- Type: Landmarks
NileGuide Expert Says:
Governors Island is home to the city's newest Water Taxi Beach, complete with 20,000 square feet of sand (300 tons), concessions and a live music venue. When there are concerts, the NY Water Taxi runs free rides to and from Governors Island after 7 pm, when the ferry stops running.
NileGuide Expert tip:
Visitors to Governors Island are welcome to bring their own bikes to use on the island. On "Free Bike Fridays," visitors can borrow a bike for free, for up to one hour. On Saturdays and Sundays, adult bikes rent for $15 for two hours. Governors Island is closed Mondays, including Labor Day.
- Governors Island, located in the harbor south of Manhattan, is a former military post that played a vital role in the Revolutionary War as well as virtually every other major U.S. military engagement, from the War of 1812 through World War II. In the 1960s, control of the island went to the Coast Guard, and at one time it served as a residential area for some 3,500 of that organization's members. Governor's Island played host to history several times during the last few decades, including a U.S.-U.S.S.R. summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988 and U.N.-sponsored talks about restoring democratic rule in Haiti in 1993.
In 1995, the Coast Guard closed its facilities on Governor's Island, and in 2001 President Bill Clinton designated 22 acres of the Island, including the two great forts, as the Governors Island National Monument. In 2002, President George W. Bush, NY Governor George Pataki, and NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg announced that the federal government would sell Governors Island to the people of New York for a nominal cost, and that the Island would be used for public benefit.
After a major refurbishment, Governors Island is now open to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 30 through October 11 (2009 season). In addition to the Historic Landmark District, which includes the Governors Island National Monument (Fort Jay and Castle Williams), the island offers five miles of car-free biking and acres of green space for picnics, art exhibitions, performances and other events.
Free ferries to Governors Island run from Manhattan on Friday through Sunday (leaving from the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street, adjacent to the Staten Island Ferry) and from Brooklyn on Saturday and Sunday ONLY (leaving from Fulton Ferry Landing, just south of the base of the Brooklyn Bridge, at the end of Old Fulton Street).
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