Governors Island is an island in New York Harbor with parks and cultural events from May through October.
The location is strategic. The island, between the Battery at Manhattan’s southern tip and Red Hook, Brooklyn, is in the mouths of the East River and Hudson River. It was a military installation in the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783) and later a Coast Guard station.
Things to Do on Governors Island
There is a lot to do on Governors Island. It’s basically an outdoor island playground. The views of Manhattan’s Financial District, New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty are stunning.
The island is a popular spot for bicycling and picnicking. There are seven miles of bike paths. You can bring your own bike on the ferry or rent one on the island at Blazzing Saddles Bike Rentals. There are also three Citi Bike stations.
Adventures at Governors Island has a zipline, climbing wall, maze and miniature golf.
There are unique playgrounds for kids including the Hammock Grove Play Area, the Liggett Terrace water park, and Slide Hill. On weekend afternoons, play:groundNYC’s The Yard is an adventure playground where kids build things.
The Island was long used to graze sheep. The tradition continues at an Urban Farm with a GrowNYC teaching garden and the Earth Matter Compost Learning Center and Soil Start Farm.
There are art exhibitions and cultural programming at Nolan Park and Colonels Row.
Guided tours are available at Soissons Landing. Self-guided tours are available from Urban Archive.
There are several restaurants and bars on the Island. BBQ Grills can be reserved at Picnic Point and Nolan Park.
Our former English colonizers were a world naval power that continuously threatened our young country. Governors Island National Monument is the home of Fort Jay (1794) and Castle Williams (1807). Combined with Castle Clinton (1808) on The Battery and Fort Wood (1807) on Liberty Island (1811), these forts provided triangular fire to protect the City and the strategic river mouths.
Visit Governors Island
The Island is open daily from May through October. Hours are 10am – 6pm on weekdays and until 7pm on weekends. You reach Governors Island by ferry from Manhattan’s Financial District or the Brooklyn waterfront.
Find ferry schedules and buy tickets at govisland.com. Ferries generally run every 40 minutes from opening to closing. During the COVID pandemic, tickets must be purchased in advance.
The Governors Island Ferry runs daily from the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South St.
Governors Island ferries run weekends from:
- Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park near Furman St and Atlantic Ave
- Atlantic Basin in Red Hook near Pioneer St and Conover St.
For more information, visit govisland.com