Islands have long been retreats from the pressures of daily life. Despite it’s close proximity to the towering skyscrapers and congested streets of lower Manhattan, Governor’s Island is no exception. Check out imaginative art installations, lounge on comfy hammocks, or have a picnic all while taking in the stunning views of the Statue of Liberty. This is by far one of the most underrated parks in NYC.
Take in the View
For some of the most scenic vistas, make your way to The Hills.This marvel of urban landscape offers visitors unparalleled views of the city and Lady Liberty. Take a seat in one of the many red Adirondack chairs dotting the grounds and watch the clouds pass by. This is the perfect place for a mid-afternoon picnic!
Movies in the Park
Governor’s Island is staying open late this year! So stick around after the sunset to catch a flick under the stars. I recommend arriving sometime before sundown to get that perfect spot on the lawn. Don’t forget to pack some snacks to munch on. This year’s series is a homage to the city and all that it inspires. The beer garden will be serving up local brews, so grab a drink before the show. Pre-screening music begins at 7pm.
June 8: Escape From New York
July 13: Desperately Seeking Susan
August 10: Ghostbusters
September 14: The Last Dragon
Check out the Art
Governor’s Island has been home to some truly impressive art installations over the years. This year, Jacob Hashimoto takes the spotlight. His imaginative sculptures evoke a dreamlike world full of kites, clouds, cubes, and spirals. In addition to captiviating installations, there are several non profit arts organizations that take up residence in the charming historic homes that line Nolan Park and Cornel’s Row. I recommend popping into the Holocenter to check out some unique artistic explorations into the world of optics and light.
Ice Skating in the Summer
No need for a winter jacket, you can hit the ice in a t-shirt and shorts! Gaze at the skyline and rippling waves as you joyfully make the rounds on this unique ice-skating rink. Situated near historic Castle Williams, the rink will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends. Rentals will run you $20 for adults and $15 for kids.
Grab a Bite
From food carts to outdoor seafood restaurants, Governor’s Island has no shortage of food options.Situated steps from the shore, Island Oyster is the perfect oasis to sip on a cocktail and slurp some oysters. If you’re in the grilling mood, you can also rent a grill ($26) for the day and cook up your own bbq feast. A great idea for a summer birthday! Don’t forget to bring your own coals and lighter fluid, or you’ll be stuck rubbing sticks to start your fire!
There are several festivals that call Governor’s island home. In you’re a fan of the roaring 1920’s, don’t miss The Jazz Age Lawn Party. Festival goers and wannabe flappers dress to the nines for this outdoor celebration of a bygone era. For more happenings check out the Governor’s Island Event Calendar.
HOW TO GET THERE
Ferries run frequently, and from different locations. You can check the schedule for the ferry closest to you on the Governors Island website.
Island hours are Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Note: there are extended hours on Fridays from May 25th to September 14th, when the island will be staying open until 10 p.m.
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By Cory Keny