To help slow the spread of COVID-19, Governors Island’s 2020 public opening has been delayed. Learn more about our COVID-19 response.

Highlights from the Harbor: Governors Island in 2019


2019 was one of Governors Island’s biggest and best years yet. Since opening to the public nearly 15 years ago, Governors Island has made great strides towards becoming a year-round resource for all New Yorkers. We’re proud to share this year’s achievements and highlights as we work to make Governors Island even better.

Governors Island is open to the public for 6 months each year. Visitors enjoy this jewel in the Harbor spring, summer and fall, staying out for evening dining, stargazing and movies on the Parade Ground during extended summertime late-night hours.

Our new ferry, Governors 1, increased Manhattan weekend service to every 20 minutes, taking the planning out of your journey.

As of this year, 6 million visitors have set sail for Governors Island since we opened to the public, with nearly 1 million setting foot on our shore in 2019.

Governors Island is an affordable, go-to getaway for New Yorkers: 80% of our 2019 visitors came from New York City.

The South Island’s lush parkland beckoned visitors to climb the Hills, relax in Hammock Grove, and enjoy sports of all kinds on the Play Fields.

Over 4,600 free weekday morning bike rentals from Blazing Saddles got people pedaling along the Island’s car-free paths while nearly 1,000 free Saturday kayak sessions with the Downtown Boathouse got them paddling in the Harbor.

Hungry visitors fired up our public grills 617 times for gatherings at Picnic Point and Nolan Park.

A dance performance at the top of Outlook Hill during the Japan Performing Arts Festival.

A diverse array of over 80 events, programs and activities thrilled Governors Island visitors this year, 70 of them completely free.

Visitors explored art exhibitions and cultural celebrations by organizations like Pioneer Works, MoCADA, the American Indian Community House and NADA, and flocked to events presented by Film at Lincoln Center, Japan Performing Arts, and the globe-trotting equestrian jumping league, Longines Global Champions Tour, among many others.

Church by Shantell Martin

Shantell Martin breathed new life into a former chapel, creating a site for reflection and contemplation in Shantell Martin on Governors Island, our 2019 public art commission, which welcomed poetry readings with organizations like the Poetry Society of America.

Visitors engage with the Climate Museum’s exhibition, Taking Action, in Nolan Park.

Free public programs engaged visitors in dialogue surrounding our changing climate, presented by organizations including the Climate Museum, Swale, Billion Oyster Project, GrowNYC, Earth Matter and more.

Governors Island prioritizes composting, with over 75,000 lbs of material diverted from the waste stream from vendors, tenants, events and public bins to Earth Matter’s Compost Learning Center in the Urban Farm, where visitors gained firsthand knowledge and experience on weekends.

Billion Oyster Project volunteers prepare oyster shells for use in new reefs.

Billion Oyster Project has cured over 1 million lbs of oyster shells on the Island for use in new reefs that help restore New York’s oyster population, clean its waterways and promote biodiversity.

Birds continue to thrive on our shore—birders and the avian enthusiasts of NYC Audubon have recorded 206 individual species of birds on Governors Island.

LMCC’s new Arts Center at Governors Island opened this September as the Island’s first year-round tenant dedicated to arts and culture, inviting the public to explore its expansive galleries and join special events. The space will serve 40 resident artists year-round with free studio space.

The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School began its 10th school year on Governors Island this September, engaging more than 500 students with a maritime career and technical curriculum that utilizes the Harbor as a classroom.

Our Horticulture team cares year-round for over 120 acres of open space (that’s over 90 football fields), filling the landscape with strategic plantings that keep the Island’s ecosystems thriving, resilient and biodiverse.

2,300 Friends of Governors Island volunteers donated 11,000 hours of their time this year to keep Governors Island looking its best.

Next year, we’ll continue working to make Governors Island the 365-day-a-year destination that New York deserves it to be. Keep an eye out for announcements about next season and how we’re expanding access even more in 2020.Next year, we’ll continue working to make Governors Island the 365-day-a-year destination that New York deserves it to be. Keep an eye out for announcements about next season and how we’re expanding access even more in 2020.