


NYC Holi Hai – Spring Col­or Fes­ti­val, Sat­ur­day, May 12, 10 AM5 PM
Rite of Sum­mer, May 19, June 9, July 7 and August 18, Colonels Row
Fam­i­ly Fun Day Fes­ti­val, Sun­day, May 27, 11 AM4 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