For a $2 ferry fare (and for free at certain times during the weekends), you can visit this island in the middle of New York Harbor. 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. For almost two centuries, Governors Island was a military base and now it is a world unto itself, transformed into 30 new acres of park and accessible spaces opened to the public. The island abounds with festivals, exhibits, and tours.
Governors Island is open every day from May 23 – September 27.
- Monday-Friday: 10 AM – 6 PM
- Saturdays and Sundays: 10 AM – 7 PM
Governors Island is open on July 4th but closes at 7 PM. The Island is not open for fireworks viewing.
Free Bike Mornings: May 25-September 25 (Every weekday) Borrow a bike for free for up to one hour from Blazing Saddles on Colonels Row. Free bikes are offered every weekday morning from 10 AM to noon.
What’s Happening on Governors Island: May 23-September 27 (Every day), Building 110 Visit the interactive exhibit in Building 110 to learn more about Governors Island’s new park and public spaces and The Hills as they are under construction. Visitors are invited to use Post It™ notes, markers and stamps to provide their feedback about what’s happening on the Island.
Empire Historic Arts presents: “Lost Amusement Parks of New York City”, May 24–September 27 (Saturdays and Sundays), Building 20B in Nolan Park An installation of ephemera and artifacts from a bygone era of NYC’s amusement parks. www.empirehistoricarts.org
2015 New York Electronic Art Festival presented by Harvestworks, Saturdays and Sundays, May 23-July 20, Buildings 5 A & B in Nolan Park The festival experimental works by local, national and international digital media artists and provides a public forum for the celebration and display of the most current technological art and discussion. www.harvestworks.org
The Dysfunctional Theatre Company presents The Dysfunctional Collective, Saturdays and Sundays, May 23-September 27, Building 8B in Nolan Park, 12 PM –5 PM A former officer’s home is turned into a grab box of art, poetry, dance, theater and song. Each week new works will be offered, usually with a focus on Governors Island or New York City as a whole. Stop by to explore the house and see photos and artwork from local artists. Have your picture snapped, hear a song, see a short play and explore the house with us. For details on the specific programming each week, visit www.dysfunctionaltheatre.org or stop by the house and pick up a program guide for more information.
(Counter)Public: Art, Intervention & Performance in Lower Manhattan from 1978- 1993, LMCC’s Arts Center in Building 110, Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Holiday Mondays, May 23–September 27 The 1980s through the early 1990s represent a time of extremes—socially, politically and artistically. While not attempting to be a survey, (Counter)Public: Art, Intervention & Performance in Lower Manhattan from 1978–1990 presents a snapshot of a time and place where a diverse group of artists were simultaneously making work. The exhibition looks at artists’ varied—but invariably strong—responses to the overall political climate, the HIV/AIDS crisis, civil rights violations, the changing public sphere and the impact of newly pervasive media through public art, intervention and performance specifically in Lower Manhattan.
Earth Matter Compost Learning Center: Saturdays and Sundays, May 23- September 27, 12-4 PM, Fridays by pre-registration, Enter at the Park Oval Earth matter hosts visitor open hours every Saturday and Sunday. The Center’s schedule is: 12 – 1 pm- animals-in the-compost cycle and care for animals. 1- -1:30pm- instructional “how to” compost 2:00-2:30pm “featured” activity focus. 3-4 pm “what to compost”. Come for a tour of our variety of composting methods and devices. Families welcome. www.earthmatter.org
GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden, Saturdays and Sundays, May 23-September 27 Noon to 4, Enter at the Park Oval GrowNYC’s Teaching Garden is an 8,000 sq ft urban farm that aims to engage, excite, and educate the public in all aspects of urban agriculture and green infrastructure through workshops and family appropriate activities. We have 30 vegetable and fruit beds made from recycled plastic lumber, an outdoor kitchen, a high tunnel, NYC’s largest solar cooker, and more!
Children’s Museum of the Arts Free Art Island Outpost Program: May 23- September 27 (Weekends, 11 AM to 3 PM), outside of Building 14, Nolan Park Join CMA’s Teaching Artists for free hands on art-making each weekend. Collaborate with other visitors on a variety of themed art workshops including painting, sound design, sculpture, animation, podcasting, and more!! For more information visit cmany.org .
Better Than Jam Handmade Gift Shop, May 23-September 27, Mondays, Fridays, Weekends, Building 410A in Colonels Row The Brooklyn shop of all locally handmade products will be taking the ferry ride over, and bringing with it the creations of New York City’s most talented designers, artists and crafters. The cute yellow house will be filled with the work of talented people, who have created some amazing and original products, just for the island shop. With the help of the Etsy New York Street Team, the shop will also host family-friendly demonstrations and workshops on Saturdays 2-4, to show and teach visitors some of their skills. For more information visit www.betterthanjamnyc.com/governorsisland
Brooklyn Artery, Saturdays and Sundays, May 23-September 27, Nolan Park, Building 1oB Brooklyn ARTery, has a gift shop featuring one-of-a-kind handmade merchandise and delicious snacks. DIY drop in classes for all ages, Saturdays 2-4pm. ARTery Gallery features a rotating exhibit of professional artists work upstairs and ARTery’s talented Caracaturist Kenly Dillard will be on hand to draw your portrait in front of the shop! For more information, visit www.brooklynartery.net.
