It's almost the most wonderful time of the year: when Governors Island opens for the season. Opening week is coming up on May 1st (note: there will be free ferries that week), and this year we're getting some new stuff on the 120 acres of land.

First up, the biggest news is that the Island will open for more hours this year—"we’re adding more late nights," Sarah Krautheim, of the Trust for Governors Island, told Gothamist today. This means they'll be open until 10 p.m. every Friday and Saturday, as well as Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends. There will also be a new ferry added to their fleet this year, which will bring increased service to the Island.

Beginning in June, visitors will be ferried to the Island by a new addition to the Trust’s fleet: a brand-new, 400-passenger ferry. Built to serve flexible routes and support the ever-expanding events and services offered, as well as future activation of Governors Island into a year-round destination, the new vessel will increase frequency of trips between Lower Manhattan and Soissons Landing on weekends, with service approximately every 20 minutes, carrying an additional 1,000 passengers per hour.

There will also be 70 free events, including new ones, like the 1st Annual ShinDIG on opening weekend. Additionally, you'll get some Porch Stomps, Poetry Fests, Jazz Age Lawn Parties, the Vendys, and the "world’s most exciting and competitive equestrian series, coming to New York City for the first time ever in September." And on the daily, you'll find new food and drink options—most notably a new beer garden from Threes Brewing located in Liggett Terrace, and Neapolitan Pizza, the Island's first pizza purveyor. Makina Café is another new additon, which will be serving up traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean food, including a range of vegan options.

And of course, the greatest gift Governors Island has to offer is a car-free oasis right here in NYC, filled with historic buildings. Revisit our history of the Island and take a look inside some of those abandoned buildings here. And this year you'll be able to get into more: New Art Dealers Alliance will open NADA House on May 2nd, "a new program featuring 45 artists from NADA Member galleries and non-profits in an expanded format across 34 rooms in three historic houses."

newgovislandhammocks.jpg
Mmmmm hammock grove. (Photo by Tod Seelie / Gothamist)

We'll have a complete updated guide coming your way closer to opening day, but for now, shake off that S.A.D. and start daydreaming of lobster rolls and relaxing afternoons in Hammock Grove.