Saturday is All-Day Playtime on Governors Island!

A wacky and fun game at the Come Out and Play Festival! Photo courtesy of

A wacky and fun game at the Come Out and Play Festival! Photo courtesy of

Here on Governors Island, we all just want to have fun! It’s the perfect place for all sorts of play, whether you swing in a hammock, play a round of minigolf, ride a bike, or toss a Frisbee.

But this weekend, the Come Out and Play Field Day and Family is changing the game!

Governors Island has been called a giant playground (and not just one for kids). The Island naturally inspires a spirit of play, and the festival will build on that to create a day of supersized, interactive, and surprising games and activities.

There are a bunch of field games and sports to choose from. Get into a game of Settlers of Catan, but as a contact field sport! Bounce giant inflatable balls in parachutes! Whether you’re 9 or 89, an athletic player or more of a strategist, there will be something for you—even if you just want to cheer on your friends.

The festival partners with innovative and creative groups who are reinventing how we play together. Governors Island is the perfect place for it to happen.

Come Out and Play is happening on Saturday July 19 from 11 am to 4 pm. Check out their website for more information and game descriptions. 

Explore Nolan Park

There are tons of fun and free activities for the whole family on Governors Island this summer – especially in Nolan Park.

Take a look at the historic 19th century officers’ homes in Nolan Park, all painted yellow. Image courtesy of The Trust.

The park is a remnant of the 19th century, lined by charming yellow houses that were once home to military officers. These homes now serve another purpose – every summer arts and cultural organizations turn the Nolan Park houses into exhibits, shops, and activity spaces.

Stop by building 4A and you’ll be surrounded by the masterful photography of Robert Capa; head over to building 18 to experience NYC during the Civil War; and if you find yourself in building 10B, you’ll be privy to an array of one-of-a-kind, hand-made crafts by Brooklyn ARTery. A full listing of summer programs in Nolan Park can be found at the end of this post!

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Visit the “Capa in Color” exhibit to see what everyone’s looking at! Image courtesy of ICP.

Nolan Park is also a wonderful spot to relax in the shade of an elm tree, set up a picnic, or enjoy a walk along crisscrossing brick pathways. The south end of the park is especially scenic – there you can find the Chapel of Saint Cornelius, another exhibition center that houses some of the most spectacular performances on Governors Island!


St. Cornelius Chapel in Nolan Park. Image courtesy of The Trust.

What to do in Nolan Park:

- Enjoy the Park! While there are many exciting events offered in the houses of Nolan Park, the Park itself is a tranquil area full of century-old trees that offer great shade. Make time for a picnic, relax on a bench to do some people watching, or just go for a leisurely stroll.

Take a walk through Nolan Park and be surrounded by  the charms of 19th century New York.

Take a walk through Nolan Park and be surrounded by the charms of 19th century New York. Image courtesy of The Trust.

Capa in Color and a preview of Sebastiao Salgado: Genesis (Presented by the International Center of Photography). Thursdays through Sundays from 11:30AM – 5:30PM. House 4A. View a captivating selection of  color photographs by Robert Capa and preview the upcoming ICP exhibition “Sebastião Salgado: Genesis.”

Parallax (Presented by the Holocenter). Weekends from 12PM – 6PM. House 4B. See puzzling and tantalizing works of holographic artistry plus glasses-free 3-D photography. 

Surprise House. August 16th – September 14th. House 6B. Embrace the uncertain & engineer the unexpected – play, connect, and explore the unknown in this mysterious house designed by Surprise Industries. 

Envision the Dream – Artwork by Seniors. September 5th – 21st from 10AM – 6PM. House 10A.  Eleven senior artists exhibit work in group and solo exhibitions. Because the art world tends to focus on new and upcoming artists or established artists, often mid-career senior artists find themselves overlooked by the mainstream media. This exhibition will draw attention and recognition to a diverse group of talented senior artists working in both traditional and non-traditional styles.   

See captivating artwork such as this at the "Envision the Dream" exhibit. Image courtesy of New Century Artists, Inc.

See captivating artwork such as this at the “Envision the Dream” exhibit. Image courtesy of New Century Artists, Inc.

Brooklyn ARTery. Weekends from 10AM-5PM. Workshop on Saturdays from 2PM – 4PM. House 10B. Stop by for beautiful handbags, jewelry, artisanal food, housewares, scarves, beauty products and more! Also featuring The ARTery Gallery – a rotating exhibit of professional artists.

