Governors Island reopens May 1 with new ferry stops and art exhibits

April 2, 2021

Photo by Kreg Holt

Following a shortened season last year, Governors Island will reopen for the entire six months of the 2021 season starting May 1. Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Trust for Governors Island announced on Thursday that the 172-acre site will return to its “pre-pandemic season calendar,” with dozens of art exhibitions and cultural programs offered through October 31. For the first time ever, ferries to Governors Island will run from two stops in Brooklyn on weekends, at Brooklyn Bridge Park and Atlantic Basin in Red Hook, in addition to daily service from Manhattan.

“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,” Clare Newman, president and CEO of the Trust, said.

“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.”

From relaxing at Hammock Grove to biking around the island to free kayaking, the national park offers a ton of activities across 120-acres of car-free space. According to the Trust, there will be programs and exhibitions from two dozen arts, culture, and education organizations inside the historic buildings of Nolan Park and Colonels Row.

Public art installations include Rachel Whiteread’s Cabin, Mark Handforth’s Yankee Hanger, and Shantell Martin’s The May Room. The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center at Governors Island reopens June 12 with two site-specific installations: A participatory sculpture and the Take Care public programs series. Earlier this year, the LMCC announced it awarded its free artist residencies at the arts center to 22 artists who have been affected by COVID-19.

A number of socially distanced outdoor events will take place this season including multiple 5K and 10K races, the Jazz Age Lawn Party on June 12 and 13, and the New York City Poetry Festival on July 24 and 25.

The initial list of food and beverage vendors on the island include Island Oyster, Taco Vista, Fauzi’s Heavenly Delights, Joe Coffee, Kimchi Taco Truck, Little Eva’s, Makina Cafe, Melt Bakery, People’s Pops, Terry & Yaki, Threes Brewing & the Meat Hook, Pizza Yard, and Sea Biscuit.

For those looking for overnight lodging with views of the Statue of Liberty, the Collective Hotels & Retreats glamping experience also returns this season. This season’s retreat package includes yoga and meditation sessions, in-tent continental breakfast, complimentary s’mores, and more. Reservations are now open for stays beginning May 1.

Governors Island will be open every day between May 1 and October 31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends and holiday Mondays. Ferries will run daily between the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street in Manhattan and the island and from the two new Brooklyn stops on weekends. Ferry tickets, $3 round-trip for adults, must be reserved in advance.

Ferries are free for children 12 and under, seniors 65 and older, NYCHA residents, IDNYC holders, current and former military service members, and Governors Island members. Everyone rides for free before noon on Saturdays and Sundays. Ferry schedules and ticket reservations will be available soon. Find more information on visiting Governors Island here.

“We want to make sure that people have access to Governors Island, and [when] we talk about a recovery for all of us, we mean all of us,” de Blasio said during a press briefing on Thursday. “We want to make sure that folks can get to a beautiful place like Governors Island.”


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