Oh Yeah, Trust For Governors Island Announces Return For Summer Season

May 5, 2023

The Trust for Governors Island today announced a robust calendar of exciting and wide-ranging programs on the Island for a perfect Harlem day this summer.

The island promise to offer exciting experiences for New Yorkers of all ages and visitors from around the world. This year’s programming highlights the breadth of activities, events, and cultural experiences that can be enjoyed during the warmer months on Governors Island, including live music, food trucks, and public art installations.

“Governors Island has established itself as a cultural, educational, and recreational standout,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic and Workforce Development Maria Torres-Springer. “Thanks to the ingenuity and diversity of this summer’s programming—coupled with the increased ferry rides and access—we are especially excited to welcome New Yorkers across the five boroughs to this amazing resource in New York Harbor.” 

“Governors Island continues to grow as an accessible, year-round destination—offering unparalleled open space, thought-provoking arts and cultural experiences, some of our city’s best culinary offerings, a diverse community of tenants and amenities, and more for our nearly one million visitors,” said Clare Newman, President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island. “With this summer’s expanded public access, increased accessible transportation, and exciting calendar of events, we hope more New Yorkers than ever before hop on the ferry and join us for some excellent summer fun.” 

Highlighted summer programs, activities, and visitor amenities announced today include:

Visitor Amenities And Attractions

The Trust for Governors Island will offer expanded operations of the Island’s wheelchair-accessible tram service, free and available to all guests. These all-electric accessibility vehicles will depart from Soissons Landing and Yankee Pier daily from Memorial Day through the end of October, stopping at key locations throughout the Island. 

The Urban Farm — home to GrowNYC’s teaching garden, Earth Matter NY’s Compost Learning Center and Soil Start Farm, and the Bee Conservancy’s bee sanctuary—is open weekends from 12-4pm with free tours the first Saturday of every month. Circular Economy Manufacturing’s MicroFactory, which turns post-consumer plastics into upcycled objects using only solar power, is also open weekends with free demonstrations for visitors. play:groundNYC’s Adventure Playground, a unique kids-only space imagination and exploration, is open every weekend from 12-4pm. Governors Island National Monument, including Fort Jay and Castle Williams, is open for self-guided tours and information on weekends from 12-4pm starting Memorial Day weekend.  

Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Arts Center at Governors Island is open Friday-Saturday from 12-6pm through October 1, with artist residencies, public programs, and three works centered on the theme “time,” including an exhibition by installation artist Daniel Shieh, a film and video exhibition curated by Allies in Arts, and a new installation by Rhonda Weppler and Trevor Mahovsky. The Arts Center is free and open to all, with no prior reservations required. Collective Retreats is open daily for overnight stays, and QC NY is open daily with two heated outdoor pools alongside saunas, steam rooms, relaxation treatments, massages, and a new bar and bistro. The Institute for Public Architecture and Shandaken: Projects—year round Island tenants located in Nolan Park Building 9—will offer free events and exhibitions throughout the summer months. 

Open Space And Recreation

Visitors can enjoy Governors Island’s 120+ acres of open space daily. The Island’s award-winning, climate-resilient park offers rolling lawns and plenty of room for New Yorkers to spread out for picnicking and recreation, including over seven miles of car-free bike paths. Hammock Grove’s 40+ public hammocks and pathways nestled into the foliage of this young urban forest provide a relaxing retreat. The Hills features unparalleled views of the harbor and landmarks, like the Statue of Liberty and the surrounding Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn skylines. 

Popular year-round activities—like bike rentals with Blazing Saddles, including Free Bike Mornings every weekday between 10 am-12 pm and CitiBike; self-guided digital walking tours with Urban Archive, Gesso, and the Black Gotham Experience; and more—will continue to be offered to Island visitors. Additionally, climbers of all ages and skill levels can enjoy breathtaking views from new heights at our Community Climbing Boulder on the Western Promenade. More information and updates on recreation activities can be found on the Governors Island website.


