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NYC Ferry’s South Brooklyn route is temporarily bypassing Governors Island through mid-February due to planned maintenance. During this time, Trust-operated ferries continue to run daily every half hour from 10 South Street in Lower Manhattan. Click here for schedules, tickets, and more info on getting to Governors Island.

NYC Ferry’s South Brooklyn route is temporarily bypassing Governors Island through mid-February due to planned maintenance. During this time, Trust-operated ferries continue to run daily every half hour from 10 South Street in Lower Manhattan. Click here for schedules, tickets, and more info on getting to Governors Island.

May­or De Bla­sio and the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island Announce Glob­al Com­pe­ti­tion to Estab­lish Lead­ing Cli­mate Solu­tions Cen­ter In New York City


NEW YORK (June 28, 2021) — May­or Bill de Bla­sio and The Trust for Gov­er­nors Island (the Trust) today launched a glob­al com­pe­ti­tion to cre­ate a cli­mate-focused research and edu­ca­tion­al hub on Gov­er­nors Island. The com­pe­ti­tion invites uni­ver­si­ties and research insti­tu­tions to estab­lish an anchor insti­tu­tion for a Cli­mate Solu­tions Cen­ter, ded­i­cat­ed to com­bat­ting the cli­mate cri­sis in the heart of New York City’s har­bor. The Request for Expres­sions of Inter­est (RFEI) can be found here.

Trust for Gov­er­nors Island Pres­i­dent Clare New­man was joined by May­or Bill de Bla­sio, Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Charles Schumer, US Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Jer­ry Nadler, State Sen­a­tor Bri­an Kavanagh, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from New York City Coun­cil Mem­ber Mar­garet Chin’s office, and Jeff Che­tirko, Prin­ci­pal of the Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School to cel­e­brate the announcement.

The Cen­ter will cap­i­tal­ize on New York City’s unique tal­ent pool to pre­pare com­mu­ni­ties around the world for the impacts of cli­mate change; cre­ate good-pay­ing green jobs across the city; and fos­ter pub­lic aware­ness, dia­logue, and action to address the glob­al cli­mate crisis. 

Gov­er­nors Island is a crown jew­el of this city – a place where fam­i­lies, work­ers and stu­dents have come to enjoy a beau­ti­ful land­scape with spec­tac­u­lar views of the great­est city in the world. But we can get more out of this unique space. We can main­tain the island’s iden­ti­ty while turn­ing it into a world-class des­ti­na­tion for fight­ing the cli­mate cri­sis in New York City and across the world. That jour­ney starts today, and I can’t wait to see where it takes us,” said May­or Bill de Bla­sio.

New York City has every asset need­ed to become the glob­al leader in cli­mate solu­tions and adap­ta­tion. We have the best tal­ent, most inno­v­a­tive and cre­ative entre­pre­neurs, and now, we’re offer­ing Gov­er­nors Island as the ide­al loca­tion to host this exis­ten­tial work,” said Deputy May­or Vic­ki Been. This com­pe­ti­tion will fos­ter diverse ideas and per­spec­tives on how to cre­ate a world-class cli­mate solu­tions cen­ter, and I look for­ward to see­ing insti­tu­tions from across the globe pro­pose con­cepts for this once-in-a-gen­er­a­tion opportunity.” 

As our city emerges from the COVID-19 cri­sis, we have a crit­i­cal oppor­tu­ni­ty to address the glob­al cli­mate cri­sis in a way that cen­ters equi­ty, pre­pares our com­mu­ni­ties, and involves all New York­ers in cre­at­ing solu­tions,” said Clare New­man, Pres­i­dent and CEO of the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island. Sit­u­at­ed at the cen­ter of New York Har­bor, and at the cen­ter of New York City’s glob­al net­work of tal­ent, insti­tu­tions, busi­ness­es and lead­ers in cli­mate action, Gov­er­nors Island offers a vis­i­ble plat­form for edu­ca­tion, research and pub­lic engage­ment to address one of the defin­ing chal­lenges of our time. We look for­ward to work­ing with prospec­tive part­ners to define this impor­tant project for Gov­er­nors Island, and our city.” 

Just as the Unit­ed Nations was per­suad­ed to locate its head­quar­ters here three-quar­ters of a cen­tu­ry ago, today marks an impor­tant step in bring­ing a world-class insti­tu­tion to New York City to address the defin­ing issue of our time – cli­mate change,” said Ali­cia Glen, Chair of the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island. As we seek to com­bat the dev­as­tat­ing impacts of cli­mate change on our com­mu­ni­ties, this RFEI acknowl­edges and builds upon our his­to­ry as the glob­al cen­ter for inno­va­tion and progress.” 