Art Kibbutz, Sundays, 11 AM – 5:30 PM, May 26-September 10, Nolan Park, Building 6B Art Kibbutz, international Jewish artist community and residency program will host over 50 visual artists, writers, composers, and performance artists as part of an extraordinary summer of art making, exploration, and networking on Governors Island. Artists will focus on Shmita, the Sabbatical Year fostering a healthier environment and a more equitable and just society. For more information visit http://www.artkibbutz.org.
FIGMENT NYC Summer Long Programs 2015, June 6-September 25 Below are FIGMENT NYC’s programs on the Island for the 2015 season:
- Play on the Miniature golf course: Putt away at the 8th annual, artist-designed minigolf course! This year’s theme, “From Here to There”, captures transportation options from the past, present and future: http://newyork.figmentproject.org/minigolf_course.
- Explore Benjamin Jones’ TreeHouse, now in its 4th year, at the beautiful south end of the Parade Ground: http://newyork.figmentproject.org/treehouse
- Interact with sculpture: The 7th annual Sculpture Program includes a selection of wildly imaginative, interactive sculptures: http://newyork.figmentproject.org/sculpture_program
- See the pavilions: In 2015, FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architects Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY), and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) selected two winning designs in the 5th annual City of Dreams Pavilion Competition: Billion Oyster Pavilion by BanG Studio (NYC), and Organic Growth by Izaskun Chinchilla Architects http://newyork.figmentproject.org/city_of_dreams_pavilion
HERE, Saturdays and Sundays, Pershing Hall, July 21-September 27 Enjoy fresh and adventurous hybrid works in progress by HERE’s resident artists from all disciplines – theater, music, dance, puppetry and media art. And get a first look at two works premiering this fall, Chang(e) and Genet Porno.
A.I.R exhibitions, Saturdays and Sundays in August and September, Building 5B in Nolan Park In August, see new work from A.I.R. fellows in downstairs gallery then head upstairs to see more than 40 small pieces by other A.I.R. artists. This is the final venue of a year-long traveling show that has been shown in Nashville, San Francisco, Princeton and St. Louis. In September, the whole house will be devoted to an exhibition of work by the New York artists. Come by and see the art and take part in a program with UnderwaterNewYork (uwny.org) and their “digital journal of writing, art and music inspired by real-life objects found in the waterways of New York City”. Weekend discussions and programs relating to the harbor, the island and the related art installations are also planned. Bring children to the art table on the porch and enjoy outdoor workshops.
Sculptors Guild presents “Laws of Attraction”: May 23-September 27, Saturdays and Sundays and Holiday Mondays, Noon to 5 PM, Building 15 in Nolan Park The Sculptors Guild presents this exhibition curated by Richard Timperio, Sideshow Gallery. This exhibition represents a broad range of innovative sculptural works responding to the theme of attraction. Free public programs offered throughout the summer. SculptorsGuild.org for up to date event details.
The Holocenter’s Summer Museum: Saturdays and Sundays, May 23 –September 27, Building 19B in Nolan Park Enjoy workshops, talks and tours to explore light, optics and holography. Exhibition and event information can be found at www.holocenter.org/summer-museum
Writing on It All: Saturdays and Sundays in June, Building 8A in Nolan Park, 1 PM– 6 PM In their third year, Writing On It All hosts an exciting array of New York artists and writers, including Paul Ramirez Jonas, Shani Jamila, José Joaquín García, and more, as they lead a diverse public in a collaborative repurposing of a Governors Island house’s interior walls as a writing canvas. After each session, the house will remain open to the public. For more information, visit writingonitall.com
New York Historical Society presents Revolution: NYC & the War for Independence, July 4-Septmeber 27, Building 18 in Nolan Park This exhibition about the American Revolution and New York City is presented in conjunction with the arrival of the exact replica of General Lafayette’s 18th century ship, the Hermione, in New York Harbor.
The Makery’s Island Makeground, Saturdays and Sundays, July 21-September 20, Building 8A in Nolan Park The Makery is a pop up makerspace for inventors of all ages. From 3D modeling & printing to electronics, physical computing, engineering, art, and coding, The Makery offers experiences where communities can gather to play with the creative power of technology. Returning to Governors Island for a second summer, The Makery will be transforming a historic house in Nolan Park into a digital playground with interactive exhibits and experiential events for the public to explore. For more info visit www.nycmakery.com
MoveWorks presents ReArrange: Saturdays and Sundays, August 8-23, House 10A in Nolan Park 2 PM and 4 PM An interactive site-specific dance performance for audiences of all ages. With dance, live music, and out-of-this-world costumes, a cast of kooky characters transform an ordinary house into a whimsical world of curiosities. This performance event is being produced by MoveWorks, a New York City based dance company driven by WILD imagination and lead by co-choreographers, Christian Serrano and Sarah Foster.
Governors Island Art Fair, weekends in September, 11 AM – 6 PM “Gems Among the Ruins”, says NY Times about the painting, photography, sculpture, installation, video and sound at Governors Island Art Fair – NYC’s largest independent exhibition. 4heads, a group of NY artists, awards exhibition space to 100 artists of exceptional talent for the 8th annual GIAF!