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Photograph: Caroline Voagen Nelson

What's new at Governors Island in 2014

Expect expanded hours, acres of new parks and a full calendar of open-air summer fun

By Lucy Cohen Blatter

Big changes are in store for Governors Island, NYC’s military base turned summer fun spot, which is just about to open for the season. For starters, the island will be accessible seven days a week. Catch a daily ferry from the Battery Maritime Terminal, as well as from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 on weekends and holidays. One change you might not like: The formerly gratis cruise will set you back 2 bucks, round-trip, though if you can shrug off your weekend hangover, the ride is free before noon on Saturdays and Sundays (children under 12 are always free). There’s no surcharge for bringing a bike, and riding a two-wheeler is one of the best ways to see the 172-acre harbor oasis.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Governors Island

Photograph: Filip Wolak


There are festivals, barbecues and events of all kinds held all summer, but the weekend-long Jazz Age Lawn Parties are can’t-miss affairs (June 14, 15; Aug 16, 17). New Yorkers do their best Jay Gatsby impressions, while dancing and lounging to the sounds of Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra.

Photograph: Timothy Schenck

Green and red and relaxing all over

Perhaps the most exciting additions to the 30 new acres
of parks are Hammock Grove, a space with 50 red lounge-ready slings; the Play Lawn, home to two natural-turf ball fields; and the art-filled Liggett Terrace. Look for more pastures, including the Hills area’s rolling slopes, in 2015.


Music and workshops and games

Pack a picnic to prep for the monthly Rite of Summer
alt-classical music series (with acoustic-electronica
trio Dawn of Midi on May 31) and FIGMENT, a participatory
arts event that features performances, music, workshops, games and more (June 7, 8).

Photograph: Timothy Schenck

Get artsy

Mark Handforth’s “Sidewalk Island” collection includes a giant twisted coat hanger and a 30-foot-tall branchless bronze tree with a phone hanging off of it. Susan Philipsz’s large-scale sound installation Day Is Done will play every day at 6pm (your cue to leave).


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