Governors Island remains one of New York City’s most unique locations for events of all kinds. See below for a selection of upcoming events, with more to be announced throughout the season. See a preview of event details below:

  • NYCRUNS Summer Lovin’ 5K & 10K – May 13
  • Moving Chains: Towards Abolition, a free day-long program building upon Moving Chains on Governors Island presented by Creative Time and Governors Island Arts – May 20
  • World Bee Day celebration presented by The Bee Conservancy – May 20
  • Institute for Public Architecture symposium: BQE 2053, Towards a Decarbonized Sustainable Multi-Modal Transportation Network – May 20
  • New York Harbor Oyster Classic 5K, supporting the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School on Governors Island – June 4
  • Jazz Age Lawn Party – June 10-11, August 12-13
  • Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s citywide River to River Festival – June 16-18
  • Rite of Summer Music Festival – June 16, July 22, August 25
  • Porch Stomp folk music festival – June 17
  • FAD Market monthly pop-ups – June 17-18, July 15-16, August 19-20, September 16-17, October 21-22
  • NYCRUNS Father’s Day 5K & 10K – June 19
  • NYCRUNS Firecracker 5K & 10K – July 4 
  • Outdoor Films presented by Governors Island Arts in partnership with Film at Lincoln Center – June 9, July 7, August 11
  • Cricket Classic – July 9
  • NYC Poetry Festival – July 29-30

Food Vendors

Governors Island is a true culinary destination with a diverse mix of cuisines available to visitors daily. New vendors this year include Wheeler’s, Governors Island’s first 100% solar powered food vendor, located at and operated by Pulse Grids in Colonels Row. 

Returning vendors include Joe Coffee Company, Little Eva’s, Taco Vista, Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights, Island Oyster, Threes Brewing and the Meat Hook, Pizza Yard, Sea Biscuit, Carreau Club, Tokyo Drumstick, La Newyorkina, The Real Mother Shuckers, and more. Previous Island vendor Makina Café is set to serve their Ethiopian and Eritrean cuisine out of a brand-new location in Colonels Row, and the Foodie Spot—a partnership with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA)’s Office of Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability—will return to Liggett Terrace, spotlighting small businesses owned by graduates of NYCHA’s Food Business Pathways program. Find a complete list of vendors and all operating hours will be updated regularly at www.govisland.og/foods.

Open Daily

  • Gitano Island – Lunch weekdays from 12-4pm, dinner Monday-Wednesday from 4-10pm and Thursday-Sunday from 4-11pm, brunch weekends from 11am-3pm, Soissons Landing
  • Island Oyster – Daily, 12-6pm, Soissons Landing
  • Joe Coffee Company in the Battery Maritime Building ferry terminal – Daily, 7am-4pm
  • Joe Coffee Company at Liggett Terrace – Weekends May 6-28, 10am-5pm; Daily May 29-September 4, 10am-7pm
  • Little Eva’s – Daily, 11am-5pm, Liggett Terrace
  • Taco Vista – Daily, 12-6pm, Soissons Landing
  • Three Peaks Lodge at Collective Retreats – Daily for breakfast, lunch, Happy Hour, dinner, and bar service, Western Promenade

Open Weekends and Select Weekdays

  • Carreau Club – Friday-Sunday, 11am-6pm, King Ave
  • Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights – Friday-Sunday, 11am-6pm, Liggett Terrace
  • The Foodie Spot – Friday-Sunday, 11am-5pm, Liggett Terrace
  • La Newyorkina – Weekends starting Memorial Day Weekend, 12-5 pm, Colonels Row 
  • Makina Café – Friday-Sunday starting Memorial Day Weekend, 11am-6pm, Colonels Row
  • New York Food Truck Association food trucks – Weekends, 11am-5pm, Liggett Terrace
  • Pizza Yard – Friday-Sunday, 12-5pm, Colonels Row
  • The Real Mother Shuckers – Weekends starting in July, mobile vendor traveling around the Island
  • Sea Biscuit – Weekends starting Memorial Day Weekend, 10am-6pm, Western Promenade
  • Threes Brewing & The Meat Hook – Weekends, 12-6pm, Liggett Terrace 
  • Tokyo Drumstick – Friday-Sunday, 11am-4pm, Liggett Terrace
  • Wheeler’s – Friday-Sunday starting late May, 12-6pm, Colonels Row

Governors Island Arts

Through public art commissions, the annual Organizations in Residence program, and public events and programs, Governors Island Arts—the arts and cultural program presented by the Trust—creates transformative encounters with art for all New Yorkers, inviting artists and researchers to engage with the Island’s layered histories, environments, and architecture. Visit www.govisland.org/giarts to view the program’s previously announced summer season of free cultural offerings. 

Visitor Information

Governors Island will debut new public hours this summer, expanding access to the Island for all New Yorkers into the evening. From Memorial Day through Labor Day, the Island will remain open until 10pm Sunday-Thursday (with the South Island Park closing at 6pm) and 11pm Friday-Saturday (with the entire Island open late, marking the return of Summer Late Nights). From Labor Day through Memorial Day, the Island is open daily from 7am to 6pm. 