Free Art Island Outpost (Presented by the Children’s Museum of the Arts). Weekends from 10AM – 5PM. Houses 11 & 14. Collaborate with other visitors on a variety of themed art workshops including painting, sound design, sculpture, animation, podcasting, and more!

Better than Jam. Fridays & Mondays from 11AM – 5PM. Weekends from 10AM – 6PM. House 16. The Brooklyn shop of all locally handmade products will be taking the ferry ride over, and bringing with it the creations of New York City’s most talented designers, artists and crafters. With the help of the Etsy New York Street Team, the shop will also host family-friendly demonstrations and workshops on Saturdays from 2PM – 4PM to show and teach visitors some of their skills

Roadside Attraction (Presented by Third Rail Projects). Open Studios: 8/2, 8/22, 9/13, from 1PM – 5PM; 9/16, 9/17, from 10AM-12PM; Workshops: 7/23, 8/2, from 1PM – 5PM; Invited Showing: 9/18 through 9/21, from 12PM – 6PM. House 17. Third Rail Projects will host open outdoor rehearsals, open studios, public workshops, and performances throughout the summer based on a mobile, site-specific dance/theater work for 6 performers and a 1970’s Coleman pop-up camper


Don't miss the whimsical and energetic performances of "Roadside Attraction." Image courtesy of Third Rail Projects.

Don’t miss the whimsical and energetic performances of “Roadside Attraction.” Image courtesy of Third Rail Projects.

The Civil War & NYC (Presented by the New York Historical Society). Weekends from 10AM – 6:30PM. House 18.  The exhibition portrays the complexities that arose in our city during the period of the American Civil War. Using photographs, newspapers, and works of art, Student Historian Teen Leaders have curated a nuanced view of the Civil War showing multiple perspectives and many surprises.   

TransFORMation (Presented by the Sculptor’s Guild). Fridays through Sundays from 11AM – 5PM. House 19.  This exhibition encompasses six separately themed shows as well as outdoor work.    

Tattered & Torn: Part 2 (Presented by Empire Historic Arts District). Weekends from 11AM – 6PM. House 20A.  The exhibit features less-than-pristine costumes from museum collections. Although the condition of the garments is too poor for them to be displayed in museums, the Empire Historic Arts Fund believes they remain a resource for those interested in 19th century fashion design.  

Just one of the many captivating outfits from the "Tattered & Torn" exhibit.

Just one of the many captivating outfits from the “Tattered & Torn” exhibit. Image Courtesy of Art Observer.

Mu-Math: Mobile Math Unit to Promote Mathematical Thinking (Presented by Living Better Through Mathematics). Weekends 11AM – 5PM. House 20B. Featuring a dozen different mathematics investigations ranging from algebra to topology, the exhibit is appropriate for the math curious beginning with age 7 and ending with those who consider themselves “ageless.”

For a detailed listing on all the exhibits both in Nolan Park and throughout the Island this summer, visit!

City of Water Day on Governors Island

85 degrees! Not to worry.
This weekend is City of Water Day, presented by the Manhattan Waterfront Alliance. Now in its 7th year, City of Water Day celebrates New York’s waterfront and offers many opportunities for New Yorkers to stay cool and enjoy access to the water.

There will be lots of opportunities to Kayak close to Pier 101 on Governors Island. Image courtesy of MWA

There will be lots of opportunities to Kayak close to Pier 101 on Governors Island. Image courtesy of MWA


City of Water Day events happen all across the City. Governors Island will be hosting the main festivities once again, along with Maxwell Park Place in Hoboken, New Jersey. A special free ferry will be running between Governors Island and Hoboken all day. Regularly scheduled ferries will also run to Governors Island from Brooklyn and Manhattan as they do every weekend.

See what events are happening in your neighborhood.

Fun and Free Activities 

Find exciting events all across the Island this weekend.

The defending champions of the Cardboard Kayak race.

The defending champions of the Cardboard Kayak race.


The Children’s Fair is back with plenty of creative and educational activities. Build a pirate boat with the ‘pirate certified’ arts group Pirate Fiesta . Get your face painted with Kittymeow Kreations and then learn about sustainability with Solar One. 

Take to the open water with Free Kayaks at pier 101, courtesy of Downtown Boathouse. The pier will also serve as a landing dock for anyone who would like to Kayak to Governors Island.

If you feel safer on dry land, sit back and watch the Cardboard Kayak Race 20 teams will put their boat building skills to the test, building a kayak out of sheet metal and cardboard. The teams will race around Governors Island. According to the rules, “boats that disintegrate mid-race will be disqualified.”

