Mayor Adams Announces Return of Summer Season on Governors Island
Warm Weather Programming Includes Free Arts, Culture, and Educational Programs, Alongside Expanded Food Vendors and New Visitor Amenities
Comes Amidst Mayor Adams’ Ongoing Work to Bring Back City’s Economy From COVID-19 Pandemic
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the Trust for Governors Island today announced a robust calendar of exciting and wide-ranging programs on the Island for this summer, including the return of late nights on Fridays and Saturdays — another critical step in New York City’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s programming highlights the breadth of activities, events, and cultural experiences that can be enjoyed during the warmer months on Governors Island.
“We cannot sit back and wait for our city to recover on its own — we need to showcase all New York City has to offer, and Governors Island should be on the must-see list for every New Yorker and visitor this year,” said Mayor Adams. “There really is something for everyone on the Island, and I can’t wait to go experience it myself.”
“Governors Island attracts locals and tourists alike to its unique, 172-acre lands and award-winning park year-round — but especially during longer days and warmer weather,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “This year’s spring and summer programing offers wonderful experiences in the middle of New York Harbor and further signals that New York City is fully open for business, culture, and play.”
“As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, Governors Island is bustling with activity and is the perfect destination to spend a spring day,” said Clare Newman, president and CEO, Trust for Governors Island. “From transformative arts and cultural experiences to singular environmental and educational programs, to delicious food vendors to brand-new amenities like pétanque, the Island has something for everyone to enjoy. We can’t wait to see you on the ferry this summer.”
Today’s announcement comes at a significant moment in Governors Island’s transformation and Mayor Adams’ ongoing work to bring back New York City’s economy from the COVID-19 pandemic. Highlighted summer programs, activities, and visitor amenities announced today include:
GOVERNORS ISLAND ARTS
Through public art commissions, the annual ‘Organizations in Residence’ program, and public events and programs, ‘Governors Island Arts’ creates transformative encounters with art for all New Yorkers — inviting artists and researchers to engage with the Island’s layered histories, environments, and architecture. ‘Governors Island Arts’ was a key commitment in Mayor Adams’ ‘Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery’ — this announcement marks the second set of new initiatives.
Sam Van Aken’s monumental ‘The Open Orchard,’ which opened to the public on April 29, 2022, welcomes visitors to an orchard comprised of 102 fruit trees that acts as a living archive for antique and heirloom varieties that were grown in and around New York City in the past 400 years but have mostly disappeared due to climate change and the industrialization of agriculture. Long-term public art installations — including Rachel Whiteread’s ‘Cabin,’ Mark Handforth’s ‘Yankee Hanger,’ Duke Riley’s ‘Not for Nutten,’ and Mark Dion’s ‘The Field Station of the Melancholy Marine Biologist’ — remain on view daily. Shantell Martin’s ‘Church’ and ‘The May Room,’ commissioned for the 2019 season, have been extended through summer 2022, with the latter open to the public weekends from 10:00 AM to 4:30 PM. Governors Island Arts will continue to announce new commissioned public art installations and projects to debut on the Island throughout the coming months.
Two dozen arts, culture, and education organizations utilize space inside the historic houses of Nolan Park and Colonels Row to present a robust calendar of free public programs, host artist residencies, and engage visitors in special activities for all ages throughout the summer months. Programs from this year’s ‘Organizations in Residence’ will include NADA House from New Art Dealers Alliance, interactive public installations and artist residencies with ArtCrawl Harlem, bird walks from the New York City Audubon Society, art programs and events from American Indian Community House, indoor and outdoor exhibitions from West Harlem Art Fund, public laboratories exploring regeneration and agroforestry from Swale, a site-specific installation from artists of the Philippine diaspora from the NARS Foundation, educational and environmental programs from the Climate Museum, an exhibition addressing the systemic oppression that BIPOC families and communities are fighting to end from the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, and more. Find a full list of participating organizations and artists on the Governors Island website.
Free events and programs will continue to be announced throughout the season — including Japan Performing Arts’ Early Summer Japanese Festival May 28-29, the return of outdoor films on the Parade Ground in partnership with Film at Lincoln Center and Rooftop Films with a screening of ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ on June 3 and ‘The Wiz’ on August 5, a citywide dance party in August in partnership with Festival of New York, and more to be announced.
In addition to programs and commissions presented through Governors Island Arts, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center at Governors Island will reopen to the public May 28 through October 31, 2022. Exhibitions presented this year include the return of the free ‘Take Care’ monthly public program series; ‘Sun Seekers,’ a new site-specific exhibition with performances by Amy Khoshbin and Jennifer Khoshbin; the first New York City presentation of Back and Song, a four-channel video installation by Elissa Blount-Moorhead and Bradford Young; and ‘Pillars,’ a participatory sculpture installation by Simon Benjamin. Free, timed entry reservations are available online.
This summer, Bloomberg Connects — a free app focused on arts and culture — will also include a guide for the public art on view and other key aspects of the Governors Island experience. The guide will provide information for visitors onsite and will be accessible from anywhere in the world.
VISITOR AMENITITES AND ATTRACTIONS
Governors Island National Monument, including Fort Jay and Castle Williams, is open weekends from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM for self-guided tours and information. New this year is Carreau Club, which will bring the French sport pétanque to Governors Island. Their outdoor location on King Avenue will open in early June and include several courts alongside an outdoor beer garden featuring craft beer, wine, cocktails, and sandwiches from Court Street Grocers.
The Urban Farm — home to GrowNYC’s teaching garden, Earth Matter NY’s Compost Learning Center and Soil Start Farm, and the Bee Conservancy’s bee sanctuary — is open weekends from 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM with free programs and tours. Circular Economy Manufacturing’s MicroFactory — which turns post-consumer plastics into upcycled objects using only solar power — will also offer demonstrations to visitors on weekends.