The RFEI seeks an insti­tu­tion to lease land with­in 33 acres of devel­op­ment sites, and/​or up to one mil­lion square feet of adap­tive reuse oppor­tu­ni­ty avail­able with­in his­toric build­ings on Gov­er­nors Island. The Trust and the City of New York have part­nered to make avail­able up to $150 mil­lion of cap­i­tal fund­ing that may be allo­cat­ed to sup­port this project. 

A glob­al com­pe­ti­tion to cre­ate a cli­mate-focused research and edu­ca­tion­al hub on Gov­er­nors Island is exact­ly what this city, state, nation and plan­et needs. And what bet­ter place to save the plan­et in a speedy, just and equi­table way than in the very cen­ter of the uni­verse, New York City! We have the human cap­i­tal; we are a mag­net to attract inter­na­tion­al tal­ent; we have the pub­lic sys­tems to sup­port and sus­tain a vital new insti­tu­tion; and we have the pas­sion to tack­le this glob­al chal­lenge in a smart, sci­en­tif­ic and pro­gres­sive way. New York City is the world’s cen­ter for so many activ­i­ties so it is only nat­ur­al that the Big Apple also become the glob­al cen­ter for fight­ing cli­mate change,” said Sen­a­tor Charles Schumer.

There is no bet­ter place than Gov­er­nors Island to cre­ate a liv­ing lab­o­ra­to­ry focused on cli­mate solu­tions, research, and edu­ca­tion,” said Sen­a­tor Kirsten Gilli­brand. I am excit­ed to see what comes out of this glob­al com­pe­ti­tion and I look for­ward to work­ing with the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island to help real­ize the full poten­tial for this oppor­tu­ni­ty. The Cli­mate Solu­tions Cen­ter will help make sure that New York con­tin­ues to be a leader when it comes to resilien­cy and tack­ling the cli­mate crisis.” 

The cli­mate cri­sis is the most urgent threat fac­ing our world, our coun­try, and our city. Just as New York City leads the way in busi­ness, tech­no­log­i­cal advance­ment, and inno­va­tion, we should lead the way in devel­op­ing solu­tions to this most exis­ten­tial of chal­lenges,” said Con­gress­man Jer­ry Nadler. Estab­lish­ing a world-class insti­tu­tion on Governor’s Island with the spe­cif­ic goal of find­ing ways to over­come the per­ils of cli­mate change will bring green jobs to our city, pro­vide mean­ing­ful oppor­tu­ni­ties for edu­ca­tion and research, and ensure that any ris­ing tide that lifts all New York­ers is one we have firm­ly under our control.” 

As the cli­mate cri­sis con­tin­ues to wors­en, it has nev­er been more impor­tant to devel­op new and equi­table solu­tions to pro­tect com­mu­ni­ties from flood­ing, heat­waves, and oth­er forms of extreme weath­er,” said Jainey Bav­ishi, Direc­tor of the May­or’s Office of Cli­mate Resilien­cy. New York City is already a glob­al leader in cli­mate adap­ta­tion and is advanc­ing some of the most com­plex resilien­cy projects any­where in the world. Cre­at­ing this new Cli­mate Solu­tions Cen­ter will build on our exist­ing exper­tise and will help fos­ter research, inno­va­tion, and design in an icon­ic loca­tion in the heart of New York Harbor.” 

New York­ers are on the front­line of the cli­mate cri­sis and will be at the cen­ter of equi­table cli­mate solu­tions,” said Ben Fur­nas, Direc­tor of the May­or’s Office of Cli­mate and Sus­tain­abil­i­ty. The cap­i­tal invest­ment and glob­al com­pe­ti­tion to build a Cli­mate Solu­tions Cen­ter right here on Gov­er­nors Island will bring togeth­er the bright­est minds around the city and the world. Togeth­er, we’ll devel­op cli­mate research and edu­ca­tion that empow­ers us to take action on cli­mate, while improv­ing dai­ly life and cre­at­ing a clean­er, health­i­er, and fair­er future for all.” 

