Yesterday the MFTA and Department of Cultural Affairs staff was privileged to a private tour of Governors Island. The island is open to the public every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday beginning at 10am.
We began with a tour led by Elizabeth Rapuano, Director of Communications for the Trust for Governors Island. She gave us a brief overview of the island’s fabled history, which was settled over 400 years ago by the Dutch. She also gave us some fascinating insight into the island’s future. We also toured the studio and gallery space space at Building 110, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Center’s newest residency program for artists.
Governors Island currently is and will remain a complete cultural center, hosting events such as Rock the Bells this past weekend, and housing a number of artist residency programs with groups such as Lower Manhattan Cultural Center (LMCC). There is a sculpture garden, artist-designed minigolf, hammocks, bike rentals, food, open lawns, and car-free bike lanes. After a tour of the Historic District, staff was allowed to explore the island, taking bide rides around the island, visiting the art exhibits, enjoying breathtaking views of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty on the southern tip, and enjoying the sights of the historic buildings.
But the number one reason MFTA loves Governors Island? It is a fantastic example of adaptive reuse. Governors Island is a model of how governments can transform defunct spaces into recreational and cultural hubs.
So if you haven’t been yet, hop on the ferry and spend your next Saturday there! There are still six more weekends to enjoy the island (open through October 10th). But as tempting as it might be, don’t try to spend the night, we heard they have some strict rules about counting folks who get on and off the ferry.
Many thanks to the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Trust for Governors Island for arranging this visit!