Governors Island Will Open to the Public Year-Round Beginning This Fall
Sep 28, 2021 1:59 pm
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Trust for Governors Island announced today that Governors Island will be open to the public year-round, beginning this fall. Starting November 1, New Yorkers will be able to access Governors Island’s open space, cultural programming, and recreational resources beyond its traditional May through October season for the first time.
Mayor de Blasio, the Trust, and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) also announced today that NYC Ferry will serve Governors Island daily, year-round beginning with the launch of the Coney Island Route this fall. NYC Ferry will serve Governors Island’s Yankee Pier via the South Brooklyn Route, expanding direct access from Red Hook, Atlantic Ave/Brooklyn Bridge Park-Pier 6, DUMBO/Fulton Ferry, and Corlears Hook in the Lower East Side for Governors Island visitors and growing community of tenants.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented opportunity to reimagine public space in this city – and now, we’re proud to keep the crown jewel of our harbor open to New Yorkers all year round,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “From expanded ferry service, to more amenities than ever, to year-round visitors from all over the city, there’s no better time to experience and invest in Governors Island.”
“Governors Island has been an oasis for New Yorkers for nearly two decades, and I’m so pleased that it will now become a destination in all seasons,” said Vicki Been, Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development. “The Governors Island team has been working hard to expand the type and number of partner organizations on the Island – not to mention the Climate Solutions Center we have in the works – and this year-round public ferry access is a critical part of realizing our full vision for this green, cultural, and educational hub.”
“Over the past two decades, a visionary idea to put Governors Island on the map as a public destination was outlined, and today we are proud to announce that Governors Island will now be open for New Yorkers to enjoy year-round,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “This announcement is an exciting moment in realizing our vision to increase equitable access to this remarkable resource and is an important step in realizing Governors Island’s full potential. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYCEDC for their partnership in this extraordinary achievement, as well as Council Members Margaret Chin, Carlina Rivera, State Senator Brian Kavanagh and all of our elected leaders for their advocacy and support.”
“We are pleased to support Governors Island as it opens year-round to the public with our expanded NYC Ferry service later this year. Waterway transportation is key to our recovery and opening Governors Island 12 months of the year is another illustration of New York City’s wonderful future,” said Rachel Loeb, President and CEO of the New York City Economic Development Corporation. “Congratulations to the Trust for Governors Island and everyone who has made this vision become a reality.”
Today’s announcement marks a significant milestone in the transformation of Governors Island into a remarkable resource for New Yorkers. Following its transfer from federal to local control in 2003, the City of New York and the Trust for Governors Island have worked to invest in expanding public access to Governors Island, which has traditionally welcomed visitors in the summer months but has long been envisioned as a destination accessible year-round.
“Over the years, Governors Island has grown into a beloved spot for New Yorkers to play, explore, and relax, and I am proud I played a role in converting this gem in the harbor into a public amenity for New Yorkers,” said Senator Chuck Schumer. “Opening Governors Island to visitors year-round represents an important step in reaching its full potential as a public resource.”
“Expanding access to Governor’s Island is an exciting milestone for New Yorkers, who visit it to enjoy a stroll through nature with loved ones, to see state-of-the-art research facilities, or to just enjoy a ferry ride through the harbor,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. “I am pleased to welcome year-round service to this unique and dynamic location that every single New Yorker can access at their convenience.”
“Governors Island is truly one of our city’s hidden gems, and I’m pleased that finally after 20 years after I worked on reacquiring the island from the federal government, New Yorkers will finally have year-round ferry service and access to Governors Island,” said U.S. Rep. Jerry Nadler. “That means New Yorkers and visitors alike will have more opportunity to play, explore and relax and enjoy this great New York attraction.”
“It is wonderful that Governors Island will soon be open year round for the public seven days a week,” said U.S. Rep. Nydia M. Velázquez. “I am even more thrilled that regular weekday ferry service will be provided through a NYC Ferry route from Lower East Side Corlears Hook and three key Brooklyn locations, DUMBO/Fulton Ferry, Pier 6/Atlantic Avenue and Red Hook/Atlantic Basin to allow more Lower East Siders and Brooklynites than ever quick access to all that Governors Island has to offer and more open space recreational options. I salute the Mayor and the Trust for Governors Island for their hard work in making year-round access a reality.”
“The extension of the Governors Island season from six months to year-round is great news for all New Yorkers,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. “The additional fall, winter, and spring months of operation, along with the planned additional ferry service, will give hundreds of thousands more the opportunity to visit this truly unique public space. I look forward to further affordable opportunities to experience outdoor recreational activities, the arts, and other cultural programming. I especially encourage seniors, residents of NYCHA, and IDNYC holders to take advantage of free fares on the Governors Island ferry.”
“In recent years, Governors Island has become an invaluable public space in New York, offering a needed respite from the hustle and bustle of city life, as well as a wide array of recreational opportunities for the whole family to enjoy. That’s why I’m thrilled that it will be open to the public year-round, with ferry service seven days a week to make it accessible for Brooklynites from every background. I thank The Trust for Governors Island for this groundbreaking step, and look forward to working with them and other entities across the city to make sure all New Yorkers have equitable access to all our parks,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“This is an exciting step for Governors Island as this unique New York City gem grows its capacity to welcome visitors from all five boroughs,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “Year-round access combined with ferry service expansion will allow more New Yorkers to spend the day enjoying the island’s beautiful open space and family-friendly activities. I can’t wait to visit after the city’s first snowfall to experience island in a completely new way!”
