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Governor's island: What You Need To Know

April 29, 20242 min read

This 172-acre island in the New York Harbor has become a summer favorite for New Yorkers. This car-free park has so much to offer, like bike riding, grilling, kayaking...even a spa!

A little history, first: Governors Island was a military base for over 200 years before being closed by the Coast Guard in 1996. In 2003, the Federal government sold the bulk of the island to the people of New York for $1. (Now, that's a bargain!)

First of all, the views of the Statue of Liberty from there are incredible. You can rent a bike or use the CitiBike share-riding service to check out the island from all angles.

So what else can you expect? There are art installations scattered throughout. Slide Hill offers slides of varying lengths for the whole family--the longest being 57 feet long and three stories high! The kids can cool off with sprinklers and fountains, and several turf ballfields can be used for pickup games of baseball or soccer. There's even a climbing boulder!

Reserve one of the charcoal grills and cook up your own grub, or pack a ready-made picnic. There are picnic tables, plus shaded areas to spread a blanket and savor your feast. Don't want to lug provisions? There are plenty of options for purchase, like tacos, pizza, seafood, yummy ice cream and more.

After eating, you may need a snooze. The good folks of Governors Island have taken care of that by providing hammocks!

In addition, poetry lovers will love the New York City Poetry Festival (July 13014) and folk and roots music fans will enjoy Porch Stomp (June 15). FAD market is a rotating lineup of over 40 of the city's emerging artists and designers hawking their handmade crafts, and takes place every third weekend from June to October.

The island is open daily, and it's reached via a short ferry ride, taking off from the Battery Maritime Building downtown. The ferry's cheap: $5 for adults, and free for seniors and kids under 12. It's best to reserve your tickets in advance and you can do so here.

Image via sangaku/IStock

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