Governors Island is open every Saturday, Sunday and Holiday Monday (Memorial Day and Labor Day) through September 29.

Island is open from 10 AM to 7 PM.

A full schedule of 2013 events and programs is below:

All Season Events and Exhibits

Better Than Jam: Handmade Gifts Shop, 11am to 6pm, Nolan Park, Building 16
For its 3rd year, the Brooklyn boutique of all locally handmade products, brings the creations of New York City’s most talented artists and crafters. BTJ moves back into one of the beautiful and historic houses of Nolan Park and the cute yellow Victorian home is filled with the work of talented people, who have created some amazing and original products just for the island shop. Visitors get to take home a tangible memento from their Governors Island visit—a souvenir that was designed and crafted nearby with the island in mind. FREE family-friendly demonstrations and workshops on Saturdays 1pm to 4pm, will be hosted by the Etsy New York Team, to teach visitors some of their skills, used in creating these unique products.

Bike Governors Island, All Day, Colonels Row and Yankee Pier Landing
Experience miles of car-free biking. Visitors can bring their own bikes or rent one from Bike and Roll. Bike and Roll has bikes for all sizes and abilities, including kids’ bikes, kids’ trailers and four-seater quadcycles. (212) 260-0400

Brooklyn ARTery: Handmade Gifts and Classes, All Day, Nolan Park, Building H
Brooklyn ARTery offers a well curated mix of one-of-a-kind, affordable handmade goods from handbags, t-shirts and jewelry to reclaimed merchandise, home decor, artisanale foods, health and beauty products and more!
The ARTery studio welcomes families and friends of all ages to take a free class on Saturdays between 2-4 taught by our roster of talented and engaging artists. Classes include: knitting, cooking, book-binding, terrarium building, kite-making, sewing, jewelry making and arts and crafts for kids and adults and more.

Stop by for their weekend tastings of locally made and delicious artisanale foods and drinks.  Their mission is to inspire people to buy handmade goods, bring back a do-it-yourself culture and be the prime outlet for local and fair trade artisans to sell their work and teach their craft.

Children’s Museum of the Arts Free Art Island Outpost Program, 11am to 3pm, Nolan Park
Join CMA‘s Teaching Artists for free hands on art-making each weekend. Collaborate with other visitors on a variety of themed art workshops including painting, sound design, sculpture, animation, podcasting, and more!!

Earth Matter’s Compost at the Outpost, 12pm to 4pm, South Battery
Stop by the new location at South Battery in the historic district for a fun and FREE hands-on eco-experience! Meet our composting buddies: the goats, chickens and worms that help us recycle food scraps into “black gold.” (They love picnic leftovers!)

Empire Historic Arts presents Shipwrecked! A History of Maritime Disasters in NYC Harbor, All Day, Nolan Park, Building 20B 
“Shipwrecked!” provides thousands of visitors to Governors Island an inside look at local maritime mayhem. Using artifacts pulled up from the depths of New York City’s harbors, and related sea and sailor materials, we create a story that will illuminate both the history of the island and the surrounding areas. The exhibit includes artifacts from public and private collections up and down the Hudson, many never before seen by the public.

Fête Paradiso: A Festival of Vintage Carousels and Carnival Rides, All Season (Stating July 13), All Day, Nolan Park
Fête Paradiso, the world’s first festival of vintage French carnival rides and carousels, makes its American debut on Governors Island. The rare, museum-quality collection, which includes a diverse array of attractions from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, such as carousels, flying swings and a pipe organ, will be available for the public to ride and enjoy every weekend. Admission to the Festival is free; rides and games cost $3 each.

FIGMENT 2013 Summer-Long Installations, All Day, Parade Ground
This summer, FIGMENT‘s acclaimed interactive Sculpture Garden, artist-designed Minigolf Course and City of Dreams Pavilion welcome visitors to the Parade Grounds to play with, dance around, contemplate on, and experience these wonderfully imaginative installations. One centerpiece of FIGMENT’s summer-long installations for 2013 is the Treehouse, expanded and returning to Governors Island for a third year.

2013 also heralds the return of the City of Dreams Pavilion: FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architect Committee(ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY), and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) proudly present Studio Klimoski Chang Architects’ Head in the Clouds as the winner of the third annual City of Dreams Pavilion Competition. Head in the Clouds will offer visitors the chance to walk into the clouds, experiencing them from the inside out.

This year’s Minigolf Course is based on the theme “State of the Art.” The artist-designed golf holes invite visitors to putt newer! faster! better!, and feel the spirit of visionaries past into the present with innovative ideas and breathless concepts of “the future.”