“For years, we have been calling for expanded transportation to Governors Island that would allow more New Yorkers to experience this unique space, especially as the city invests in resiliency and climate infrastructure. This announcement of year-round access to the island and direct NYC Ferry service from the Lower East Side and Brooklyn is a real commitment to creating more inclusive natural areas and recreational opportunities for the whole city. Thank you Mayor de Blasio, the Trust for Governors Island, and NYCEDC for your responsiveness to communities seeking additional options for open space,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.
“I am thrilled to see that Governors Island will now be available for our neighbors and our city to enjoy year-round,” said Assembly Member Yuh-Line Niou. “Governors Island represents something special in my district, where there are relatively few opportunities to enjoy expansive green space and open parkland. Expanding ferry access to Governors Island means that residents of our community will have more opportunities to enjoy the green spaces that make our city special. I’m excited to visit in the winter and see everyone there!”
“Manhattan Community Board 1 is excited about Governors Island opening its doors for year-round visitors,” said Tammy Meltzer, Chairperson, Manhattan Community Board 1. “This will awaken the opportunity for more people to enjoy the bucolic natural beauty and public programming that Governors Island has through all seasons of the year. We look forward to working with the Trust to continue enhancing the public’s access and experience of this priceless resource through sun, snow and beyond.”
Governors Island has undergone a tremendous transformation over the last decade, including the creation of a resilient 43-acre park, a growing arts and cultural program and remarkable growth in audience. Nearly one million visitors have come to the island in 2019.
In June 2021, Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Trust for Governors Island announced a competition to establish a Center for Climate Solutions on Governors Island. The City is currently seeking an anchor university and research institution through a Request for Expressions of Interest.
The NYC Ferry service announced today will supplement daily ferries run by the Trust that departs from Lower Manhattan, and peak season weekend service from Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 and Red Hook. NYC Ferry will add additional service to Governors Island on weekdays and non-summer weekends via the South Brooklyn route. On peak summer weekends, NYC Ferry will serve Governors Island via dedicated shuttle to Yankee Pier from Wall St./Pier 11. A launch date for weekday NYC Ferry Service to Governors Island will be announced soon. For more information on current ferry service to Governors Island, visit govisland.org.
“Governors Island has served as a prominent gateway to New York Harbor for centuries, and now it serves as an even greater role as a cultural and historic resource for New Yorkers, accessible year-round for the first time,” said Shirley McKinney, Superintendent of Manhattan Sites at the National Park Service. “We’re thrilled that today’s announcement will bring expanded public access to Governors Island, and we look forward to working with our partners at the Trust on expanded access to the Governors Island National Monument.”
“The launch of year-round public access to Governors Island is a game changer,” said Merritt Birnbaum, Executive Director of the Friends of Governors Island. “Since our founding in the mid-nineties, our primary goal has been to see Governors Island activated as one of our city’s most extraordinary public places – a goal that was never fully realizable without 365-day access. With the introduction of year-round public ferry service from Manhattan and Brooklyn, the city and the Trust for Governors Island are opening up a whole new world for public programming, amenities and events that will enable the Island to be fully interwoven into the fabric of everyday New Yorkers’ lives.”
“The expansion of ferry services and year-round access to Governor’s Island is another step towards fulfilling bold goals and curating a promising future for one of our most valuable public assets,” said Tom Wright, President of the Regional Plan Association. “After a long history that goes back to planning the first few trips to Governors Island, RPA is excited about what these steps mean for the future of Governors Island.”
“As we enter the fall and winter months, New Yorkers will be looking for new ways to meet outside, and opening Governors Island for year-round use will mean more opportunities for residents to enjoy that unique and beautiful public open space,” said Carter Strickland, New York State Director for The Trust for Public Land. “We’re thrilled to see the City of New York and the Trust for Governors Island investing in expanded public access.”
“Lower Manhattan’s backyard’ being open year-round is fantastic news for New Yorkers from every borough as well as for visitors to our city from near and far,” said Jessica Lappin, President of the Alliance for Downtown New York. “To have access to this amazing place in every season with fun and exciting things to do is a game changer.”
“Governors Island is the jewel of New York Harbor, and its ongoing transformation into a year-round public space is a major milestone for restoring New Yorkers’ connection with their waterfront. Year-round access and greater integration into the NYC Ferry system send a signal of the island’s future potential as a revitalized, resilient, accessible, and innovative waterfront community,” said Karen Imas, Vice President of Programs, Waterfront Alliance.
“The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School’s community of students, faculty and families, as well as the 1.1 million students of the New York City Department of Education, will benefit immensely from year-long access to the environmental classroom known as Governors Island,” said Jeff Chetirko, Principal of the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School. “Additionally, NYC Ferry-route access from Brooklyn is the much needed first step for more equitable availability for NYC residents to our city’s greatest resource of open spaces, artistic exhibits, and climate solution research and implementation – all available and happening on Governors Island every day. We look forward to continuing our conversations with the NYC Ferry system in providing equitable access from Brooklyn.”
“In a year of unprecedented change, we couldn’t be more thrilled to hear that Governors Island is now a yearlong home for all New Yorkers. For over a decade, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC)’s residency and free public programs at The Arts Center at Governors Island have provided opportunities for hundreds of thousands of artists and visitors to explore the creative process. As active participants of the Island’s diverse working community, we look forward to new partnerships and possibilities that will engage the public, serve artists, and advance our collective vision of cultural and environmental stewardship, sustainability, and climate justice,” said Lili Chopra and Diego S. Segalini, Co-Executive Directors of Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC).
“Year-round public access and ferry service from Brooklyn brings Governors Island closer to fulfilling its potential as a spectacular site for learning, exchange and exploration for all NYC youth,” said Brian Cohen, Executive Director of Beam Center.