Mayor de Blasio, Trust for Governors Island Announce Governors Island to Reopen on May 1st
NEW YORK — Mayor de Blasio and The Trust for Governors Island (The Trust) today announced the seasonal reopening of Governors Island on May 1st, 2021. Governors Island will return to its pre-pandemic season calendar, open to visitors every day from May 1 through October 31. In addition to daily Manhattan ferry service, for the first time Governors Island ferries will serve two Brooklyn locations for weekend service at Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Atlantic Basin in Red Hook, allowing easy access to the Island for a wider range of Brooklyn residents than ever before.
New Yorkers can visit the island to enjoy open space and car-free natural surroundings, unmatched views of New York Harbor and surrounding skylines, historic settings, dozens of free public art exhibitions, cultural programs and activities, and diverse selection of food and beverage vendors.
“Governors Island is one of New York City’s crown jewels. It’s the kind of beautiful, open public space that we will rely on to drive our recovery this spring and summer,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I’m grateful to the Trust for making the Island more accessible than ever this year, and the return of their full season will give more New Yorkers than ever a chance to enjoy everything the island has to offer.”
“We are thrilled to be able to open Governors Island for its full, six-month public season again this year, and with more access from Brooklyn than ever before,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “As the City reopens, Governors Island will provide an affordable destination for New Yorkers to enjoy open space, arts and culture, and everything that makes it such a remarkable place. One of the Trust’s main goals is to provide equitable access to the Island, and we’re proud to continue to deliver on that mission this year. We can’t wait to see everyone on the ferry.”
“The beginning of the Governors Island season is a great day for New Yorkers to play, explore and relax in what is truly one of our City’s hidden gems,” said Congressman Jerry Nadler. “And I’m pleased that starting on May 1st there will be ferry service between Pier 6 and Red Hook to Governors Island, which will open up the Island to more and more visitors, who will have the opportunity to enjoy this great New York attraction.”
“It is wonderful that Governors Island will soon open for the season, providing New Yorkers with an affordable option to enjoy the outdoors safely as we embark on the summer season,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez. “I am even more thrilled that weekend ferry service will be provided at two key Brooklyn locations, Pier 6/Atlantic Avenue and Red Hook/Atlantic Basin, and that NYCHA residents, IDNYC holders, vets, seniors and children and local community groups ride free, allowing more Brooklynites than ever quick access to all that Governors Island has to offer. I salute the Mayor and the Trust for Governors Island for their hard work in making this return a reality.”
“Governors Island is home to one of our city’s most cherished parks, and an affordable place to experience free art, recreational activities and history,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “I encourage all New Yorkers to take a ferry, free for seniors, residents of NYCHA, IDNYC holders and community groups across the city, and enjoy this special place starting on May 1.”
“Governors Island is a great destination for Brooklynites and New Yorkers looking to spend time in nature, take in great arts and culture, or simply enjoy a beautiful day with friends and family. The new weekend ferry service at Pier 6 and Red Hook will ensure Brooklynites of all backgrounds can take advantage of our proximity to this natural jewel. I applaud the Trust for Governors Island for their commitment to equitable access, and can’t wait to plan my visit!” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
“The reopening of Governors Island is one of New York’s great rites of spring,” said Senator Brian Kavanagh. “This past year, we have been more aware than ever of just how important public open space is for New Yorkers. The wide range of arts programming and cultural events for people of all ages and the Island’s expanses of parkland will be a welcome reprieve after the time we’ve spent indoors and distanced from what makes New York great. I have advocated for more ferry service for years, so I’m particularly happy that there will now be two departure points from Brooklyn, and service starting earlier on weekend mornings, allowing more New Yorkers to make the trip and to stay longer. As we continue to feel the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s vital that we keep investing in equitable access to parkland in general and especially to the great resources Governors Island offers.”
“Reopening Governors Island is a much-needed victory for New Yorkers, especially many in lower Manhattan where Governors Island represents their only green space,” said New York State Assemblymember Yuh-Line Niou. “Governors Island is one of my favorite places, and for many in our community this is like having our own backyard back. This reopening marks an incredible opportunity for our city to begin healing after the disruptions brought on by the pandemic.”
“Governors Island is one of our city’s top summer destinations, and I’m so excited to visit the island again in celebration for its reopening,” said Council Member Margaret Chin. “I encourage everyone to experience its beautiful green open spaces and take advantage of its car-free pathways to walk or bike around with friends and family. There are so many wonderful things to do and see on Governors Island, and taking the ferry is a fun and relaxing way to get there!”
“I visited Governors Island last year when it reopened on a modified schedule to give New Yorkers access to one of our safest and largest open park spaces. That year, the Island previewed what is now permanent: a ferry stop at Atlantic Basin in Red Hook, which will run Saturdays and Sundays. This will not only provide free ferries for NYCHA residents - in Red Hook, one of the largest in the borough - but will also bring New Yorkers to Red Hook and support local businesses on the weekends. I believe that the Trust for Governors Island cares about serving all New Yorkers and look forward to the programming again this year,” said Council Member Carlos Menchaca.
“It’s great that there will be two ferry stops that will allow our community residents quick access to Governors Island this year,” said Brooklyn Community Board 6 District Manager Michael Racioppo. “If residents haven’t been, I recommend jumping on a ferry from Red Hook or Pier 6 and changing that ASAP.”