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center at Governors Island, 11am-5pm, Building 110
LMCC and its artists-in-residence welcome audience to Building 110’s Gallery and their studios. Discover new artists, engage in the artistic process and simply enjoy the art in this stunning setting this summer. LMCC is also the lead presenter of the River to River Festival, a four- week, multidisciplinary arts festival throughout Lower Manhattan.

Mü-Math: The Mobile Unit to Promote Mathematical Thinking, 11am to 5pm, Nolan Park, Building 20A  
Mü-Math returns for its second summer on Governors Island with a baker’s dozen of “hands on, minds on” brain stumpers designed to engage children from 8 to 80. Jump some taxi cabs, split up some apartments, or figure out the missing number on a subway car, you’ll be entertained and maybe even educated along the way.

Rising Tide presented by the Sculptors Guild, 11 am to 5 pm, Nolan Park, Building 19
Almost nine months after Hurricane Sandy, artists across the region are still putting the pieces of their lives back together, getting into their (in some cases, devastated) studios, and creating new work. This show will acknowledge rising tides of all stripes (political, social, psychological) in the hope of drawing attention to the new forms that result — to the bright and shiny treasures that have now washed ashore.

Multiple Weekends

Terreform ONE: Governors Hook Urbaneering Exhibit, All Day, Building 110
Stop by building 110 right here on the island to check out LMCC’s art center exhibit. You’ll be amazed as the exhibit portrays future innovative architecture, urban design and landscapes.

4 Chambers Performances, Weekends of July 6-July 21, 11:30 AM, 1 PM, 2:30 PM, 4 PM, 5:30 PM, Building 15
4Chambers is a sensorial journey into the human heart. Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects transform Officers’ House #15 in (Nolan Park) into an intimate performance space with corridors that function as arteries and veins leading to four discrete chambers. Guided by six cast members, an audience of 12 moves through the space, monitoring their own hearts throughout. Reservations begin June 3rd, contact: for more information.

WWII & NYC: Photography and Propaganda, July 6 – September 2, 10am to 6:30pm, Nolan Park, Building 18
This exhibition, presented by the New York Historical Society, paints a vivid picture of life in war-mobilized New York, when virtually every industry, institution and home was transformed into a venture to support Allied victory. Through moving black-and-white photos, iconic propaganda posters and an authentic Victory Garden, experience what total war meant for New Yorkers. Hands-on activities for all ages will be offered beginning July 13th.

LMCC’s Open Studios: Visual and Performing Artists, May 25-26, July 13-14, September 28-29, 12pm to 5pm, Building 110
LMCC’s Open Studios make accessible what is often viewed as the mysterious or secretive process of art-making and offer visitors the unique opportunity to tour artists’ studios, watch rehearsals, attend readings, and speak with artists-in-residence about their work and practice. For more information visit Open Studios.

Rite of Summer presents Bang on a Can All Stars, Saturday July 13, 1pm and 3pm, Colonels Row

Formed in 1992, the Bang on a Can All-Stars are recognized worldwide for their ultra-dynamic live performances and recordings of today’s most innovative music. Freely crossing the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world and experimental music, this six-member amplified ensemble has consistently forged a distinct category-defying identity, taking music into uncharted territories. Performing each year throughout the U.S. and internationally, the All-Stars have shattered the definition of what concert music is today. Visit Bang on a Can

See the Park in Progress with a Behind the Scenes Hard Hat Tour
Join The Trust for Governors Island or members of the West 8 design team for a sneak peak of the construction of the 30 acres of new park and public spaces at the center of the Island. This tour takes visitors through the park construction site.  Space on the tours is limited and is available on a first-come, first served basis. Tours begin and end at Liggett Arch. Hardhats and vests will be provided and closed-toe footwear is required. Children over the age of 7 are welcome on tours.

Dates of tours are as follows:  
Saturday, July 27, 2013 (11:30am – 12:15pm)
Sunday, July 28, 2013 (3:00 – 3:45pm)
Saturday, August 24, 2013 (11:30am – 12:15pm)
Sunday, August 25, 2013 (3:00 – 3:45pm)
Saturday, September 28, 2013 (11:30am – 12:15pm)
Sunday, September 29, 2013 (3:00 – 3:45pm

Vintage Baseball, Saturday: July 27, August 24, August 31, 10am to 7pm, Parade Grounds                                                                                          

See baseball played as it was at the turn of the last century! Visit the Parade Ground and enjoy America’s pastime the way it used to be played! 

The Skate Truck NYC, July 13, 14, 27 and 28, August 11, 24, 25 and 31, and September 1 and 2, All Day, Bouy Parking Lot
The Skate Truck NYC provides roller-skating equipment, helmets and safety equipment to skaters of any age. Skate for fun. Skate for health. Skate for life!

