Governors Island: a little history
If today Governors Island is an island very popular with tourists and locals, in the XNUMXth century, it was a place of fishing, hunting and nut picking. Moreover, before being called Governors Island, the island was nicknamed " nut island "By the native Americans Algonquin and" Nutten Isllans "by the first Dutch who lived there.
In 1755, Governors Island became one military defense center, a function that the island will keep for almost 200 years.
En 1784, the island changed its name to that of Governors Island. This change came about when the English captured New York and the island was used by city governors.
Over the years, the island grew and the base of the US Coast Guard (a federal agency that monitors, protects and rescues those in difficulty in US territorial waters) settled on the island in 1966. until 1996.
En March 2011, Governors Island has become a veritable green space open to the public.
What are the activities to do on Governors Island?
Governors Island is only open a few months of the year: between May 1 and October 1. An ideal period to enjoy the mildness of spring and summer!
Governors Island is an interesting place to relax and stroll away from the constant hustle and bustle of Manhattan. Here, cycle paths, parks, games, etc. are available so that young and old can have fun and have a good time. Here's a quick overview of the things to do on Governors Island.
Visit the island by bike
If you like to do bike, I advise you to discover the island by pedaling! You will be able to see the historical part, the landscaped 12 hectare park as well as all the beauties of the island. You will need approximately 1h - 1h30 to explore the island by bike. If the weather is fine, don't forget to take a book and a towel to soak up the rays of the sun.
If you don't have a bike, you can rent one directly on site. Rosalies and tandems are also available if desired.
Explore the island on foot
Here's another great way to explore Governors Island: walk. You will be able to discover the island at your own pace and rest on one of the installed benches.
Admire iconic monuments
On Governors Island, two national monuments are worth a look: Fort Jay and Castle Williams.
Fort Jay is the main fort on Governors Island which will allow you to discover the military past of the island. This fort has a square shape and is protected by a Vauban style defense system. Behind the monument, you can find lawns from where you can contemplate magnificent views of Manhattan Island.
Castle Williams is a circular fortress. From here you can enjoy the closest Manhattan viewpoint. To get to this monument, you must take the direction of the pier and take the road that runs alongside the water.
Discover The Hills
The Hills is an unmissable public park during its stopover on Governors Island! It was opened in 2016 and is organized around four hills over 20 meters in height. Something to delight hiking enthusiasts who will be able to attack the paths and link the four hills. From here you will also have the chance to enjoy a spectacular view and panorama of the Statue of Liberty and New York Bay.
The Hills also offers its visitors a artistic journey and slides on Slide Hills for children and adults alike to have fun. You will be able to challenge the longest slide in New York with its 17 meters long!
Every year, concerts, events, markets, exhibitions… are also organized on Governors Island.
Where to eat on Governors Island?
If you are hungry, you will easily find a foodtruck. You can also prepare a picnic and enjoy it on the grass or on one of the tables set up.
How do I get to Governors Island?
To get to Governors Island, you must take the ferry. You can board either in Manhattan or Brooklyn.
If you start from Manhattan, you have to take the boat to Battery Park au Battery Maritime Building to Soissons Landing on Governors Island.
- ferry timetables :
- On weekdays there is one ferry per hour: from 10 a.m. to 00 p.m., then at 15 p.m. and 00 p.m.
- Weekends: there is a departure at 10 a.m., 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and then every 30 minutes (last departure at 17 p.m.).
If you start from Brooklyn, Meet at Pier 6 (in Brooklyn Bridge Park) to board. The boat will then arrive at the Yankee Pier on Governors Island.
- ferry timetables :
- Weekends only, Memorial Day (last Monday in May) and Labor Day (first Monday in September): the boat leaves at 11am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, then every hour (last departure at 17:30 pm).
The ferry ride lasts 10 minutes.
The price of the ferry
Whether you are departing from Manhattan or Brooklyn, the return ferry price is:
- $ 2 for an adult and child over 12 years old.
- $ 1 for a senior.
- Free for children under 12 years old.
Good to know: the ferry is free on Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. with the NY Waterway.
Governors Island opening hours
As previously stated, Governors Island is open from May 1 to October 1 from 10 a.m. to 18 p.m. Monday to Friday and 10 a.m. to 19 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Governors Island is a quiet, relaxing and very pleasant place. So I can only advise you to take a little tour if you have the time. You can do many activities there! This island is also very popular with locals. What to feel like a New Yorker for a moment.