Governors Island kicks off 2014 season with opening of new park

Governors Island will reopen on Saturday with 30 new acres of park. Credit: Trust for Governors Island
Governors Island will reopen on Saturday with 30 new acres of park. Credit: Trust for Governors Island

On the morning of June 9, 2013, city officials blew up a vacant apartment building that once housed Coast Guard families on Governors Island. The debris from Building 877 was used to help create land for 30 acres of new park that will open to the public for the first time this Saturday.

“We actually took all the debris, mashed it up and created fill,” said Leslie Koch, president of the Trust for Governors Island. “There is now a sports field where there was once a high-rise building.”

The new park, which was designed by landscape architecture firm West 8, features Hammock Grove, a 10-acre space that’s home to play areas, 1,500 new trees and 50 hammocks.

Visitors will also see Liggett Terrace, a six-acre plaza with plantings, seating, water features and public art. The remaining 14 acres belongs to the Play Lawn, which features two ball fields.

“We look forward to the best season yet on Governors Island,” said Susan Carey Dempsey, executive director of the Governors Island Alliance. “We invite everyone to come and kick off the new season by joining the Alliance at the Family Festival on Opening Day.”

Governors Island, a 172-acre island located a half-mile south of Manhattan, served as a military base for 200 years and was home to the U.S. Army and Coast Guard.

The island first opened to the general public in 2005. Since then, it has undergone major changes in its transformation into a mixed-use destination with large public spaces.

With the completion of the new park, approximately 125 acres of the island are now open to the public.

“You feel like you’ve gone on vacation without leaving New York,” Koch said. “For the price of a $2 round-trip ferry ride, you really feel like you’re on vacation. You have the best view of the Statue of Liberty.”

Last summer, the island was open for a total of 40 days and saw 399,000 visitors. Eighty-five percent of visitors live in the five boroughs, Koch said.

This year will be the first time in history that the island is open to the public seven days a week. A diverse calendar of events will give New Yorkers plenty of reasons to visit.

On June 14 and 15, The Hedgepig Ensemble Theater will perform a 15-minute version of Shakespeare’s Hamlet at Hammock Grove.

River to River, the annual arts festival in Lower Manhattan, will also have several performances on Governors Island between June 19 and June 29.

On July 26 and 27, The New York City Poetry Festival will take place on the island.

Koch said that bringing arts to Governor’s Island was always a priority.

“When I first started working here eight years ago, it was a really quiet place,” she said. We decided to make it New York’s shared place for art and play.”

Artists and organizations are invited to use the island’s historic buildings and green space free of charge as long as they create a program that’s free to the public.

Along with the new park and new programs, visitor favorites such as the Jazz Age Lawn Party, a 1920s-themed dance party, and a miniature golf course are both set to return.

Governors Island is open everyday from May 24 through Sept. 28. On weekdays, the Island is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On weekends, Memorial Day and Labor Day, the Island is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The Island will be open on July 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

On Opening Day, the Governors Island Alliance will host a family festival from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. with arts and crafts, performances and harbor education activities for kids.

A full calendar of events and the Governors Island ferry schedule are available at www.govisland.com.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Brooklyn man charged in roommate's stabbing death

A Brooklyn man accused of violently stabbing his roommate to death on Monday is in police custody and faces murder charges.

International

Dinosaurs could have survived asteroid strike

It turns out there is a good and a bad time for the planet to be hit by a meteor, and dinosaurs were just unlucky.…

National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

MLB

Angelo Cataldi: Ryan Howard deserves better from Phillies

Just last week, Ryan Howard endured the embarrassment of a benching that was inevitable, and yet still shocking.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.