We’ve been having lots of fun updating you on what is underway and coming up on Governors Island. As a change of pace, we thought we’d have a visit from Island Archives and share a great panorama of the island from 1938. The image is in three parts so stay tuned for further views. Here, you can see the southern end of the historic district with views of Liggett Hall and down onto the fairly empty landfill. Lots of early WWI storage facilities were already torn down while the building boom of the early Coast Guard years was still three decades away. In the foreground you can see a row of barracks and a playground long gone.
Next season on Governors Island visitors will enjoy an array of tasty food choices, but good eating has a long history on the island. During the Coast Guard period, upwards of 5,000 people a day could be found living and/or working on the island. Among them was a group called the “Enlisted Mens Wives Club.” One of their projects was a comprehensive cookbook of favorite recipes from the islands chefs.
The menus are varied and diverse from “Drunk Meatballs” to bagels to “Banana Breeze Pie.” The book also includes some cooking basics and conversion charts for new cooks and charmingly illustrated chapter breaks.
If Cabbage Soup isn’t your thing, perhaps a nice hash?
The cookbook even provides ideas for the weight conscious.
If you see anything that looks good, go ahead, cook it up and let us know what you think!
Updated: New and improved with answers highlighted in red!
Earlier this week, all of the staff on Governors Island got into the spirit of the season with our annual holiday party. As a part of the festivities, we have a quiz on all things Governors Island.
This year, Able Engineering, who handles maintenance here, won in a landslide.
How well do you know the Island? Take the quiz below and find out! (Answers will be posted next week).
1. Which figure in American history is NOT depicted on the WPA murals located in Pershing Hall?
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Benedict Arnold
- Robert E. Lee
- Paul Revere
2. During the Coast Guard era, there was a day care center on the Island. What was the monthly cost for child care during this period?
3. What was the runner-up name for Molly Brown in the naming contest?
- Hello Gritty Kitty
4. Approximately how many cubic yards of land fill were brought to Governors Island at the turn of the 20th century to make up the southern part of the Island?
5. Approximately how many cubic yards of land fill will be brought to Governors Island to complete the park & public space plan?
6. Which feature was removed from the Governors House in the 1930s?
- The widow’s walk
- A dry moat
- The 3rd floor
- Two-story porches
7. Approximately, how many bottles of champagne were consumed at the 2011 Veuve Clicquot Polo Match?
8. What is the official name of the color of the Nolan Park Houses?
- Buttercup yellow
- Sunshine by osmosis yellow
- French yellow
- Saffron yellow
9. The cannons in front of the Commanding Officer’s House were acquired from which war?
- The War of 1812
- The Spanish American War
- World War I
- World War II
10. What color will the MTA Tunnel Vent Shaft be after the Park and Public Space project is complete?
- Orange in honor of the Dutch
- Nautical Red
- Different colors every night like the Empire State Building
11. Which body of water does NOT surround Governors Island?
- Hudson River
- East River
- Buttermilk Channel
- Upper New York Bay
12. How may runs does the Coursen make in the average month? (A run is considered from GI and back)
13. In 1903, how many acres was Governors Island?
14. Which aviator has NOT landed on Governors Island?
- Wilbur Wright
- Glenn Curtis
- Captain “Sully” Sullenberger
- Major Henry H. “Hap” Arnold
If you really think you know the Island, try your hand at the bonus questions below!
One point for each question answered correctly!
- Who was responsible for building the first church on the Island? Dr. John McVickar in 1847
- True or false: Governors Island was once connected to Manhattan? True (tens of thousands of years ago)
- Wouter van Twiller, who originally purchased Governors Island from the Lenape, inspired stories based on his appearance and temper. Which famous American wrote these stories and what were they called? Knickerbocker Tales by Washington Irving
- Which GI building was NOT part of the NY arsenal located on the island until WWI? Building 108
- Who was Nolan Park named after? Major General Dennis Nolan
of “guests” from the past.
In yesterday’s New York Times, there was an item in the Streetscapes column about a room at 70 Pine Street from which you have extraordinary views of Lower Manhattan and New York Harbor. The article remarks on the beauty of Governors Island as seen from the 66th floor of the building and mentions:
A reporter for The New York Evening Post visited in July 1932 and noted that “Governors Island, with its unfulfilled promised of harbor prettiness, seems to ride at anchor almost at one’s feet.”
The view of the Island today is definitely different than it was in 1932 (there was no Picnic Point then and the southern part of the Island would not yet have become home to the non-historic Coast Guard era buildings that are there today); but it seems that even 80 years ago people couldn’t get enough of the great view of the Island.
Not only is the view of the Island remarkable, but so are the views from it. The Island’s perimeter roadway affords incredible views that can be seen whether you are walking or biking. Visitors to the Island can see the Statue of Liberty, Jersey City, Lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges, Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Brooklyn Waterfront and the Verrazzano Bridge, all in one trip around the 2.2 mile loop.
And while visitors today are experiencing these great views, visitors in the future will have even more opportunities to see New York Harbor and the surrounding land in ways they never had before. The Governors Island Park and Public Space Plan includes new hills from which visitors will be able to experience extraordinary, 360 degree panoramic vistas of the Harbor.
In less than two short months, you too can come over to the Island, get on a bike or take a walk and enjoy some of the great views.
Polo matches took place on Governors Island during the 20th century, mainly between World War I and World War II. The game returned to the Island once a season for the past few years with the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic. Last year, more than 10,000 members of the public came out to see Prince Harry and Nacho Figueras play on the South Island Fields, where polo was historically played.
Usually it hurts our feelings when people say Governors Island is creepy or compare us to Shutter Island or Lost, but we’re going with it this week because ’tis the season to be spooky. We thought about retelling Megan Taylor’s self-rocking hobby horse story or the one about the baby ghost that tried to push a former collegue down the the stairs in the Admiral’s House. But if you’re a Coastie, Brat and or National Park Service Ranger, we bet you have even better ones, so we’re encouraging you to drop us a line in the comments section below. We double dare you. . .
Oldies But Goodies
As the 2010 season on Governors Island draws to a close, it is fun to look back at all the events and activities that this summer brought. While on the Island, have you ever paused to wonder how it would have been to spend a day recreating on Governors Island 100 years ago? Despite being a hard working Army headquarters, recreation did occur. Wonder no more, the following illustrates Governors Island’s lengthy history of fun!
Governors Island garden parties then.
Military drills then:
Fanciful costumes then:
Musical interludes then:
For all the exciting change on Governors Island, maybe some things remain the same…..