i finally visited governors island for the very first time last year, and it was one weird experience. although technically part of new york city, this 92-acre island that is just 800 yards from downtown manhattan, just feels like someplace else. full of now empty and abandoned army residential buildings (which are very slowly in the process of being redeveloped) and lots and lots of green space, it was quite calm and peaceful.
lately, it seems, programming for activities on governors island have gotten much better, and so there are more reasons to go. this year, first of all, they have started to offer free ferry service from the brooklyn side (making it much easier for those of us on the east side of the east river. governors island has some improvements this year: new hammocks and picnic areas, as well as a very fun city of dreams mini golf course, with each of the nine holes designed by a different artist. there are also bikes available to rent (free on fridays), and you can also bring your own bike on the ferry.
this weekend, they will be hosting FIGMENT; a participatory art festival that they have had on the island for the past couple years. could be fun. i’m also planning to go out for the civil war renactment weekend on august 9th which should be a hoot. before making the trek to governors island, and this is an all day activity, i would recommend bringing your own provisions. we weren’t too thrilled with the options last year, and there weren’t many, though it is possible the food scene could have improved. in case it hasn’t, you wouldn’t want to be stuck. see the mini guide below for more food ideas. and i also would wait for the rain to go away. there’s not much to do out there in a storm. governors island, accessed by ferry. from manhattan at the battery maritime building located next to the staten island ferry; and from brooklyn at the fulton ferry landing (only on saturdays). the island is only open to the public on fridays, saturdays and sundays.