Even Bald Eagles Love Governors Island

This bald eagle was seen enjoying the views of NY Harbor at Picnic Point

Governors Island has been home to lots of creatures, like owls, chickens at the Earth Matter compost area and of course Molly Brown, but we hadn’t before seen a bald eagle here.

We were lucky enough to spot the eagle at Picnic Point.

Taking off from his perch at the end of the Island

Storm King Announces Major Exhibition on Governors Island


Mark di Suvero's "Mahatma" is sited at Picnic Point on the Island (© Edward Marritz).

The Storm King Art Center today announced a major exhibition of Mark di Suvero’s work that will open on Governors Island on May 27.

The exhibition, Mark di Suvero at Governors Island: Presented by Storm King Art Center comprises roughly a dozen works that will be sited around the Island.

The artist and his team are hard at work installing a sculpture at Picnic Point

The exhibit is curated by Storm King Director and Curator David Collens and is the largest outdoor presentation of di Suvero’s sculpture to be shown in New York City since the 1970s. With loans from public and private collections—including a number of sculptures from Storm King’s own celebrated installation of the artist’s work—as well as several new works that have never been on public view, it is a centerpiece of the Island’s 2011 season.

The exhibition is free and is open every day that the Island is open to the public. A full list of the 2011 schedule for the Island will be posted in the next week and opening day is just three weeks from today!

ISLAND ARCHIVES: A Look at Governors Island’s Picturesque Past

Governors Island: Shape shifter
Map of New York Harbor circa 1835. The familiar ice cream cone shape of the island has yet to emerge.

The current and future island have much to offer;  2.2 mile promenade with harbor views, a green for picnicking, lounging and swinging while gazing at the Statue of Liberty, and a dynamic and exciting future park and open space.  However, only one hundred years ago these places were part of the harbor.  The original island comprised only what is now the historic district, north of the Colonels Row green.  The island measured 69.4 acres, half of its current size.

At the end of the 19th century, military commanders were determined to expand Governors Island to accommodate a full regiment. Developments in Manhattan provided a way for this to occur. In the 1880s, New York City’s population boomed, creating the need for improved transportation systems.  The military made arrangements with the City of New York to dump the fill created by the construction of the 4th Avenue subway, New York City’s first, at Governors Island.  Between 1900, when construction of the subway began, and the project’s completion in 1912, the city deposited about 4,787,000 cubic yards of fill on the south side of the island, creating 103 acres of new land. 

The expanded island, about 100 years later.

The initial expansion was created by the construction of a rip-rap bulkhead on each side of the proposed Island extension.  The rip rap wall was an experimental engineering technique, but it was successful and the bulkhead enclosure was filled with the subway excavations and topped with a combination of clay and sand.

Plan showing shape of Island in 1879 superimposed upon Coast Guard era island boundaries and layout.

The increase in the Island’s size took place in the midst of a contentious battle between the City of New York and the federal government for the use of the Island. While plans to expand the military establishment on island proceeded, city officials dreamed of using the island in a host of different ways from an air strip to an immigrant processing center (a role eventually assigned to Ellis Island) and a city park. However, the military persevered and the new expanse of island was used for military staging and to house regiments.

Don’t Worry. Bee Happy.

Italian Bees come to Governors Island


The Added Value Farm on Governors Island now has 45,000 new workers (in bee-speak, that is both “workers” and “drones” and the all-important queen bees.)  In three hives, the honey bees will likely triple in number by Summer’s end.  Their job will be to pollinate the flowering plants of the farm, and the Island, increasing the crop yield by up to 60%.

Bee Domiciles at Added Value Farm

Keeping honey bees in New York City was made legal earlier this year, marking an important step in increasing the numbers of these important “farmers.”  There are over 200 species of bees in the NY area, though bee numbers have been dropping nationwide. Our new Italian Bees will likely remain on the Island as their pollination range is fairly small.  The bees will produce honey which will be on sale at the Added Value Farm stand later in the summer. And they will winter on the Island, ready to get back to work next year.

The bees’ keeper, Cerise Mayo, will come to the Island to feed the bees a yummy sugary mix for a little bit while they get themselves settled in. Soon, though, they’ll do their own work and make their own meals of the delightful flowers and trees of the Island.

Cerise Mayo, Beekeeper, helping the new Island tenants move in.

Honey bees are very docile so our new residents should not cause any concern to visitors.

When Nature Calls

All public access season, June to October, we hope you consider Governors Island a home away from home. It has all the comforts of your very own backyard from Adirondack chairs to hammocks to grassy knolls for spreading your picnic to a myriad of front porches you can perch upon. We really do offer all the comforts of home… the north and south of the Island now boast the newest, brightest, shiniest bathroom facilities to be found between the East River and Buttermilk Channel.

Check out the shine on these ….

If you find yourself at one of the many points of interest between the Water Taxi Beach and the vista-rich Picnic Point, don’t despair we still provide plenty of the most picturesque potties around.

In all, almost 100 places for you to stop off to “answer the call” and get swiftly back to the arts, entertainment, food and leisure of Governors Island. (All interior facilities and many exterior are also ADA accessible)


Fleet Week Begins!

The Parade of Ships from Governors Island's western promenade


Many of Governors Island’s visitors comment on the breathtaking views from Governors Island. When you walk or bike around the 2.2 mile promenade, you see the skylines of Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn, the Verrazano Bridge, Upper New York Bay and of course, the Statue of Liberty. 

Fleet Week begins today with the Parade of Ships and it truly is a beautiful sight from Governors Island. More than a dozen Navy and Coast Guard ships have sailed into New York Harbor and up the Hudson. Each year, Fleet Week is a sure sign that summer is on its way, as is Governors Island’s public access season

A Fleet Week ship sails into New York Harbor


On June 5, when the Island opens to the public, the ships may be gone, but the incredible views will be here. You can come out to Picnic Point, lounge in a hammock and enjoy swinging on a swing set, right in view of the Statue of Liberty. We can’t wait to see you.

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.


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