Respon­dents should artic­u­late a vision that address­es the City’s and the Trust’s goals as out­lined in the RFEI. In addi­tion to advanc­ing cli­mate-relat­ed fields, respon­dents’ plans should make a pos­i­tive con­tri­bu­tion to Gov­er­nors Island’s phys­i­cal cam­pus and exist­ing com­mu­ni­ty of part­ners and vis­i­tors, while cre­at­ing broad­er oppor­tu­ni­ties for New York­ers who already enjoy the island. Respons­es to this RFEI are due on Sep­tem­ber 292021

A cen­ter for cli­mate solu­tions on Gov­er­nors Island is pro­ject­ed to cre­ate over 7,000 direct new jobs and near­ly $1 bil­lion in eco­nom­ic impact for New York City, both on Gov­er­nors Island alone. 

I’m hap­py that the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island is con­duct­ing a RFEI process for the planned cli­mate research cen­ter on the island.” said Man­hat­tan Bor­ough Pres­i­dent Gale A. Brew­er. Com­mu­ni­ty input and pub­lic engage­ment in this selec­tion process will help ensure that the Cen­ter will be occu­pied by the orga­ni­za­tion that is not only best suit­ed to address the cli­mate cri­sis, but also responds to the com­mu­ni­ty’s needs.” 

Gov­er­nors Island has a long and sto­ried past and I am pleased that the next chap­ter will include a cen­ter for inno­v­a­tive work on one of the great chal­lenges of our time, cli­mate change,” said State Sen­a­tor Bri­an Kavanagh. As the RFEI process moves for­ward, it will be impor­tant to ensure that the appli­cant select­ed and the pro­posed devel­op­ment align with the val­ues of the com­mu­ni­ty and all New York­ers who trea­sure Gov­er­nors Island as a green, pub­lic open space. We also look for­ward to ongo­ing sup­port for the essen­tial work of the envi­ron­men­tal and edu­ca­tion­al orga­ni­za­tions already on the Island, includ­ing the Bil­lion Oys­ter Project, Har­bor School, and Earth Mat­ters. I am excit­ed to con­tin­ue to work with the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island, my col­leagues in elect­ed office, our Com­mu­ni­ty Boards in Man­hat­tan and Brook­lyn, and the many New York­ers who care deeply for the Island.” 

Ris­ing tides are an imme­di­ate threat to New York City, and our coast­line com­mu­ni­ties are depend­ing on us for solu­tions to our cli­mate cri­sis. This Cli­mate Solu­tions Cen­ter is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to address glob­al warm­ing and bring a world-class insti­tu­tion to Gov­er­nors Island,” said Coun­cil Mem­ber Mar­garet Chin. I am so proud to have worked with the Trust for Governor’s Island to get us to this next phase, and I am thrilled that the Cli­mate Solu­tions Cen­ter is one step clos­er to being ful­ly actualized.” 

Cities can­not address cli­mate change with­out ensur­ing that envi­ron­men­tal jus­tice is embed­ded into our deci­sion-mak­ing, poli­cies, and solu­tions,” said Lisa Gar­cia, Direc­tor of FIX, Grist’s Cli­mate Solu­tions Lab and mem­ber of the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island’s Board of Direc­tors. Gov­er­nors Island is an inspir­ing exam­ple of a place that offers unpar­al­leled oppor­tu­ni­ties for pub­lic engage­ment in cli­mate action, and for col­lab­o­ra­tion and co-cre­ation of equi­table solu­tions with lead­ers in front­line com­mu­ni­ties, which is what makes it such a com­pelling place for a Cli­mate Solu­tions Center.” 

As the impact of cli­mate change on our com­mu­ni­ties accel­er­ates, we must focus on adapt­ing our urban envi­ron­ments and enhanc­ing resilien­cy in addi­tion to sharply cur­tail­ing car­bon emis­sions,” said Michael Oppen­heimer, Albert G. Mil­bank Pro­fes­sor of Geo­sciences and Inter­na­tion­al Affairs in the Prince­ton School of Pub­lic and Inter­na­tion­al Affairs (SPIA), the Depart­ment of Geo­sciences, and the High Mead­ows Envi­ron­men­tal Insti­tute at Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty and mem­ber of the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island’s Board of Direc­tors. The vision for the Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions comes at a time when the need for a cross-dis­ci­pli­nary approach to research, edu­ca­tion, and com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment could not be more urgent. I applaud the City for pro­vid­ing the space, vision, and financ­ing to cre­ate a first of its kind cen­ter ded­i­cat­ed to advanc­ing cli­mate sci­ence, cli­mate solu­tions, and cli­mate policy”. 

