See everything to do on Governors Island this opening weekend
Apr 28, 2021 12:04 pm
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 Grove’s 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 Hill’s 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.
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 Alliance’s 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 Archive’s app or website, with a variety of tours available.
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 Oyster’s summer fare and tropically inspired cocktails, and Taco Vista’s 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 Café’s modern Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine; Melt Bakery’s artisanal ice cream sandwiches; Terry and Yaki’s teriyaki bowls with vegan and halal options; and Threes Brewing’s tasty brews and The Meat Hook’s satisfying sandwiches in a shared shaded garden
- Keep an eye out for People’s Pops’ uniquely flavored pops and shave ice and Mai Bpen Rai’s 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!