NYC Story Idea: Governors Island Is Officially Open

New York City’s summer getaway, Governors Island, opened to the public yesterday for its 2017 season. Just a short seven-minute ferry ride from Lower Manhattan, this is the first time the 172-acre island in New York Harbor has opened prior to Memorial Day Weekend, granting New Yorkers and visitors an additional month of outdoor enjoyment. The season opening will be celebrated this Friday, May 5, with a unique opportunity to enjoy live music, food, drinks and more until 9PM, well past the island’s typical weekend closing time of 7PM.

With highlights including the first full season of the Hills, featuring four man-made grassy slopes, Island Oyster, a pop-up oyster bar and beer garden, zip lining, biking and more, NYC & Company is pleased to list some of the island’s key attractions and events this season below to help inspire your readers to put Governors Island on their New York City bucket list this summer! For a full list of everything available on Governors Island this summer, visit

Corresponding images can be downloaded here, and for more information on this and other great summer activities in New York City, visit

See you on the island this summer!

With its first full season starting yesterday, the Hills debuted last summer to much fanfare. The area features four man-made hills that rise from 25 to 70 feet above the Island, including Slide Hill (longest slide in in NYC at 57 feet), Grassy Hill, Discovery Hill and Outlook Hill. Visitors can take in 360-degree panoramic views of the iconic New York City skyline and the Statue of Liberty.

Opening Memorial Day weekend, ‘Adventures at GI’ will be a welcoming place for kids to climb up a climbing wall, get lost in a maze, zip line and relax in nearby Hammock Grove. There will also be a new kayak dock with free kayak rentals starting in June as part of a partnership with the Downtown Boathouse, a perfect way to spend a summer afternoon.

Since Governors Island is a car-free zone, bikers can take advantage of the island’s winding path with one hour free bike rentals through Blazing Saddles’ Free Bike Mornings program. In addition, there are Citi Bike kiosks that can be found at both Yankee Pier and Soisson’s Landing.

A playground junkyard? Believe it or not, kids can learn a thing or two in the 50,000 square-foot play:groundNYC, which is made up of a range of materials that kids that build, destroy and play with using hand tools. 

Arts & Entertainment
Governors Island hosts several concerts and arts festivals throughout the season, such as the Rite of Summer Music Festival on May 27, and the Memorial Day holiday weekend will be packed with exciting things to do!

In addition to the island’s special evening kickoff this Friday, Governors Island will host the NYC Holi Hai Festival on Saturday, May 6th at The Play Lawn. This celebration of diversity is free for everyone, featuring live bands and entertainment including Indian drum players, salsa dancing, jazz, African and Indian classical music and more. Plus, everyone can get into the ‘colorful’ spirit with powder paint as you dance the day away!

Interested in nature? The NYC Audubon Summer Residency brings visitors on free bird walks around the island, as well as a chance to showcase their inner artist with crafts for kids and bird-related art projects.

Other great event happenings on Governors Island include the 12th Annual Jazz Age Lawn Party on June 10 – 11, Governors Island Swim on July 1, Brooklyn Music Festival on August 6 and the Popup Dinner Governors Island picnic on September 9. For these and other events, visit

Foodies unite! Governors Island is a dining destination unto itself.

This summer, Governors Island is introducing new dining options throughout the season, including three pop-up beer gardens, one which will be part of Island Oyster. This new pop-up from the team behind Grand Banks will bring fresh seafood and a new signature cocktail program this season. Visitors can enjoy a breathtaking sunset over the City’s skyline and stay ‘til the late hours after the parks close thanks to its own dedicated ferry service back to Manhattan.

Returning for its 6th season, Little Eva’s features locally grown dishes across several pop-ups, including an exclusively brewed beer from Alphabet City Beer Company, as well as delicious charcuterie and sausages from Edi and the Wolf. These and other culinary specialties will be available at Liggett Terrace in early summer.

How to Get There
Governors Island is easily accessible from Lower Manhattan, with ferries departing from the Battery Maritime Building. Ferries run every hour Monday through Friday and every half-hour on weekends during operating hours. Passengers can ride for free on Saturdays and Sundays until 11:30 a.m. Roundtrip costs $2 for adults, with children under 13 being free. For more information and schedules, visit

The island is also accessible from Pier 1 at Brooklyn Bridge Park on Saturdays and Sundays, with service resuming at Pier 6 in June. Starting June 1, the new NYC Ferry will initiate summer service from Red Hook’s Atlantic Basin to Governors Island for $2.75 each way. 

Governors Island is open every day through October 1.


Contact: NYC & Company / Chris Heywood 212-484-1270