Perhaps my favorite place in New York is Governor’s Island. I’ve written about the island before. And, every year I make a point to get up earlier at least one Saturday and head to the pier to catch the first ferry (the first ferry to Governor’s Island on the weekends is free).
It’s a big summer for the island. The long awaited Hills, which are supposed to show some of the best views of the City, are opening in mid-July. Their completion brings the Governor’s Island one step closer to completing the redevelopment project that is reintroducing New York residents and visitors to Governor’s Island and repurposing the island into an incredible public open space where history and nature come together cohesively.
Many of my previous visits have stuck to the Southern portion of the island. A stroll along Liggett Terrace, a picnic under the trees, and finally kicking back in the hammock grove. This year I decided to explore a little further. I finally wandered through the island’s oldest monument, star shaped Fort Jay. And I took a walk beside the homes on the Northern part of the island, just as quaint and beautiful as what I normally see along Liggett Terrace.
What I love the most about Governor’s Island is the bizarre experience of watching people picnic and bike and play next to historic, abandoned homes and churches and other buildings. At work we talk a lot about abandoned buildings in the City and blight. Governor’s Island’s been able to uniquely capitalize on both of those things in a way no other place can and likely will ever manage to do. As an island with a unique history, in a City with a high density and limited open space; it provides an escape from New York without actually having to leave New York. But, it’s the very history and uniqueness that draws so many people to the island each summer.