Governors Island: A Destination for Music, Art, and Hammocks in NYC

posted by Maya Shaw-Faber on July 17, 2014

via The Trust for Governors Island

New York City -- Eight hundred yards from lower Manhattan lies New York's best kept secret. Governors Island, 172 acres of sunshine and quiet, is the fastest, cheapest escape from a blazing hot summer in the city. Having just opened to the public 7 days a week in May 2014, Governors Island is host to parks, playgrounds, hammocks, art studios, New York Harbor School, a killer view of the Manhattan skyline and Lady Liberty, and the Governors Beach Club.

From a picnic in the park to a night of music and from an afternoon of gallery viewing to a day-long Jazz Party, here's what Governors Island has in store. 


Take the ferry to get to the Island (see below for full travel details) and don't forget your sunscreen. Acres of grassy fields, lawn chairs, hammocks, shady spots, and flowers await you. Explore the Island by renting a bike or roller skates, snapping photos of the art installations and the view of the Statue of Liberty as you ride. When your stomach growls, take a break at the outdoor food court. It holds an array of food, including one cart that can provide you with a full picnic to take along to Hammock Grove or Play Lawn. 

Before you leave, don't forget to explore some of the rows of abandoned houses and buildings that remain from when the Island was a military base. Some structures, like Castle Williams, are open to the public. Many of activities on the Island were suggested by New Yorkers themselves, including a baseball field, ice cream trucks, and plenty of open space.

via The Trust for Governors Island


Governors Beach Club is a waterfront concert and event venue of Governors Island. It's home to Full Moon Fest, a one-day music festival on August 8 featuring Delorean, The Aston Shuffle, The Knocks, and more. The venue also features concerts by artists such as Adventure Club on July 26, Thomas Gold on August 2, Seth Troxler & The Martinez Brothers on August 3, and more. Governors Beach Club offers food options like burgers and beer to enjoy while looking out at the view of the Manhattan skyline.



Governors Island holds an array of events all summer. On August 16 and 17, the Island will host the Jazz Age Lawn Party, where participants travel back in time to the Prohibition Era to listen to jazz and sip cocktails. There are plenty of other events, including the New York City Poetry Festival,  RECESS Lawn Bocce Tournament, and more to keep you occupied all summer long. 

via Jazz Age Lawn Party


Governors Island is also home to the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council's (LMCC) Arts Center. Housed in a former Army warehouse, the center has studio spaces for visual and performing artists along with a gallery. The studio spaces are provided to artists for sessions spanning from a few weeks to a few months. The studios and gallery are open for public viewing. There are also art installations scattered throughout the Island.

via Lower Manhattan Cultural Council


Governors Island is open to visitors everyday from May 24 to September 28. Ferries run from the Battery Maritime Building in lower Manhattan (right next to the Staten Island Ferry). Take the R to Whitehall St, 1 to South Ferry Loop, or the 4 5 to Bowling Green to get to the departure point. Ferries run from 10am to 6pm Monday-Friday and 10am to 7pm Saturday and Sunday. Fare is $2, except at 10am, 11am, and 11:30am from Manhattan on Saturdays and Sundays, when it is free.

Ferries also run from Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park, Brooklyn. Take the 2 3 4 5 to Borough Hall or the R to Court St. to get to Pier 6. Ferries run Saturdays and Sundays from 11am to 7pm. Fare is $2, except at 11am and 11:30am from Brooklyn, when it is free. 

Children under 12 ride free and senior citizens ride for $1 from both Manhattan and Brooklyn. 

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