Governors Island: the island of Manhattan with a breathtaking view of the skyline

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Joel Fulleda
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Governors Island is not just one of the better places from which to admire the New York skyline and the Statue of Liberty, it is also a place to enjoy a relaxing day, perhaps by bicycle or walking along the long cycle paths away from the chaos of the city: a small oasis of peace just five minutes away from Manhattan.

Spanning 170 acres, Governors Island delivers picnic areas, parks where children can play, artificial hills which allow even better views of New York City skyscrapers, a hammock park, mini golf and baseball fields, a fort and a castle. Access to cars, motorcycles and any motor vehicle is prohibited on the island. And this is perhaps one of the keys to its success: today it is one of the most popular summer destinations for both New Yorkers and tourists.



Index

  • How to get to Governors Island
  • Governors Island: useful information
  • What to do on Governors Island
  • The history of the island and the inauguration of the Hills
  • Where sleeping on Governors Island

How to get to Governors Island

The island is easily accessible by ferry from both Manhattan and Brooklyn.

From Manhattan go to Battery Maritime Building, at 10 South Street. From Monday to Friday there are boats every hour from 10:00 to 16:15, while on Saturdays and Sundays every 30 minutes from 10:00 to 17:30. The last boat to depart from Governors Island back to Manhattan is at 18pm during the week and at 00pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Battery Maritime Building can be reached by metro 19 which stops at South Ferry Station, and the N, R and W at Whitehall St stop. Buses to the port are M00 and M1.



Da Brooklyn vai a Brooklyn Bridge Park at Pier 6. Ferries to Governors Island on Saturdays and Sundays depart approximately every hour from 11:00 to 17:30 and the last one from the island to Brooklyn is at 19:00. There are no ferries during the week. Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 can be reached by subway 2,3,4,5 Borough Hall and R Court Street or the B63 bus.

Round trip ferry tickets to Governors Island they cost 3 dollars for adults and $ 1 for retirees. Children under 13 do not pay. A tip: on Saturdays and Sundays before noon the ticket is free, why not take advantage of it?

Governors Island: useful information

The island is open to the public only in good weather, from May 1st to October 31st. All ferries and most of the island are wheelchair accessible.

There are several on the island picnic areas available to visitors and you can decide to bring your lunch or buy it from one of the many food trucks present. Remember that alcoholic beverages are not allowed on the island so if you want a beer, wine or other spirits you will need to buy them directly on Governors Island once you land. The areas where you can buy your American lunch or even just a snack are:

  • the Ligget Terrace Food Court in the center of the island, open every day;
  • the King Avenue Food Court, open only on weekends.

Public toilets are numerous on the island: inside Building 110 and near outdoor attractions such as Liggett Terrace, Slide Hill, Yankee Pier, Colonels Row, Nolan Park. On the island there is also the possibility of rent bicycles and pedal along the cycle path away from car traffic and smog.



What to do on Governors Island

The island is a popular destination for an increasing number of people. If you are in New York on a beautiful day and want to have a different experience than visiting skyscrapers and walking in traffic, Governors Island is the destination for you. If you are in town with children, the island will be a pleasant diversion thanks to the play areas, slides, hammocks and green areas present.

Reasons to visit Governors Island?

  1. Enjoy a Breath-taking view on Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.
  2. Make a nice picnic in the green with a view of the New York skyscrapers.
  3. Have the chance to rent a bicycle and pedal around the island without worrying about the terrible traffic in New York.
  4. See the imposing Fort Jay, the oldest building on the island and learn more about the history of Manhattan.
  5. Participate in the many events organized every year on the island and, in particular, at the Jazz age lawn party, the perfect combination of a successful musical event and a costume party to celebrate the splendid twenties.

The history of the island and the inauguration of the Hills

Originally called by the Dutch "The island of walnuts", in 1633 the place hosted for the first time a regiment of soldiers and from that moment it assumed a key role as a military base first for the Dutch, then for the British in the seventeenth century and for the settlers during the American Revolution. By 1811 Fort Jay and Castle Williams had already been built to defend the island and New York. In 1911 Governors Island nearly doubled in size and took on the ice cream cone shape it is known by today.



During the twentieth century the island was inhabited by American soldiers and their families and, when in 1996 the Coast Guard decided to interrupt its presence on Governors Island, the transformation from an inhabited center to a green area full of parks and parks was not difficult. meeting places.

Particularly important for the development of Governors Island was the Hills project, inaugurated in 2016: a hilly landscape in the center of the island. Each hill has a name and something that characterizes it:

  • Grassy Hill it is about 7 meters above sea level and enjoys a beautiful view,
  • Discovery Hill among the shrubs has the installation of the English artist Rachel Whiteread,
  • Outlook Hill it is the highest hill, 21 meters above sea level, and has granite steps on which to walk and climb to reach the summit,
  • Slide Hill it is 12 meters high and has 4 slides to entertain adults and children. Slide Hill has become famous because here is the longest slide in all of New York.

Where sleeping on Governors Island

If you want to sleep right on the island you will have only one option available, represented by an exclusive and original campsite. It is an accommodation in luxury tents (as much as a tent can be) that will guarantee you an overnight stay in a location that is certainly different from the usual from which to enjoy an unforgettable view. If you are the adventurous type and want something original to tell when you return home one night at the Collective Governors Island may be the right choice for you.

In addition to this, at the moment, there are no other possibilities to sleep directly on the island so I recommend you read our article on where to sleep in New York or our guide to Brooklyn where you will find targeted advice for each district.

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