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15 Fascinating Things You May Not Know About Governors Island

Claire Leaden Claire Leaden

15 Fascinating Things You May Not Know About Governors Island

Though we don’t know when Governors Island will open for the season yet, it’s still one of the best “getaways” right within the city.

So, in honor of summer 2020, here are some facts you might not know about one of the smaller islands in the heart of New York Harbor! And check their website for opening updates.

1. Governors Island is 172 acres.

2. Only 800 yards from Lower Manhattan, and even closer to Brooklyn, it’s a separate world from the hustle and bustle of city life.

4. During opening week, ferry rides are normally free to the island for all visitors.

5. The island was a former military base that was transformed into a seasonal public park in 2012, but before that it was the home to Revolutionary-era governors (hence the name), a Civil War base, stockade and prison, as well as a United States Coast Guard base further into the 20th century.

6. Various landmarks remain open on the island including Fort Jay, a former army post built in 1794!
Facebook / Governors Island
7. Governor’s Island wasn’t always the shape it is today. In 1911, land that was dug up for the Lexington Ave subway line was added to the bottom of it to create the “cone shape” it is now.

8. By 1996, the Coast Guard was out and the land became available to the City and State of New York to develop.

9. Fast forward to 2010, and the city entered an agreement with the state to assume control of the island’s development.

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10. During the time of the transfer, visitors were only free to set foot on the island on the weekends but now, the island can be visited seven days a week during island season (usually May 1st- October 31st).

11. The park is great for families, offering tons of free events for all ages. The island is also known for its amazing music and cultural festivals like the Jazz Age Lawn Party, and the New York City Poetry Festival.

12. In 2016 they completed “The Hills,” the public park on the southern tip of the island made up of man-made hills that offer green space.
13. One of the “Hills” is dedicated to slides! It even holds the longest slide in NYC.

14. And there’s more to do! The next project from the Governor’s Island Trust is improving Picnic Point and the 2.2 mile promenade, which will be done when funds are available.

15. You can also feel free to hang out in one of the hammocks scattered across the island for an afternoon nap.

We can’t wait to head over to the island! Have you been yet?

Featured image: Facebook / Governors Island