An Island Transformed

For The Future

Rising 70 feet above sea-level, the Hills gives visitors a new relationship with the sea and sky, offering breathtaking never-before-seen views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor. The opening of the Hills marks a new chapter in the transformation of Governors Island from an abandoned former military base to what is envisioned to be a year-round destination for recreation, culture and innovation. Read more about Governors Island's transformation.

 

Future

The Next Chapter

With the completion of The Hills, Governors Island is ready for its next chapter. When funding becomes available, the Trust will complete the Park and Public Space Master Plan with improvements to Picnic Point and the 2.2 mile promenade. Over time, new tenants in the Historic District and Development Zones will bring activity and vibrancy to Governors Island 24-7.

2016
Future

2016

The Hills Open

An audacious feat of engineering, the Hills on Governors Island, opened to the public in July, 2016. Rising up to 70 feet above sea level, the Hills are the culmination of the park and are New York’s newest landmark in the Harbor.

2014
2016

2014

Park Phase I Opens

The first 30 acres of the West 8-designed park on Governors Island opened to the public in 2014. This first phase of park includes a sunny six-acre plaza; undulating pathways that cut through a 10-acre grove of hammocks and trees; and 14-acres of Play Lawn including two ball fields.

2003
2014

2003

Becoming a Public Place

When Governors Island was transferred to the City and State of New York the northern half of the Island was land-marked, and President Bill Clinton designated 22-acres a National Park to be managed by the National Park Service. In subsequent years, The Trust for Governors Island decided to lead redevelopment of the remaining 150 acres with a spectacular park, and began to demolish non-historic buildings.

1996
2003

1996

End of the Military Era

For most of its history, Governors Island was a full-service military base for the US Army, then for the Coast Guard. Enlisted men and women and their families lived on the Island year-round. When the Coast Guard closed operations on Governors Island, they left a small town behind.

1911
1996

1911

Addition of the South Island

The 100-acre “cone” was added to Governors Island using spoils from the construction of the Lexington Avenue subway line. This new landform more than doubled the Island’s size, making room for an airfield, warehouses, and military housing.

1811
1911

1811

Early Shape

Governors Island was not always the ice cream cone shape you see today; it was originally an egg-shaped rock covered in nut trees. Governors Island’s long military history began when the colonial militia constructed an earthen-work fort, later to become Fort Jay, in 1775. In 1811 Castle Williams, the second of three historic forts on the Island, was built.

 

The Hills

New York City's Newest Landmark

The Hills offer lush rolling landscapes, grassy overlooks, exhilarating slides, unforgettable views, and a permanent installation by British artist Rachel Whiteread.

These are the Hills

Rising up to 70 feet above sea-level, the Hills are an audacious feat of engineering and design that will forever transform New Yorkers’ relationship with the Harbor.

Grassy Hill

Grassy Hill, rising 25 feet, offers gentle slopes and views overlooking 30 acres of the new park.

Slide Hill

Slide Hill, rising 40 feet, offers four slides for all ages (including the longest slide in New York City), providing a natural haven for play.

Discovery Hill

Discovery Hill, rising 40 feet, features ornamental trees and shrubs, as well as Cabin, a permanent site-specific installation by acclaimed British artist Rachel Whiteread.

Outlook Hill

Outlook Hill, rising 70 feet, offers both a winding, accessible path to a plaza at its summit, and a granite 'scramble' for those who seek a quicker ascent. Visitors can enjoy unparalleled, 360-degree views of the Statue of Liberty, New York harbor, Verrazano-Narrows bridge and city skyline.

Building The Hills

Fun Hills Facts

42,963

Shrubs

will be planted across the four Hills. That’s an extraordinary number of plants!

To ensure survival in the harsh Harbor environment and a warming climate, the Hills’

54

Species

of native or locally adapted species were chosen for their salt tolerance, root structure, and their ability to thrive in more southern hardiness zones.

When the Hills are complete,

2,960

Trees

will have been planted on Governors Island since 2012, more than doubling the number of trees here.

NYC’s Longest Slide

Slide Hill is home to the longest slide in NYC! It's 57 feet long and three stories tall.

The giant granite scramble on Outlook Hill is made entirely of

granite blocks

from the old Island seawall. In 2012, The Trust replaced 1 mile of seawall with more resilient rip-rap revetment

The Harbor-facing side of Outlook Hill is made of

lightweight pumice

– the same material used on your feet when you get a pedicure! Without it, the hill would be so heavy it would push the old Island fill below out into the Harbor.

The white seat-edge along the western faces of

Discovery & Outlook Hill

are not only super comfy to sit on, they are also a resiliency measure to protect the Hills against wave action during projected flood events.

What kind of fill is in the Hills?

1,806 Subway Cars Worth of Fill Were Used to Create the Hills.

Beginning in 2012, the equivalent of roughly 2917 New York City subway cars full of material have been added to Governors Island. 1816 subway cars worth of fill were used to begin the Hills, including 306 subway cars of fill salvaged from demolition of structures on the Island. A train made up of that many cars would be almost 29 miles long!

To create the Hills,

297,000

cubic yards

of fill were added to only 10 acres of land!

50,000

cubic yards

of the fill used for the Hills is made up of recycled debris from the demolition of the buildings and parking lots on the Island.

The rest of the Hills’ fill material was floated down the Hudson River from a quarry in Dutchess County on 137 barges, keeping more than

12,000

Dump Trucks

off the streets of NYC

 
 

A Resilient

Park in the Harbor

The Governors Island Park and Public Spaces Master Plan was conceived with a focus on resilient and sustainable development at every step of its design. The Hills are only the most visible icon of this design approach. All of the Island’s new landscapes demonstrate that with forethought, cities can adapt to a changing climate and rising sea levels while ensuring the public’s quality of life and access to the water’s edge.

Resiliency Hidden in Plain Sight

Long before Superstorm Sandy, West 8, the designers of Governors Island’s new park, set out to create a resilient park. Using the most recent and accurate projections of sea-level rise in a changing climate, they designed a park that will thrive through the next century. And indeed, when Sandy hit in 2012 the park, still under construction, sustained almost no damage attesting to a design strategy ahead of its time.


Governors Island is now a vibrant, resilient place where New Yorkers will play, study and create for generations to come.


The Park In Your Pictures

photo by @vernin3d
photo by @bellopixphotography
photo by @davidmackey
photo by @ashfromny
photo by @vance_hu
photo by @apollo_14_
photo by @_mollyfitzgerald
photo by @_raquellie
photo by @_mollyfitzgerald
photo by @dmcguire1234
photo by @cristalangel

The Hills Design & Construction Team

Design

WEST 8, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, AKRF, Hart Crowser Inc., Pentagram, Tillotson Design Associates, Dagher Associates, Pine and Swallow Environmental, Northern Designs, Code Consulting Inc., Faithful & Gould, ETM Associates, Langan, SiteMasters

Construction

Turner Construction Company, Bedford-Carp Construction, The LiRo Group, STV Inc., SiteWorks, BrightView Landscapes, RR Irrigation, ADCO Electrical, Welding Works, Southside Precast, Layout Inc., Design Communications Limited