From super storms to extreme heat, New York­ers have grap­pled with the impacts of cli­mate change first hand,” said Nathanael Greene, Senior Renew­able Ener­gy Advo­cate at NRDC (Nat­ur­al Resources Defense Coun­cil). The cre­ation of a world-class cen­ter for cli­mate solu­tions on Governor’s Island will help fos­ter new approach­es to fight the cli­mate cri­sis and pro­tect front­line com­mu­ni­ties. This is anoth­er exam­ple of how New York City can help lead the way towards a safer and equi­table future for all of us.”

Over the past 19 years, Gov­er­nors Island has been trans­formed from an aban­doned Coast Guard Base into a mag­nif­i­cent urban park draw­ing one mil­lion vis­i­tors each year,” said Tom Wright, Pres­i­dent and CEO, Region­al Plan Asso­ci­a­tion. Such vision was cham­pi­oned by a broad alliance of orga­ni­za­tions when we began this jour­ney. Now the Gov­er­nors Island Trust has demon­strat­ed its abil­i­ty to exe­cute and improve upon that vision. Today’s announce­ment will help secure the right part­ners to cre­ate a col­lab­o­ra­tive research plat­form and advance cli­mate change solu­tions for the region and beyond.” 

Gov­er­nors Island is the per­fect New York City loca­tion for a research cen­ter tasked with tack­ling one of the world’s great­est cri­sis,” said Alliance for Down­town New York Pres­i­dent Jes­si­ca Lap­pin. This pro­gram will give our city and its inhab­i­tants an incred­i­ble oppor­tu­ni­ty to con­tribute direct­ly to solu­tions for our glob­al community.” 

New York City’s water­fronts are core to the City’s eco­nom­ic recov­ery and to cli­mate change adap­ta­tion. We com­mend The Trust for Gov­er­nors Island for the Cli­mate Solu­tions Cen­ter pro­pos­al which can bring solu­tions to the cli­mate cri­sis and make for a more liv­able and green­er city,” said Cort­ney Koenig-Wor­rall, CEO and Pres­i­dent, Water­front Alliance. We also look for­ward to a future of expand­ed fer­ry ser­vice at Gov­er­nors Island, com­mit­ments to a net-zero car­bon island, invest­ment in new dock and boat­ing infra­struc­ture, and local green and blue job cre­ation. New oppor­tu­ni­ties for peo­ple to touch the water and enjoy recre­ation­al boat­ing will also meet increased demand for recre­ation in the City.” 

The Asso­ci­a­tion for a Bet­ter New York (ABNY) is pleased to see this RFEI move for­ward. Estab­lish­ing a world-class cli­mate cen­ter on Gov­er­nors Island presents an oppor­tu­ni­ty for renew­al in the after­math of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic and pur­sues solu­tions for the dev­as­ta­tion of anoth­er extreme threat to human­i­ty, and specif­i­cal­ly, to our most vul­ner­a­ble pop­u­la­tions: cli­mate change,” said Mel­va M. Miller, Chief Exec­u­tive Offi­cer, Asso­ci­a­tion for a Bet­ter New York. By incor­po­rat­ing exist­ing com­mu­ni­ty part­ners and vis­i­tors into the RFEI’s require­ments along­side broad­er goals for research, edu­ca­tion, and eco­nom­ic devel­op­ment, the City and the Trust show com­mit­ment to advanc­ing pos­i­tive eco­nom­ic and social out­comes for all New Yorkers.” 

Cli­mate change is one of the most per­sis­tent and crit­i­cal chal­lenges our Earth faces today, and we can­not afford to wait anoth­er sec­ond to turn the tide,” said Dr. Dune Ives, sus­tain­abil­i­ty expert, CEO of ocean con­ser­va­tion non­prof­it, Lone­ly Whale, and co-found­ing part­ner of Ocean Heroes Net­work. The cross-sec­toral liv­ing plat­form of The Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions on Gov­er­nors Island would sus­tain not just our future, but my son’s future, all of our children’s future, and every­one and every liv­ing thing in between. Now more than ever, the voic­es of youth are influ­enc­ing glob­al cul­ture, and it is on all of us to answer their call by dri­ving for­ward glob­al action and awareness.” 

The Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School, that inhab­its this awe-inspir­ing island, will be fur­ther sup­port­ed by a Cli­mate Solu­tion Cen­ter by enhanc­ing our abil­i­ties to pro­vide excep­tion­al, hands-on Mar­itime Edu­ca­tion cur­ricu­lum to our diverse stu­dent pop­u­la­tion. Our school’s unique Career and Tech­ni­cal Edu­ca­tion pro­gram­ming, which strives to break down bar­ri­ers for young peo­ple enter­ing into the Mar­itime Indus­try, will be strength­ened by pro­vid­ing NYC stu­dents the oppor­tu­ni­ty to engage with the uni­ver­si­ty and/​or research cen­ter that will occu­py this pro­posed Cen­ter,” said Jef­frey Che­tirko, Prin­ci­pal of the Urban Assem­bly New York Har­bor School on Gov­er­nors Island. It is clear that the devel­op­ment on Gov­er­nors Island aligns with our school’s mis­sion in edu­cat­ing our city’s cit­i­zens about cli­mate change. This aware­ness of, and move­ment toward, cli­mate solu­tions allows us to con­tin­ue our envi­ron­men­tal restora­tion work all around the New York Har­bor with our stu­dents and staff along­side the Bil­lion Oys­ter Project.” 

This ini­tia­tive rep­re­sents an extra­or­di­nary oppor­tu­ni­ty for glob­al cli­mate lead­er­ship with a focus on equi­ty, com­mu­ni­ty, and civic action – a nec­es­sary scale-out of the mean­ing­ful work the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island has already been doing,” said Miran­da Massie, Direc­tor of the Cli­mate Muse­um. We’re proud­er than ever to be part of the cul­tur­al ecosys­tem the Trust has cre­at­ed, and very excit­ed for all that’s to come.” 

The peo­ple of Man­hat­tan Com­mu­ni­ty Dis­trict 1 know about the worst impacts of cli­mate change,” said Tam­my, Meltzer, Chair of Man­hat­tan Com­mu­ni­ty Board 1. While this process appears to be mov­ing quick­ly and we have not yet seen the RFEI, we look for­ward to estab­lish­ing robust engage­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties as part of our respon­si­bil­i­ty to the pub­lic and we hope that the Trust does the same. We encour­age those insti­tu­tions who intend to respond to the RFEI to bal­ance the world class research with the simul­ta­ne­ous pro­tec­tion of the bucol­ic nature of the grounds and incred­i­ble view that make Gov­er­nors Island so unique.”

The Nation­al Park Ser­vice is proud to wel­come vis­i­tors to the Gov­er­nors Island Nation­al Mon­u­ment to explore Gov­er­nors Island’s rich his­to­ry each year,” said Shirley McK­in­ney, Man­hat­tan Sites Super­in­ten­dent for the Nation­al Park Ser­vice. We share the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island’s mis­sion in expand­ing access to this jew­el of New York Har­bor, and are thrilled that the City of New York is fur­ther invest­ing in this remark­able place.” 

The pro­posed Cen­ter for Cli­mate Solu­tions rep­re­sents the cul­mi­na­tion of com­mu­nal efforts we helped ini­ti­ate 25 years ago to turn an aban­doned mil­i­tary base into a vibrant pub­lic resource,” said Mer­ritt Birn­baum, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor of the Friends of Gov­er­nors Island. We com­mend the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island and the City for the work they’ve already accom­plished in cre­at­ing an extra­or­di­nary park and pub­lic des­ti­na­tion – and for this game-chang­ing next step. Beyond its envi­sioned con­tri­bu­tions to the cli­mate field, the Cen­ter will bring huge advan­tages for every­day New York­ers, includ­ing increased pub­lic access, more week­day ameni­ties, new long-term uses for his­toric build­ings and a con­tin­ued focus on learn­ing, inno­va­tion, sus­tain­abil­i­ty and pub­lic engagement.” 

For over a decade, Low­er Man­hat­tan Cul­tur­al Coun­cil (LMCC) has served artists and the pub­lic at our Arts Cen­ter at Gov­er­nors Island through dynam­ic pro­gram­ming that encour­ages cre­ative and crit­i­cal inquiry around issues of ecol­o­gy, sus­tain­abil­i­ty, and social prac­tice. A Cli­mate Solu­tions Cen­ter will offer rich oppor­tu­ni­ties for LMCC and the Island’s cul­tur­al and envi­ron­men­tal orga­ni­za­tions to col­lab­o­rate on ground­break­ing ideas and cross-dis­ci­pli­nary projects, all while dri­ven by our shared com­mit­ment to equi­ty and civic par­tic­i­pa­tion,” said Lili Chopra, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, Artis­tic Pro­grams, and Diego S. Segali­ni, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, Finance & Admin­is­tra­tion, Low­er Man­hat­tan Cul­tur­al Coun­cil (LMCC).

All pho­tos © Ed Reed/​Mayoral Pho­tog­ra­phy Office