“I’m pleased to welcome visitors back to Governors this season,” said National Park Service Manhattan Sites Superintendent Shirley McKinney. “We will continue to allow self-guided public tours of the historic forts. Park Rangers will be on site to answer questions and provide information to our guests.”
“This year made clear how critical green spaces like Governors Island are to the health and well-being of our city,” said Merritt Birnbaum, Executive Director of the Friends of Governors Island. “Everyone needs the ability to escape the concrete jungle and recharge after such a hard winter, and we can’t wait to welcome New Yorkers back to enjoy the spring blooms, fresh Harbor breezes and plenty of room to bike, stroll, picnic and relax. We’re especially grateful to our volunteers and supporters who stepped up in big ways over the past year to ensure Governors Island remains a beautiful and welcoming place for everyone.”
VISITOR INFORMATION & FERRIES
Governors Island will be open daily between May 1-October 31 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m.-7 p.m. on weekends and holiday Mondays including Memorial Day, July 5, Labor Day, and Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Governors Island ferries will run daily between the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street in Manhattan and Soissons Landing on the Island.
For the first time, Governors Island ferries will serve two Brooklyn locations this year: Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Atlantic Basin in Red Hook. These routes will run directly to Governors Island from each location every Saturday, Sunday and holiday Monday all season long.
Visitors must reserve ferry tickets in advance of their trip to Governors Island, and face coverings are required. Tickets will be available soon through an online reservation system at www.govisland.org. Round-trip ferry tickets will cost $3 for adults. Governors Island ferries are always free for children 12 and under, seniors 65 and up, residents of NYCHA, IDNYC holders, current and former military servicemembers and Governors Island members. Ferries before noon on Saturdays and Sundays are free for all. There is no surcharge for bicycles or strollers at any time. The Trust will also offer waived fares for non-profit community-based organizations, youth camps, and senior centers throughout New York City. To inquire about group visits, organizations may email email@example.com.
NYC Ferry will offer additional connections to Governors Island’s Yankee Pier via a dedicated weekend shuttle from Wall Street/Pier 11. Ticketing information and full schedules will be available soon at www.ferry.nyc.
The Island’s food and beverage vendors will return on May 1. For a full list of vendors, please visit govisland.org/visit-the-island/food.
OPEN SPACE AND RECREATION
Visitors can enjoy Governors Island’s over 120 acres of award-winning open space. The Island’s park offers rolling lawns and plenty of room for New Yorkers to spread out for picnicking and recreation, including over 7 miles of car-free bike paths. Hammock Grove’s 40+ public hammocks nestled into the foliage provide a relaxing retreat. The Hills feature unparalleled views of the Harbor and landmarks like the Statue of Liberty as well as the surrounding Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines.
Activities, including bike rentals with Blazing Saddles and CitiBike, visits to the Governors Island National Monument, self-guided history tours, free kayaking, grill reservations and more will be available for visitors beginning May 1. More information on activities can be found at govisland.org/things-to-do.
ARTS, CULTURE AND EDUCATION
Ongoing Arts, Culture and Science Programs
Over two dozen arts, culture and education organizations will utilize space inside the historic houses of Nolan Park and Colonels Row this year to present a robust slate of ongoing free public programs, host artist residencies, engage visitors in special activities for all ages, and more. Ongoing public programs will include indoor and outdoor exhibitions, installations and interactive exhibits. The Urban Farm, home to GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden and Earth Matter NY’s Compost Learning Center and Soil Start Farm will also be open weekends from 12-4pm. Participating organizations are listed at govisland.org/things-to-do and programming schedules will be available soon.
Public Art Commissions and Installations
Public art installations including Rachel Whiteread’s Cabin and Mark Handforth’s Yankee Hanger will remain on view, as will Shantell Martin’s The May Room. The Trust will announce new commissioned public art installations and projects to debut on the Island in 2021 throughout the season.
LMCC’s Arts Center at Governors Island
Curated and programmed by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), the Arts Center at Governors Island will reopen to the public June 12 through October 31 with two large-scale, site-specific solo exhibitions; a participatory sculpture; and the return of the Take Care public programs series. Appropriate COVID-19 health protocols will be in place for visitors entering the Arts Center, with exhibitions and presentations free and open to all. More details about the 2021 season at the Arts Center will be announced soon on LMCC’s website, www.LMCC.net.
Governors Island will host a limited calendar of socially distanced outdoor events in 2021. Dates and more details on these and other special events will be available at govisland.org as they are announced over the coming weeks and months. All events will adhere to the latest local, state and federal health and safety guidelines.
About The Trust for Governors Island
The Trust for Governors Island is the non-profit corporation created by the City of New York that is responsible for the redevelopment and operation of 150 acres of Governors Island. The Trust’s mission is to realize the full potential of Governors Island for the inspiration and enjoyment of all New Yorkers, demonstrating a bold vision for public space. For more information, visit www.govisland.org.
About Governors Island National Monument
The National Park Service manages Governors Island National Monument, which consists of twenty-two acres, including the historic fortifications Castle Williams and Fort Jay. The Monument is one of twenty-two sites operated by the National Park Service in the New York City area. Its purpose is to preserve and protect Castle Williams and Fort Jay, and to interpret them and the harbor’s rich history and ecology for the public. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/gois.