Governors Island remains one of New York City’s most unique locations for events of all kinds — including, for the first time ever, Pride Island, New York City Pride’s weekend-long music festival in honor of Pride Weekend, featuring performances from Kim Petras, Papi Juice, Lil’ Kim, and more. See below for an additional selection of upcoming events, with more to be announced throughout the season.
- Outdoor Films presented by Governors Island Arts in partnership with Film at Lincoln Center – June 3, August 5
- Jazz by the Water – June 4, July 23, August 14
- New York Harbor Oyster Classic 5K – June 5
- Jazz Age Lawn Party – June 11-12
- Porch Stomp folk music festival – June 18
- FAD Market monthly pop-ups – June 18-19, July 16-17, August 20-21, September 17-18, October 15-16
- NYCRUNS Father’s Day 5K & 10K – June 19
- Pride Island – June 25-26
- Rite of Summer Music Festival – July 16, August 20, September 10
- Festival of New York Citywide Dance Party – August 5
Governors Island is a culinary destination with a diverse blend of cuisines available daily. New additions for this summer include Gitano Island — a tropical restaurant and beach club opening in June — along with East Asian-inspired meals and snacks from Tokyo Drumstick; rotating weekly food trucks from the New York Food Truck Association; a mix of beer, wine, and cocktails paired with Court Street Grocers sandwiches at Carreau Club; and more to be announced.
Returning Governors Island vendors include Joe Coffee Company, Little Eva’s, Taco Vista, Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights, Island Oyster, Threes Brewing and the Meat Hook, Pizza Yard, Sea Biscuit, Malai, and more. In addition, the Foodie Spot — a partnership with the New York City Housing Authority’s (NYCHA) Office of Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability — is now open in Liggett Terrace, spotlighting small businesses owned by graduates of NYCHA’s Food Business Pathways program. Find a full list of vendors and their operating hours on the Governors Island website.
OPEN SPACE AND RECREATION
Visitors can enjoy Governors Island’s 120+ acres of open space daily. The Island’s award-winning park offers rolling lawns and plenty of room for New Yorkers to spread out for picnicking and recreation, including over seven miles of car-free bike paths. Hammock Grove’s 40+ public hammocks nestled into the foliage provide a relaxing retreat, and 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.
Popular year-round activities — like bike rentals with Blazing Saddles, including Free Bike Mornings every weekday between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM and CitiBike, guided Governors Island walking tours, self-guided digital walking tours with Urban Archive and Gesso, and more — will continue to be offered to Island visitors. Free kayaking with the Downtown Boathouse returns to Pier 101 on June 4, 2022, and will run every Saturday from 11:00 AM to 3:30 PM through September. More information and updates on recreation activities can be found on the Governors Island website.
Governors Island is open Sunday through Thursday from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM. From Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day, the Island will remain open until 10:00 PM on Fridays and Saturdays — inviting New Yorkers to enjoy evenings under the stars, the Island’s growing food and beverage offerings, and special events and programming — all with some of the best views New York City has to offer.
Trust for Governors Island-operated ferries run daily between the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street in Lower Manhattan and Soissons Landing on the Island. Trust-operated ferries also serve two Brooklyn locations during the summer months — Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Atlantic Basin in Red Hook. These routes run directly to Yankee Pier on Governors Island from each location every Saturday, Sunday, and holiday Monday through September 25, 2022. For schedules and ticketing information, visit the Governors Island website.
Visitors are encouraged to reserve ferry tickets in advance of their trip on the Governors Island website. In accordance with federal guidelines, face coverings are required while boarding, riding, and disembarking the ferry. Round-trip ferry tickets cost $4 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 on Trust-operated ferries at any time.
The Trust also offers free ferry fares for nonprofit community-based organizations, youth camps, and senior centers throughout New York City. To inquire about group visits, organizations may email [email protected].
NYC Ferry service to Governors Island on the South Brooklyn route operates weekdays and non-summer weekends. On summer weekends during the highest ridership season, NYC Ferry will continue to operate its dedicated seasonal shuttle from Pier 11/Wall Street in Lower Manhattan. NYC Ferry riders may take any route to Pier 11 and transfer to the shuttle for free, or NYC Ferry riders may transfer for free at either Atlantic Ave/Pier 6 or Red Hook/Atlantic Basin to Trust-operated Brooklyn ferries. For ticketing information and full schedules for NYC Ferry, visit the NYC Ferry website.
Governors Island has undergone a tremendous transformation over the last decade, including the creation of a resilient 43-acre park, a growing arts and cultural program, year-round public access, and remarkable growth in audience. The Island is home to a diverse number of year-round tenants, including the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Billion Oyster Project, Shandaken Projects, Beam Center, the Institute for Public Architecture, and QC NY Spa, as well as the soon-to-open Buttermilk Labs — a new multi-tenant hub for coastal climate solutions scheduled to open in 2024.
In April 2022, the Trust and the city announced the next steps in the competition to establish a global Center for Climate Solutions on Governors Island. As the final phase of a global competition, four teams led by top universities will respond to a targeted request for proposals (RFP). Announced as part of Mayor Eric Adams’ ‘Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery,’ the RFP will select an anchor academic and research partner to build a new state-of-the-art institution dedicated to researching and demonstrating urban climate solutions and advancing education and training opportunities for New Yorkers in climate and environmental fields. At full build, the Center for Climate Solutions will create 7,000 permanent jobs on Governors Island alone and nearly $1 billion in fiscal impact for the city of New York.