Other events happening on Governors Island can be found here, and include the World Cup finals and the second performance of the Rite of Summer festival.

Happy 4th of July!

It may be a little rainy, but there are still plenty of great ways to enjoy Independence Day on Governors Island!

Rent a free bike during Free Bike Mornings from Blazing Saddles today. Roller skate rentals are also available.

Celebrate the 4th with some inspiring art! Many indoor exhibits are open today. See the International Center for Photography’s “Capa in Color and a Preview of Sebastiao: Genesis”. The New York Historical Society’s “The Civil War and New York City” opens today, as does Chashama’s “Flood Tides Art Show”. LMCC will be having open artists’ studios from 12-5 pm. Better Than Jam and Brooklyn ARTery, both selling artisanal crafts and gifts, will be open.

Enjoy your holiday cheering on your favorite team with other fans, and head to Governors Beach Club today to watch the World Cup!

This weekend, if you can’t make it camping yourself, check out Third Rail Projects’ Roadside Attraction, a dance theater piece that takes place in a 1970s pop-up camper. There is an open rehearsal on Saturday from 1-5 pm and performances Sunday at 2 & 4 pm outside Building 17 in Nolan Park.

Our many delicious food vendors will be here, of course, and Lady Liberty always looks splendid from the Island.

Happy 4th!

The Trust Honors Speaker Silver


On Wednesday June 25th, we had a ceremony to unveil a plaque honoring Speaker Sheldon Silver for his continued support of Governors Island. Members of The Trust for Governors Island Board, Community Board 1 and officials and teams from the Downtown Little League were present at the event.

“Governors Island is Lower Manhattan’s backyard,” said Speaker Sheldon Silver. “I have been proud to support the Island and am so pleased that so many of my neighbors from the Lower Manhattan community enjoy the Island’s open space, new ballfields, art exhibitions, and unparalleled views.”

The plaque is located at the ballfields in the new park. That afternoon, we also did a free kite giveaway at the ballfields. Colorful kites flew high over the Island and were a lovely backdrop to the ceremony.


Birdies & Rackets on Colonels Row


We’re excited about the RECESS 2014 Lawn Badminton Challenge tomorrow! RECESS will transform Colonels Row into a multi-court badminton championship. But the fun doesn’t stop there.

While you support the players, why not also grab a snack from the organization’s 2014 partners: Vietnamese eatery An Choi, Davey’s Ice Cream, Tiger Beer, and Hanaka Japanese Mochi Sweet. The Chia Pod will also be there—it’s a touring truck committed to healthier living that sells wholefood nutrition in single serve packages.

Music also makes this tournament something of a dance party. The RARE NYC crew will be spinning tunes all the while to make this a completely unique event. RECESS also publishes an online mixtape series every month called INTERMISSION featuring 30-minute playlists selected by people from diverse creative backgrounds. You can give these a listen at

Will Marc Jacobs or Shake Shack win the title of shuttlecock? Find out Saturday, and see the lineup of all the awesome contestants on their website.

Come to compete, come to watch, come to dance—just come play!


The event will take place on Saturday, 6/28 on Colonels Row from 12-5 PM.

Photo credit:

Dance on Governors Island!

Governors Island is hosting more dance than ever before! There are nearly a dozen dance events happening this summer, and all are free.


Coming up soon is Baila Baila, a renowned dance academy that has performed all over to the world. They have traveled to New York from Albuquerque, New Mexico to perform traditional Mexican Folk Dance TODAY at 1 pm in Nolan Park!

River to River projects also begin today. One such performance on the Island is Eiko’s Two Women on June 20. Eiko experiments to create and present a duet with Japanese dancer Tomoe Aihara. Two Women is an experimental performance that focuses on age difference and explores how two bodies sometimes mirror each other in parts or collide into one.

The Island is definitely an inspiring place to play and move, and many of these dance events are site-specific. Project LIMB will also be in Colonels Row this July presenting site-specific dance that enlivens our relationship with the world around us. Third Rail Projects is inviting the public to have a window into the creative process of their touring project Roadside Attraction, a mobile dance/theater work. They’ll be dancing on tables outside a 1970’s Coleman pop-up camper in Nolan Park outside Building 17.  Check out one of their open rehearsals today from noon to 5pm!

“More New Yorkers than ever before can now enjoy dance while visiting Governors Island,” said Lane Harwell, Executive Director of Dance NYC. “The Island’s history, culture and spirit provide a wonderful opportunity to interpret and bring their art to entirely new audiences.”

We hope to see you there!

Photo: Zvi Dance, New York Times


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