Jazz Age Lawn Party: August 17-18, All Day, Colonels Row
Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra invite you to the beloved Jazz Age Lawn Party — a dream of the 1920s nestled right in the heart of New York Harbor!  Now in its eighth year, the event has become the quintessential outdoor celebration of the Jazz Age and its living legacy.  Under a canopy of century-old trees, caressed by fresh sea air, a delightful array of offerings abound throughout the day including: live music and dance performances, dance instruction for the hottest dance steps of the time, games for all ages and a wide variety of 1920’s inspired refreshments and gourmet food for purchase.  Advance General Admission tickets can be purchased online and if space is available, tickets will be sold at the door.

Pop Up Library presented by Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Library, All Season, 12pm to 6pm, Green next to Building 114
Brooklyn, New York and Queens Public Libraries parter with the Uni Project, New York City’s portable outdoor reading room, to provide books, learning activities, and children’s programs throughout the summer. Visitors will be able to borrow books “in house”, register for library cards, sign up for summer reading, learn more about the Uni, and learn about what’s happening in each of the three New York City public library systems.

Bike New York Classes, Sunday, July 28, Saturday, September 7, 11am, Bouy Parking Lot
Learn how to ride a bike for the first time or brush up on your basic biking skills with free Bike New York classes on Governors Island.  Visit online for details and free pre-registration.

4 Heads Art Fair, Weekends in September, All Day, Building 111
The 4 Heads take over dozens of rooms in an historic building on Governors Island.

ArtShare for HeartShare, Weekends in September, 11:30am to 5:30pm, Building 15
This exhibition showcases the talents and creative abilities of artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and neurological impairment. In addition to raising awareness of the capabilities of the people with disabilities, our artists continually progress in their art, expressing themselves in beautiful and meaningful ways.

The ArtShare for HeartShare program is available to artists in HeartShare Human Services of New York’s developmental disabilities program. Participants in the program are supported in their creative endeavors by volunteer artists in residence and a dedicated committee throughout the year.  The program provides professional quality arts materials and culminates in an annual exhibition at the New Century Artists gallery, in Chelsea gallery district of Manhattan.  The annual exhibition will be celebrating its 5th year of exhibiting in 2013. This is the second year that ArtShare for HeartShare will be exhibiting on Governors Island.

Island Special Events and Programs

Come Out & Play Field Day and Family Day as part of the River To River Festival, Saturday July 13, 11am to 5pm, Parade Grounds
City-sized fun for kids and adults, Field Day and Family Day events turn Governors Island into a giant playground for all. New games, new experiences, and new takes on old favorites, Field Day and Family Day give participants the opportunity to rediscover each other and the city they call home through joyful interactive play.

Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance presents The City of Water Day Festival, Saturday July 20, 10am to 4pm, Colonels Row, Yankee Pier, Pier 101
A day of entertainment, education and adventure celebrating our waterfront and its potential. Enjoy free boat tours, children’s activities, fishing, the Waterfront Activity Fair, and more!

New York City Poetry Festival, Saturday and Sunday, July 27 and 28, 11am to 5pm, Colonels Row
The Poetry Society of New York will once again invite New Yorkers to come together for this two day festival to celebrate NYC’s vibrant poetry community. The event will include over 50 poetry organizations and 200 poets on its three stages; a Vendor’s Village where local booksellers, artists and craftmakers will sell their wares; a beer garden sponsored by Brooklyn Brewery; healthy and delicious food options; poetic installation art throughout, and, of course, the Children’s Festival at NYCPF, this year sponsored by Writopia!

New York Hall of Science presents Designing for Flight with NYSCI, Sunday July 28, 12pm to 4pm, Parade Grounds
As part of the programming for the summer exhibit, Design Zone, NYSCI will be going out to Governor’s Island to run Designing for Flight, a fun, design-focused day–exposing some of the design and science involved in common and exciting forms of flight. This science outreach event invites the public to bring their own kites (BYOK) to fly, enjoy demos by NYSCI Explainers, and experiment with making flying machines.

African Film Festival, Sunday August 4, All Day, Colonels Row 

Join AFF (African Film Festival, Inc) for an up close and personal introduction to the culture of the African continent. Through activities for visitors of all ages such as free films, African dance classes, storytelling and African cuisine, participators will be able to experience a rich and vibrant culture right here on the island.