Trust for Governors Island-operated ferries run daily between the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street in Lower Manhattan and Soissons Landing on the Island. Trust-operated ferries also serve two Brooklyn locations during the summer months—Pier Six in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Atlantic Basin in Red Hook. These routes run directly to Yankee Pier on Governors Island from each location every Saturday, Sunday, and holiday Monday from May 27 through October 29. For schedules and ticketing information, visit the Governors Island website.

Visitors are encouraged to reserve ferry tickets in advance of their trip on the Governors Island website. Round-trip ferry tickets cost $4 for adults. Ferries operated by the Trust for Governors Island are always free for children 12 and under, older adults 65 and up, residents of NYCHA, IDNYC holders, current and former military service members, and Governors Island members. Ferries before noon on Saturdays and Sundays are free for all. There is no surcharge for bicycles or strollers on Trust-operated ferries at any time.

The Trust also offers free ferry fares for nonprofit community-based organizations, youth camps, and senior centers throughout New York City. To inquire about group visits, organizations may email groupvisits@govisland.org

NYC Ferry service to Governors Island on the South Brooklyn route operates weekdays and non-summer weekends. On summer weekends during the highest ridership season, NYC Ferry will continue to operate its dedicated seasonal shuttle from Pier 11/Wall Street in Lower Manhattan. NYC Ferry riders may take any route to Pier 11 and transfer to the shuttle for free, or NYC Ferry riders may transfer for free at either Atlantic Ave/Pier 6 or Red Hook/Atlantic Basin to Trust-operated Brooklyn ferries. For ticketing information and full schedules for NYC Ferry, visit the NYC Ferry website, www.ferry.nyc

“All of us at the Friends of Governors are thrilled to welcome visitors from across the five boroughs and around the world to this magical destination in the heart of New York Harbor,” said Patti Davis, Interim Executive Director at the Friends of Governors Island. “Truly there is something here for everyone–120 acres of lush open space, dozens of historic buildings, a vast array of free public programs, innovative arts and culture, miles of car-free bike paths, and a variety of dining options—all with breathtaking waterfront views of New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty. Bring your friends and family and plan to stay all day!” 

“I’m pleased to welcome visitors back to Governors Island National Monument starting Memorial Day Weekend,” said Shirley McKinney, Manhattan sites superintendent, National Park Service. “This year, we will continue to offer self-guided public tours of the historic forts, with our park rangers on site to answer questions and provide information on the Island’s unique history to our visitors.”

“Summer is nearly here and on top of some great weather, New Yorkers also have an incredible slate of free events and programming during Governors Island Summer Season to look forward to. I’m excited to see my neighbors out and about and enjoying all  that Governors Island has to offer,” said Congress Member Daniel S. Goldman.

Governors Island has undergone a tremendous transformation over the last decade, including the creation of a resilient 43-acre park, a growing arts and cultural program, year-round public access, and remarkable growth in audience. The Island is home to a diverse number of year-round tenants, including the Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Billion Oyster Project, Shandaken Projects, Beam Center, the Institute for Public Architecture, and QC NY Spa, as well as the soon-to-open Buttermilk Labs — a new multi-tenant hub for coastal climate solutions scheduled to open in 2024. 

In April, New York City Mayor Eric Adams, the Trust for Governors Island, and State University of New York (SUNY) Stony Brook University unveiled the “New York Climate Exchange,” a transformative vision for a first-in-the-nation climate research, education, and jobs hub on Governors Island that will create thousands of permanent jobs and $1 billion in economic impact for the city. A cross-sector consortium led by Stony Brook, the Exchange will create a state-of-the-art, $700-million, 400,000-square-foot campus dedicated to researching and developing innovative climate solutions that will be scaled across New York City and the world and will equip New Yorkers to hold the green jobs of the future.

The culmination of a two-year, competitive request for proposal process, the selection of the New York Climate Exchange represents a major milestone in the city’s groundbreaking Center for Climate Solutions initiative — a key piece of Mayor Adams’ “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent A Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery” — which will create 7,000 permanent jobs and a billion dollars in economic impact, while expanding and enhancing public access to Governors Island. The Exchange alone will create over 2,200 100-percent union jobs, including for construction and building services, with a commitment to hiring all construction and building service workers at prevailing wage and a goal of 35 percent minority- and women-owned business enterprise (M/WBE) participation in construction.

The Trust for Governors Island

The Trust for Governors Island is a nonprofit corporation created by the City of New York that is responsible for the redevelopment and operation of 150 acres of Governors Island. The Trust’s mission is to realize the full potential of Governors Island for the inspiration and enjoyment of all New Yorkers, demonstrating a bold vision for public space. For more information, visit www.govisland.org.

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