Governors Island, a 172 acre island in the heart of New York Harbor, is only 800 yards from Lower Manhattan, and even closer to Brooklyn. It is a world unto itself, unique and full of promise.
For almost two centuries, Governors Island was a military base - home to the US Army and later the Coast Guard, and closed to the public. In 2003 the federal government sold 150 acres of Island to the people of New York, with the Island's governance and funding jointly shared by the City of New York and State of New York. The remaining 22 acres of the Island was declared the Governors Island National Monument that is overseen by the National Park Service.
The City of New York is now responsible for Governors Island and created the Trust for Governors Island, the organization charged with the operations, planning and redevelopment of 150 acres of the Island.
The Trust is transforming Governors Island into a destination with great public open space, as well as educational, not-for-profit, and commercial facilities. Construction has been completed on 30 new acres of park and public spaces that will open for public use in May 2014. In summer of 2013, Mayor Bloomberg broke ground on the Hills, the crowning feature of the new park. Made of recycled construction and fill materials, The Hills will rise 25 to 80 feet above the Island, and the summit of the tallest Hill will provide visitors with a 360-degree panorama of the Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor and the Lower Manhattan skyline.
In addition to the completion of the new park spaces and construction of the Hills, The Trust is proceeding with an ambitious infrastructure program to ready the Island for expanded tenancy and activity. The Trust has also identified RFP finalists for tenancy in the Island's historic buildings, which will help achieve the goal of making Governors Island an extraordinary public resource with a vibrant mix of uses and activities.
The Future of Governors Island is NOW!
The Trust for Governors Island is working to make the Island a destination with great public open space, as well as educational, not for profit and commercial facilities.
The Bloomberg Administration is investing more than $260 million to build an extraordinary new park and public spaces and to bring the Island's infrastructure into the 21st century.
Mayor Bloomberg planted the final tree to complete the new 30 acre park, which will open for public use in May 2014. Areas of the new park are:
- Liggett Terrace: a sunny, six acre plaza that features moveable seating, public art, water features and seasonal plantings
- Hammock Grove: 10 acres with 1,500 new trees and hammocks
- Play Lawn: 14 acres including lawn and two natural turf ball fields for play
The Hills, the culminating feature of the new park and public spaces, are also now under construction. Drawing from the precedent of Frederick Law Olmsted’s creation of manmade topography in Central Park, the Hills pay homage to the lush, hilly landscapes of pre-colonial Manhattan, and fortify the Island’s resiliency in the face of rising sea levels. There are four Hills. Grassy Hill will provide a 25 foot high gentle slope overlooking the Island’s new and historic landscapes and the Manhattan skyline. Slide Hill (40 feet high), will host 4 slides for children and families nestled in shady trees. The 40 foot high Discovery Hill will be the setting for the convergence of nature and art with site-specific art along its pathways. Outlook Hill, rising 80 feet above the Island, will be New York City’s newest destination as visitors access its winding path to enjoy breathtaking views of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor. The Hills are already rising and open to the public in 2015.
View images of the new park and see the full Park and Public Space Plan at www.govislandpark.com.