Rite of Summer presents an Homage to Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring: Ljova and the Kontraband and Fireworks Ensemble, Saturday August 10, 1pm and 3pm, Colonels Row
LJOVA AND THE KONTRABAND is chamber-jam music for the “remix generation”. As if by alchemy, Eastern-European and Gypsy melodies, Latin rhythms, Jazz-inspired improvisations, and deeply rooted Classical forms are given new meanings in original compositions that fearlessly forge a new direction, with a nostalgic gaze towards the past.

RECESS Bocce, Saturday August 24, 12pm to 5pm, Colonels Row
Itchy for bocce anyone? Join RECESS for a day of outdoor fun in the sun as 32 creative organizations put their lawn skills to the test, rolling and knocking off each other’s bocce balls on the makeshift grass courts on Colonel’s Row. Festivities include free bike rides, food vendors, a beer/wine tent and guest deejays. Plus a few public courts.

The NYC Volkswagen Traffic Jam, Sunday August 25, 10am, Colonels Row
The Traffic Jam is a spectator-judged vintage Volkswagen car show and picnic. With great views behind a vibrant line-up of nearly 100 Beetles, buses, dune buggies, Things, and other original VW’s circa 1950’s – 1970’s, this car show is a one-of-a-kind event for both the casual spectator and classic VW enthusiast. Because show cars ride a ferry to get to the event, registration is mandatory to secure a spot at the show. Registration opens June 30th. Registration will be first-come, first-served. Car Registration $20.00 and spectators attend for free.

NYC Unicycle Festival, Saturday and Sunday, August 31 and September 1, 12pm to 5pm, South Battery Parking Lot
The 2013 NYC Unicycle Festival rolls onto Governors Island on Labor Day weekend. Activities include races, competitions, exhibitions, a variety of unicycle sports including unicycle basketball and hockey, world-famous riders will display their skills, and members of the public have the opportunity to try one—wheel riding.

Rite of Summer presents Rite a Thon, Sunday September 1, 12pm to 5pm, Colonels Row
Performances by Pam Goldberg and Blair McMillen in Colonels Row.

National Park Service Programs

Army Heritage Day, Saturday June 22, All Day, NPS Property

Re-enanctors and small displays bring back a sense of Governors Island 200 year long history as an Army Post.

Civil War Heritage Weekend, Saturday and Sunday August, 10am to 11am, NPS Property

With the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the New York Draft Riots, living historians offer a glimpse of Civil War life as a solider with camp, musket and cannon firing demonstrations.

Hiking Through History: Governors Island’s Historic District, Wednesdays and Thursdays All Season, 10am to 11:30pm and 12:15pm to 1:45pm
Join the National Park Service for a hike through the National Historic Landmark District on Governors Island. Park rangers will guide you on a 1.5-mile, 1.5-hour tour through over 200 years of history in one of New York’s most historic and beautiful places. Tours begin with the arrival of 10am and 2:15pm Manhattan ferry.

Get Fortified: Exploring Castle Williams and Fort Jay, Wednesdays and Thursdays All Season, 12:15pm
Learn about the rich histories of Fort Jay and Castle Williams, two of the best-preserved forts of their era, on this 1.5-hour walking tour. Explore the depths of the powder magazine and the cells of Castle Williams and climb to the castle’s roof and take in a grand panoramic view of New York Harbor. Tours begin with the arrival of the 12:15pm Manhattan ferry.

Programs for Youth: Bring Them Back Alive! Fridays All Season, 10am to 12pm, Soissons Landing
Discover what life was like on Governors Island and in New York City. Learn to drill like a Civil War soldier and hear stories of the women and girls of the time. Please call (646) 241-2670 or email to make a reservation. The program begins with the arrival of the 10am Manhattan ferry, with return on the noon ferry.

Ranger’s Choice Programs: Spin the Bottle on History, Fridays All Season, 12:15 pm, Battery Maritime Building
Join a National Park Ranger and take 90 minutes to learn about a fascinating—and unexpected—aspect of Governors Island history. Reservations are required; visit or call for each week’s program.

33 Responses

  1. Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that
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  2. Has there been an announcement as to when the Park will be open for the 2013 season?

    • Governors Island opens to the public on Saturday, May 25 and will be open Saturdays, Sundays and Holiday Mondays (including Memorial Day), through September 29th.

  3. Will there be free kayaking again in 2012 season? I cannot find kayak info on this web site…

  4. Are you allowed to bring your own beer to picnic on the lawn? Is that allowed? I know beer is served during special events like Pigs Island and Oktoberfest, but are you allowed to bring your own on a weekend when it’s not being served?

    Additionally, I went to Oktoberfest 2010 and had SUCH a blast! I can’t find that same event listed anywhere for this year. Is it not happening?

    Thanks for the info!

