The Enchanting Views of Governors Island

The birds eye view of Governors Island, though different than it was in 1932, is still extraordinary (photo by A. Frieden)

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.

Visitors relax at Picnic Point and enjoy the views of Lower Manhattan and the Harbor
What is great about the Island is that the views are great on all sides!
 

These visitors took a break to check out the view of the Brooklyn waterfront from the Island's eastern side.

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.

A rendering of the view from the Hills in the Governors Island Park and Public Space Plan

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.

A Walk Around Governors Island

A view of the Harbor from Water Taxi Beach on the Island's north shore (photo by Michael Appleton, from nytimes.com)

Spring is in the air today on Governors Island. The snow has mostly melted, the air is warmer and the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School students are enjoying their outdoor basketball court. You can even more easily imagine the Island with thousands of visitors, bicycles and picnickers.

Earlier this week, The New York Times took a walk around the Island and noticed the first signs of spring. Check out their great slideshow with images of the Island.

Governors Island in 1770

This rare map from 1770 has been restored by the Brooklyn Historical Society. The map is shown before and after restoration (photo from nytimes.com)

Sunday’s New York Times featured a story about a rare map that has been painstakingly restored by the Brooklyn Historical Society. The map is more than 240 years old and is one of only four such maps by Bernard Ratzer that are thought to exist.

You can see that Governors Island (noted on the map as “Governour’s or Nutten Island”) is half the size of what it is today (the Island was expanded at the turn of the 20th century with landfill from digging the Lexington Avenue subway). The bottom of the map also features a beautiful illustration of the southern view of Manhattan, as seen from Governors Island, complete with ships, row boats and British settlers.

Click here to see more of this incredible map.

New York Times: Governors Island Is “A Playground for the Arts with Island Breezes”

Photo by Piotr Redlinski for The New York Times from nytimes.com

 The New York Times’ critic at large Ed Rothstein examines the arts and culture on Governors Island in an article that appeared on the front page of today’s Weekend Arts section. 

 The article looks at the diverse array of projects, programs and performances on the Island and features beautiful photos of Island visitors and programs.

Rothstein notes the broad range of projects and programs here, writing:

 …the island has been shaping a new culture of its own. Its participants include trapeze artists, bicyclists, conceptual artists, D.J.’s, musicians, dancers and dramatists, and its attractions range from views of the New York Harbor to a free miniature-golf course designed by an arts group, where fanciful stations allow players to take metaphorical potshots at a national missile defense shield or putt a ball in support of carbon-neutral footprints.”

Experience all these opportunities and more by getting on the free ferry and coming out to Governors Island this weekend.

Art Center is Open on Governors Island

Art underway outside the art center at Building 110

Every public access season Governors Island becomes an oasis for the arts — with sculpture, performance and diverse cultural experimentation to be experienced across the Island. As of this spring the opening of the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s art center in Building 110 means that Governors Island has resident artists hard at work year round. In the months before public access the artists have been a welcome sight on the quiet Island as they take advantage of the sites, materials and inspiration the Island has to offer in every season. Now, their work and their process can be shared by the public throughout the public access months.

The New York Times highlights the Island art center in a June 1 article entitled, Exotic Isle for Artists, Right in City.

Exhibitions, open studios and performances will be ongoing throughout the season. For more information visit LMCC at  www.lmcc.net.

New York Times Features John Ameroso at Governors Island’s Urban Farm on Picnic Point

John Ameroso at Added Value's Three Acre Farm at Picnic Point (photo from nytimes.com)

 

The front page of the Dining section of today’s New York Times features a profile of the urban farming pioneer John Ameroso, who helped create Governors Island’s three acre sustainable farm. 

The farm, located at Picnic Point, first opened last year.  The farm is run by Added Value. It is a popular attraction on Governors Island, with many visitors stopping to see what is growing there, including kale, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. 

Added Value will be planting additional crops this year. In addition to being able to learn about sustainable urban farming from Added Value volunteers, visitors will be able to purchase the locally grown produce from a farm stand on the Island.  

So next time you are down at Picnic Point, stop by the farm to see a working urban farm right in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.

What’s YOUR Vision for Governors Island?

Artist's rendering of a building for new cafe and vistior amenities on the western edge of Governors Island.

We are so pleased to share the park and public space master plan developed by West 8, and people are starting to weigh in. . . We want to hear from you!
Public input is critical to the future of Governors Island and the new public spaces.  Over the life of the project, there will be many of opportunities for New Yorkers and others to give us their thoughts on the plan, including a new website with space for comments, an interactive exhibit on the Island, public meetings and presentations by the design team that we’ll be sure to announce on the blog. And of course, you can always just contact us. And if  you have taken your own ideas about the future of Governors Island to the next level with drawings and pictures, the New York Times Cityroom Blog is creating a gallery to display them. They’re inviting people to upload images and drawings to their website. We’ll be watching this one closely!
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