Some of New York's best experiences are simply happy accidents of history. The Lower East Side Tenement Museum arose from a building unused for decades. The Highline resulted from the city's slow removed of elevated railroad tracks. And an entire island in the middle of New York Harbor avoided hundreds of years of commercial development as a property of United States Military. When the Federal Government moved out, New York City took over and has been in the process of developing Governors Island into a remarkable destination and bucolic escape for residents and visitors.

The greening of Governors Island is an extraordinary contribution to the greening of the city, and I can just imagine the excitement when visitors to The Hills find themselves discovering never-before-seen vistas of the Statue of Liberty and the New York City skyline.
- Wendy Schmidt

What You Will See

It is increasingly difficult to summarize what can be seen and done on Governors Island. When it first opened to public visits there was little more to do than marvel at the quiet, open space, the quaint row of officer's homes and a pair of historic fortresses. Each season added more events, more experiences and more ways to enjoy a summer day on the island. Ride a bike, visit an art gallery, explore a fort, lay in a hammock, ride a bike, watch a polo match, kayak the harbor, or ride a giant slide. And watch for what is next.

Why You Should Go

Only a small part of the island is under the management and protection of the National Parks Service, but the distinction is arbitrary and the whole island is an attraction. Indeed, with the free ferry providing a cool breeze and billion dollar views of the harbor, the entire experience is memorable. Watch the calendar to time your visit with a Revolutionary War reenactment, a Jazz Age Party, a classic car festival, or conversely on a weekend free of events to enjoy the quiet of the island and the stillness of the forts.