    • Alcohol cannot be brought to Governors Island. Alcohol can be purchased at Water Taxi Beach but must be consumed at the beach. It cannot be consumed elsewhere on the Island unless it is a part of a permitted event for which the event producer has a pouring license.

  5. is Govenor’s Island open on Monday Sept 5Th? Labor Day

  6. […] August 13th from 10:00am – 4:00pm NYC Volkswagen Traffic Jam A hundred vintage Volkswagens will be bumper-to-bumper at picturesque Picnic Point on Governors […]

  7. Is there free kayaking available for the 2011 season

  8. I didn’t see this event on your listings…is it really happening?

    August 26 – 28

    Dave Matthews Band Caravan
    Governors Island, NYC

  9. I just heard your story about the cat that was found and needs a name. My choice would be Anjelica.
    Good luck.

  10. How late in the season will the kayak dock remain in place and available to the public?

  11. Hi there,

    I write you from Spain. I will be in New York spending my summer holidays betwen 3rd till 11th September. I love the Jazz Age Lawn Party in Gobernors Island you organize in summer time, I´d like to know if would be possible to enjoy this party during my holydays in New York in September, it would be an enormous pleasure for me.

    Best regards.
    Amor González

    • Amor,

      The Jazz Age party is actually taking place earlier in the season (June and August) but there are many other wonderful activities and programs planned for the time when you will be visiting New York. There will be many art exhibitions, plus outdoor events like RECESS and the Unicycle Festival. And, there is always Bike and Roll’s Free Bike Fridays, when you can borrow a bike for free for up to one hour (you can also rent them on Saturdays and Sundays). I hope you will have a chance to visit Governors Island while you are in New York City.

  12. Nice post, intresting read. Keep posting and I’ll come back for some more reading! Thanks!

  13. Hello,

    Do they have car show on Governor’s Island?

    Thanks, Chris

    • We have a wide variety of programs and activities on Governors Island during our public access season. We are currently speaking to many different programming partners about a range of programs on Governors Island for this summer, including recreational programs, cultural programs, exhibitions and performances. In the past, we have had antique car shows as a part of the Jazz Age Lawn party, and there are certainly opportunities to do something similar in the future. Our full summer schedule will be announced in May and feel free to check back here for updates of all we have planned.

  14. Hello,
    I was lucky enough to attend During the Dutch festival on the island called “New Island Festival” back in September. It was a great show. There was two films being shown in one dark room seperated by a wall. One film was about a rocket that blew up on the launch pad. The second film was a piano playing in the middle of a pond- a plane ad flyby “never enough” and then finishing with a choir on a bardge. I was wondering if you could help me track down the name of that second film or better yet- what the name of that choir song was! Thanks

    • Ken,
      Thank you for your comment. I am glad you had such a nice time while visiting Governors Island. The piece you are referring to was a part of Creative Time’s PLOT 09: This World and Nearer Ones. The film was called “Number Four” and it was by an artist named Guide van der Werve. The choral piece featured at the end of the piece is Mozart’s “Requiem.”

  15. Will there be open picnic areas for a crowd of 12 people on the Statue of Liberty side on Saturday the 19th during the New Island festival?

    • Brian, yes there will certainly be areas open to the public on Saturday that have great views of the Statue of Liberty. Try Picnic Point!

  16. Is there a free kayaking program available on the island and if so, what are the times?

    • The Downtown Boathouse offered free kayaking on the Island over the summer, but there are no upcoming kayak opportunities in September. Governors Island does however allow kayakers to land on the Island after departing from other Harbor locations. We will update our website and blog if additional sessions are scheduled.

  17. If the Island is open to the public only on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, how are there tours on Wednesday and Thursday?

    • The Island is only open for public access on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Public access includes bike riding, picnicking, lounging in the hammocks, checking out the art exhibits, and exploring the Island on your own. On Wednesdays and Thursdays the National Park Service gives free guided tours of Governors Island at 10:00 and 1:15. Groups meet in the Battery Maritime Building in Manhattan just before the ferries leave and take a tour that lasts between one and two hours. While you will be shown the entire historic district and will be able to learn about this history, visitors won’t be able to do the other things I mentioned above when we are open for public access.

  18. question: will there be a tin type photographer where one could have their picture made? and will the music be traditional civil war era blue grass?

    • Unfortunately there will not be a tin type photographer. As for the music, there will be the Governors Island School of Practice, which will play traditional music that would have been on Governors Island during the Civil War. For more information go to the National Park Service website for more information about Civil War Weekend. The schedule of events will be posted on that page soon.

  19. I am president of a hiking club. I would very much like to receive any news about Governors Island.

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