See every­thing to do on Gov­er­nors Island this open­ing weekend


Get ready to enjoy all of your favorite things to do on Gov­er­nors Island — we reopen to vis­i­tors on Sat­ur­day, May 1! Below you’ll find every­thing you can dis­cov­er dur­ing this year’s open­ing week­end. Plan your trip, book fer­ry tick­ets, and ship out for a packed (or relaxed) day on our shore. 

The park, open space, and recre­ation:

120 acres of open space pro­vide ample room to spread out with a pic­nic, play games, or just watch the clouds float by. Head to the Island’s park to relax in Ham­mock Groves cozy ham­mocks (and say hel­lo to the sheep!), find breath­tak­ing 360-degree views in The Hills, get mov­ing on the Play Lawns, and camp out in an Adiron­dack chair at Pic­nic Point.

Kids and fam­i­lies will love play­grounds like the Ham­mock Grove Play Area, the water fea­ture at Liggett Ter­race, and Slide Hills col­lec­tion of twist‑y, turn‑y slides. Head to the south end of Nolan Park on week­ends 12 – 4pm to play at play:groundNYC’s The Yard, NYC’s only adven­ture play­ground where kids can unleash their imag­i­na­tions and build their own fun. 

Sev­en miles of car-free paths make Gov­er­nors Island a pedaler’s par­adise. Bring your bike on the fer­ry for no charge or rent bikes, sur­reys, ped­al cars, scoot­ers and more from Blaz­ing Sad­dles Bike Rentals, or from three Citi Bike sta­tions across the Island. 

Adven­tures at Gov­er­nors Island also returns to entice thrill seek­ers of all ages. Vis­i­tors can pur­chase tick­et pack­ages to fly down a zipline, chal­lenge a climb­ing wall, puz­zle through a prob­lem-solv­ing maze, and play a round of mini-golf just steps from Liggett Terrace. 

Not for Nut­ten by Duke Riley. Pho­to by Tim­o­thy Schenck

Free arts, culture and science activ­i­ties:

See pub­lic art­works by world-renowned artists across Gov­er­nors Island. Before step­ping ashore, vis­i­tors depart­ing from Man­hat­tan can see a new mur­al by Duke Riley in the Gov­er­nors Island Fer­ry Wait­ing Room at the Bat­tery Mar­itime Build­ing. This new com­mis­sion by the Trust for Gov­er­nors Island, Not for Nut­ten, is a rich­ly pig­ment­ed homage to nau­ti­cal tra­di­tions and the Island’s his­to­ry that draws atten­tion to mod­ern cli­mate con­cerns. Pre­vi­ous com­mis­sions on view include Shantell Martin’s Church on Colonels Row, Rachel Whiteread’s Cab­in on Dis­cov­ery Hill, and Mark Handforth’s Yan­kee Hang­er at Liggett Terrace. 

Arts, cul­ture and sci­ence pro­grams return in and around the his­toric hous­es of Nolan Park and Colonels Row. This week­end, see PHREAT­IC!, an exhi­bi­tion of works by inter­dis­ci­pli­nary artists explor­ing sym­bi­ot­ic ecolo­gies, mul­ti­species inter­ac­tions and earth­li­ness at points of dis­rup­tion pre­sent­ed by NYU’s Gal­latin School at the New York Vir­tu­al Vol­cano Obser­va­to­ry house, Nolan Park 11, 11AM – 5PM. On view out­side West Harlem Art Fund at Nolan Park 10, see two pub­lic art instal­la­tions: Regat­ta III/8 Can­dy Blue & Teal by Gilbert Boro and Gar­den Sen­tinel by Michele Brody. More exhi­bi­tions open next week­end, includ­ing works by stu­dents and fac­ul­ty at Pratt Institute’s Grad­u­ate Archi­tec­ture and Urban Design pro­gram, a group exhi­bi­tion of pho­tog­ra­phy, film and more at Pro­tocin­e­ma, and New Art Deal­ers Alliances NADA House, which includes works by over 50 artists across five hous­es on Colonels Row. 

The Urban Farm also reopens 12 – 4PM this week­end for vis­i­tors to engage with envi­ron­men­tal learn­ing pro­grams at GrowNYC’s Teach­ing Gar­den, a work­ing urban farm with rows of crops, green­hous­es and more, and Earth Matter’s Com­post Learn­ing Cen­ter and Soil Start Farm, a ful­ly func­tion­ing com­post cen­ter that turns mate­r­i­al from all over the city into nutri­tious com­post for use on the Island and elsewhere. 

Vis­i­tors can also take guid­ed tours of the Island with Friends of Gov­er­nors Island vol­un­teer docents, leav­ing from Sois­sons Land­ing on Sat­ur­days and Sun­days at 11:30AM, 1:30PM, and 3:30PM. Or, embark on a self-guid­ed tour through the Island’s his­to­ry with stun­ning archival pho­tographs on Urban Archives app or web­site, with a vari­ety of tours available. 

Island Oys­ter. Pho­to by Rad­hi­ka Chalasani

Food and drink:

Gov­er­nors Island’s ven­dors serve up a wide vari­ety of cuisines to sat­is­fy any crav­ing. From drinks, snack and sweet treats to more sub­stan­tial options, find our food and bev­er­age ven­dors across the Island: 

  • At Sois­sons Land­ing, find Island Oys­ters sum­mer fare and trop­i­cal­ly inspired cock­tails, and Taco Vistas tasty tacos and cool drinks with a view 
  • Piz­za Yard dish­es out wood-fried Neapoli­tan-style piz­zas at the south end of Colonels Row 
  • On the west­ern shore, grab small plates and drinks at Sea Bis­cuit or stop by Three Peaks Lodge at Col­lec­tive Retreats for cock­tails and take­away options 
  • Liggett Ter­race fea­tures many options includ­ing Fauzia’s Heav­en­ly Delights’ Jamaican fusion cui­sine; cof­fee, tea and treats from Joe Cof­fee; Kore­an-inspired tacos, bowls and snacks at Kim­chi Taco; eclec­tic takes on clas­sic grill fare at Lit­tle Eva’s; Mak­i­na Cafés mod­ern Ethiopi­an and Eritre­an cui­sine; Melt Bak­erys arti­sanal ice cream sand­wich­es; Ter­ry and Yakis teriya­ki bowls with veg­an and halal options; and Threes Brew­ings tasty brews and The Meat Hooks sat­is­fy­ing sand­wich­es in a shared shad­ed garden 
  • Keep an eye out for People’s Pops’ unique­ly fla­vored pops and shave ice and Mai Bpen Rais Thai-style green papaya sal­ad rov­ing across the Island 

If you’d rather cook up your own meal, grills are avail­able by reser­va­tion. Reser­va­tions are required, with grilling sta­tions avail­able at Pic­nic Point and near Nolan Park. 

You can expect all of this and more this open­ing week­end. There’s plen­ty more to see and do on Gov­er­nors Island in 2021 — check back here and fol­low us on social media for the lat­est updates. See you on the ferry!