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Governors Island Guide

Governors Island Directions, History, and Things to Do


governors island

Governors Island Is Home to a National Park, Historic Military Forts, and Beach Concerts

About Governors Island
Governors Island is located just 800 yards from Lower Manhattan in New York Harbor. For almost 200 years, Governors Island was a military base. In 2003, the federal government sold most of Governors Island to the people of New York for one dollar and it has since become a popular recreation destination for New Yorkers.

Governors Island is about 22 city blocks long and 172 acres. On the north end of the island, you'll find the Governors Island Historic District with two 1812-era forts and lots of public space for picnics, concerts, car-free biking, and more. Visitors can also take a stroll along the 2.2 mile promenade around the island, attend a concert at The Beach@Governors Island, or kick back with a sandwich at Picnic Point.

Governors Island Directions
Governors Island is easily accessible from Manhattan by ferry from the Battery Maritime Building located at 10 South Street, adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry in Lower Manhattan. The Manhattan ferry terminal is accessible by subway (1 to South Ferry; 4,5 to Bowling Green; R,W to Whitehall Street), bus (M1, M6, M9, and M15), or car.

Governors Island Activities and Events
Governors Island hosts concerts, events, festivals, and outdoor art and photography exhibits throughout the summer and fall.

Governors Island Summer 2012 Events

Here are some of the highlights of the Summer 2012 schedule on Governors Island:
  • Memorial Day Weekend Family Festival -- On Saturday, May 26, take the whole family to Governors Island for a festival featuring live music, clowns, puppets, games, arts and crafts, face painting, and more.
  • Memorial Day Weekend Brewers PicNYC -- On Memorial Day Weekend,enjoy an island food and beer festival. You can enjoy delicacies from all five boroughs and beer from local brewery Sixpoint. Admission starts at $25 for adults (including food and beer samples).
  • Rent a bike from Bike and Roll -- Pedal around the island. On Saturdays and Sundays this summer, you can rent a bike for an hour for free.
  • Better Than Jam Handmade Gifts -- Better Than Jam's summer gift shop on Governors Island will feature the creations of New York City's most talented artists and crafters. With the help of the Etsy New York Team, the shop will also host demonstrations and workshops on Saturdays from 12-4 PM.
  • The FIGMENT 2012 Minigolf Course -- The FIGMENT Minigolf Course is not your average putt-putt. It's inspired by bugs and offers a twisted take on minigolf. The course is open and free to the public on Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays from June 9-September 23, 2012.
  • Michael Arenella and the Dreamland Orchestra present the Jazz Age Dance Party -- This Jazz-Age Lawn party will take you back to the 1920s for rollicking afternoons of live music, instruction in hotsy totsy 1920s dance moves, picnicking, and games. Michael and the crew will perform on June 16-17 and August 18-19. Tickets are required and can be purchased in advance or on Governors Island for $15. See photos of a recent Dreamland 1920s Beach Barty on Water Taxi Beach.
  • RECESS Outdoor Games -- Play outside in the sun. RECESS New York is hosting days of badminton and bocce with special guest DJs.
  • Make Music New York Punk Island -- On June 24, Make Music New York brings you a day of live punk music featuring bands including Sworn Enemy, Los Bungalitos, Desensitized, XPassageX, No More Victims, and more.
  • Rite of Summer Classical Music Festival -- Check out this series of free outdoor concerts.
  • Cook Out NYC -- On July 7 and 8, Governors Island will host NYC's most original country fair. Sample bbq and other delicacies from the grill and take part in the burger cook-off, kimchi eating contest, and other events. Custom beers by local craft breweries will be served to celebrate "NYC July Good Beer Month" as well. Kids 12 and under are free with parents.
  • Come Out & Play Field Day -- On July 14, come out and play for Come Out & Play Field Day, featuring old-school field games and games with a new tech twist.
More Information About Governors Island
There are many more events scheduled this summer on Governors Island -- from outdoor concerts to art festivals to a country fair. See the latest calendar of Governors Island events.

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