As of today, Governors Island is officially open for the season! And that season now lasts through October 31st (one day it may be year-round). There are a few new features being introduced this year—Extended hours! Camping! Movies! Tacos!—and below you'll find a guide to all you need to know before you go. Governors Island is a goddamn treasure, an oasis for New Yorkers, and it's just so easy to get there. It's incredible this place even exists. We'll see you out there.
New this year: camping! (via Collective Retreats)
CAMPING (er, GLAMPING)
This year you can sleep over at Governors Island, as Collective Retreats has signed a 3-year lease for a campground near The Hills. If you prefer, though not sure why you would, you can refer to this as glamping, because you won't find any of your standard tents here. Collective Retreats are offering insanely nice experiences which will cost you $175 and up (with luxury tents around $700+). Camping starts the first weekend in June, and you can get more details and make reservations right here.
YEAR-ROUND ICE SKATING
Ice skating in the summer? Now I've seen everything. This year a synthetic rink will be installed near the waterfront for a surreal skating experience in the heat of the season. We're told, "visitors will be able to rent skates and take a spin on a special all-season rink, made from synthetic ice designed for normal metal-bladed ice skates." The rink is operated by Mel's Rink Foundation, and was transported from... Washington D.C.'s Watergate Hotel rooftop. Note: Special classes will be available for children and adults with different needs throughout the season. Stay tuned for more info on frozen themed food and drinks near the rink!
This lawn will be where the movie screenings are held on Fridays. (Scott Lynch/Gothamist)
OUTDOOR MOVIE SCREENINGS
For the first time ever, Governors Island will get in on the outdoor summer movie screenings that take place in parks all over the city. They made the announcement today, and announced the schedule of films (presented in partnership with the Film Society of Lincoln Center). When we visited over the weekend for a tour, we were told the above 8-acre lawn (the historic Parade Ground) is where the screenings will take place. Here's their lineup:
- June 8: Escape From New York
- July 13: Desperately Seeking Susan
- August 10: Ghostbusters
- September 14: The Last Dragon
The lawn can hold around 10,000 people, so this will probably be one of the more enjoyable outdoor movie experience in NYC... but we'd still suggest getting there before sundown to grab a good spot.
The course hasn't been constructed yet, but will be a part of the action-packed space that already includes a maze and zipline (which is being extended this year). In past years, the Figment art show has brought a hand-crafted course to the island, but this year things will get more official. Some professionals are coming in to build a course just like the ones you pass by during road trips.
JAZZ AGE LAWN PARTY
A seasonal favorite, for two weekends every summer the Jazz Age Lawn Party transforms an area on the island, bringing it back to the 1920s with music and dancing (and plenty of gin). Now would be a good time to get your outfit together, because people go all out. Here's a little guide on going; this year the event takes place June 16th and 17th, and August 25th and 26th. Get your tickets here before they're gone.
Fore more special events on the island (there are a lot!), check out their website.
The big centerpiece around all the art this year is from Jacob Hashimoto. The Trust for Governors Island will be presenting an exhibition of two monumental works by the New York based artist: "Never before exhibited in the United States, The Eclipse and Never Comes Tomorrow collectively mark the artist’s first major installation of public art in New York City. The exhibition opens to the public June 2nd and will be on display daily inside Governors Island’s St. Cornelius Chapel (which has been closed since 2013) and outdoors in Liggett Hall Archway through October 31st." In addition, nearly three dozen non-profit organizations are working to activate the island’s historic former officer’s homes in Nolan Park and Colonels Row. As usual, they'll offer free public programming throughout the season.
Very good lobster roll at Island Oyster. (Jen Carlson/Gothamist)
WHAT TO EAT
- Island Oyster is a treat (in other words, it'll cost ya), but if you want to embrace a real staycation vibe, head there and splurge on the lobster roll. It's the best in the city. For real.
- Little Eva's beer garden will also be returning (check the menu here).
- A newcomer this year worth checking out: Taco Beach! Which promises the all-important tacos and cocktails combo.
- You'll also find the Kings Avenue food court and the Ligget Terrace food court back in action.
For a full list of food options on the island, check their website. And note: you can also bring a picnic (or reserve a grill for a cookout—though all applicants will be charged a $26 non-refundable fee).
HOW TO GET AROUND
Governors Island is pretty big (172 acres!). You can explore on foot, of course, but there are some two and four-wheel options, too. Citi Bike stations (not ideal with the time limit) has stations on the island, but you can also bring your own bike or rent one. Free Bike Mornings allow visitors to borrow a bike from Blazing Saddles for free for up to one hour every weekday between 10 a.m. and noon. Otherwise, the rental will cost you around $15 for two hours—check out their options here, we highly recommend the pedal surrey.
HOW TO GET THERE
The 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.
Hammock Heaven! (Tod Seelie/Gothamist)
P.S. Don't forget to seek out those hammocks. National Hammock Day is right around the corner.