Scooping a handful of dirt with a shovel and dumping it at the base of a skinny gingko tree, Mayor Michael Bloomberg helped plant the final piece in 30-acres of new parkland on Governors Island Tuesday.
"At the beginning of our administration, Governors Island was 172 acres of underutilized space," Bloomberg said, adding it is now "a spectacular, one-of-a-kind destination, a place to experience the beauty and history of New York harbor."
Planting the tree marked the completion of Governors Island Park's first phase of construction. Opening next May, the new parkland includes public art, fields, play areas and seating, including 50 hammocks.
"We're marking a major milestone in the ongoing transformation of this beautiful city treasure," Bloomberg said.
The gingko was also the 800,000th tree in the Million Trees NYC initiative, aiming to dot the city with a million trees by 2015.
"Trees help the economy, they help the neighborhood, they clean the air — but they make everybody happy," the mayor said.