Gov­er­nors Island to Host Inau­gur­al Win­ter Sol­stice Celebration


The Trust for Gov­er­nors Island and Gov­er­nors Island Arts announced today that it will host its inau­gur­al Win­ter Sol­stice Cel­e­bra­tion on Decem­ber 16, 2023. Come cel­e­brate the short­est day of the year and the rebirth of the win­ter sea­son with a (short) day-long fes­ti­val fea­tur­ing art instal­la­tions, per­for­mances, a scav­enger hunt, and more, all free of charge. The event will take place from 12:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

The Gov­er­nors Island Win­ter Sol­stice Cel­e­bra­tion will cul­mi­nate in Sal­ly Beau­ti Twin’s Sol­stice Species Sashay, a lantern parade fea­tur­ing beats by Fogo Azul — New York City’s most pow­er­ful women, trans, and non-bina­ry com­mu­ni­ty drum­line — and pre­sent­ed by Gov­er­nors Island Arts. 

Even the short­est day of the year is a fan­tas­tic time to vis­it Gov­er­nors Island and join us for a day of free fun for the entire com­mu­ni­ty,” said Clare New­man, Pres­i­dent & CEO of the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island. This cel­e­bra­tion, kick­ing off the week of the sol­stice, will fea­ture inno­v­a­tive and provoca­tive per­for­mances and instal­la­tions along­side the tra­di­tion­al fun activ­i­ties Gov­er­nors Island is known for, and we invite all New York­ers to join us for this won­der­ful inau­gur­al event.”

Vis­i­tors com­ing to the event can enjoy food, fire pits, and games at Colonels Row, DJ sets from the Low­er East­side Girls Club, a col­lab­o­ra­tive art activ­i­ty with Red Hook Art Project, the open­ing of the House to Sky win­ter art exhi­bi­tion, a Gov­er­nors Island Nature Scav­enger Hunt, a work­shop and per­for­mance from Cora Dance, guid­ed walk­ing tours with the Friends of Gov­er­nors Island, and the open­ing of the com­mu­ni­ty-dri­ven, col­lab­o­ra­tive art instal­la­tion Pag­gank Wik (Nut Island Home).

The Sol­stice Species Sashay will take place at 3:30 p.m. The event was cre­at­ed by Sal­ly Beau­ti Twin, a trans woman artist liv­ing in New York City. Her prac­tice includes cre­ation and cura­tion of visu­al art, music, and the­ater. Her art has recent­ly been shown at Toma­to Mouse Gallery, Spring/​Break Art Fair, Mizu­ma and Kips and Stephen St Gallery. She received her arts edu­ca­tion at Tulane Uni­ver­si­ty. Sol­stice Species Sashay fea­tures Fogo Azul, New York City’s most pow­er­ful women, trans, and non-bina­ry com­mu­ni­ty drum­line. This is third in a tril­o­gy of island species cel­e­bra­to­ry parades Sal­ly Beau­ti Twin has brought to Gov­er­nors Island this year.

Pag­gank Wik (Nut Island Home) will open at 3:00 p.m. This will be a struc­ture built from a com­bi­na­tion of var­i­ous types of elm, cedar, chest­nut, and ever­greens all har­vest­ed from Gov­er­nors Island. Its design is inspired by the orig­i­nal inhab­i­tants of the Island’s ancient dwellings, known as Wig­wam. Pag­gank wik is being installed by a semi-elu­sive local sto­ry artist with the spir­i­tu­al sup­port of fel­low local artists of the First Nations/​Native American/​Indigenous com­mu­ni­ties, includ­ing a group of Elders who sparked the idea and the enthu­si­asm for learn­ing to build off the land expressed by the com­mu­ni­ty. This struc­ture is pre­sent­ed for every­one to expe­ri­ence an ancient way of liv­ing designed by orig­i­nal inhab­i­tants of this and the sur­round­ing islands and will be on view through the spring.

The House to Sky win­ter art exhib­it will open dur­ing the event and will be on view through March 30, 2024. This instal­la­tion includes sev­er­al works by Sal­ly Beau­ti Twin and oth­er col­lab­o­ra­tors, includ­ing Ben Eden, Nicole Schonitzer, Alexan­der Zev, and Chelsea Browne.

Pre­pare to get spir­it­ed away via pro­jec­tion art from Camil­la Padgitt-Coles, Giselle Ange­les, and more artists. The Pro­jec­tion Par­ty at Liggett Arch will kick off at 4:00 p.m. and will illu­mi­nate and ani­mate the arch­way and walls of his­toric Liggett Hall in the most beau­ti­ful, mov­ing, and col­or­ful ways.

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. Dur­ing the win­ter months, dogs are per­mit­ted on Gov­er­nors Island dai­ly begin­ning at 10am. Dogs require indi­vid­ual free fer­ry reser­va­tions, avail­able online. For sched­ules and tick­et­ing infor­ma­tion, vis­it www​.gov​is​land​.org.

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