Island Living: No Passport Required
Story by: Theta Pavis
Photos courtesy of Timothy Schneck Photography and The Trust for Govenors’s Island
If the idea of visiting an island that is uninhabited but brimming with interesting art, a pristine, beautiful landscape and awesome food appeals to you – then Governor’s Island is the place to go. Sure, it’s not a tropical island –to get there you don’t need to go through customs. All you need to do is get to one of the free ferries, which run from lower Manhattan.
Hundreds of thousands of visitors come each season and this year it opens on May 24. For the first time it will be open seven days a week. Governor’s Island is 172 acres in the middle of New York Harbor, and only 800 yards from Lower Manhattan. For almost two centuries, the island was a military base – home to the U.S. Army and later the Coast Guard, and it was closed to the public. Over the years, some lovely brick homes were built there for officers. No cars are allowed, but you can rent bikes and tour the entire place. Visitors can also bring their own bikes.
With the consolidation of U.S. Military forces in 1966, the island was transferred to the Coast Guard. For a time, this was the Coast Guard’s largest installation, with an on-island population of approximately 3,500. In 2003, the federal government sold 150 acres of the island to the people of New York. The remaining 22 acres of the island was declared the Governor’s Island National Monument, overseen by the National Park Service. In the spring and summer there are amazing events, including concerts, a multi-day poetry festival, art installations and a fabulous assortment of food trucks. One event that began on the island is FIGMENT, a grassroots effort to bring art into the lives of more people. This year 30 new acres of park will be open for the first time.
The full schedule will be announced in the spring, but it is expected to include an artist-designed miniature golf course (done by FIGMENT) with the theme of “New York City.” ••