More than 5,000 visitors previewed the new park under construction last weekend (photo of Tim Schenck)
We welcomed hundreds of thousands of visitors in the 2013 season that just concluded on Sunday, and also made tremendous progress on constructing 30 acres of new park. Three hundred and ninety eight thousand visitors, an increase of 15% over last year, enjoyed the Island during the 40 day weekend and holiday Monday season from the end of May through the end of September. Governors Island closed to the public on September 29.
Fete Paradiso, a festival of vintage carousels and carnival rides from Europe was the highlight of the Governors Island 2013 season, joined by more than 60 new and returning programs including FIGMENT’s artist designed miniature golf course, the Jazz Age Lawn Party, Vintage Baseball and exhibits by the New York Historical Society, International Center for Photography and the Museum of the City of New York, and others.
In order to keep pace with an aggressive schedule to update Island infrastructure and create the extraordinary park, the southern half of the Island was closed to visitors during the 2013 season. Visitors to the Island were able to watch progress on construction from the Viewing Platform @ Liggett Arch. Free hard hat tours were offered for the general public and a broad range of organizations.
On the last weekend of the public season, we opened the park construction site to the public. More than 5,000 visitors walked through, enjoying the views of the Statue of Liberty just behind the sports fields under construction and seeing the more than one thousand trees that have already been planted. Signs throughout the site, staff members and additional free tours provided information about the new park spaces, which will open next year.
Next month, we will conclude construction on 30 new acres of park. The Governors Island park and public spaces are designed by West 8, an acclaimed landscape architecture firm. The new park spaces includes Liggett Terrace, a sunny, six acre plaza with seasonal plantings, seating, water features and public art; Hammock Grove, a shady ten acre space that is home to 1,500 new trees, play areas and hammocks; and the Play Lawn, 14 acres for play and relaxation that includes two turf ball fields sized for adult softball and Little League baseball. These spaces will open for public use in May 2014. The Hills, an additional 10 acres of park, are currently under construction and will open to the public in May 2015.
Governors Island will re-open to the public in May 2014.
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