Governors Island is the ideal day-long respite from New York's busy and sweaty summer (and September!). It's a quick boat ride from Manhattan or Brooklyn, offers a slew of chill outdoorsy activities, and affords some pretty fabulous views of Manhattan.
For nearly two centuries, the island served as a military outpost for the US Army and Coast Guard, but in 2003 150 acres of the island was sold to New York, and the remaining 22 are a National Monument.
The island is open to the public M-F 10-6, S-S and holidays 10-7. Ferries run from lower Manhattan and Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park every day; more on how to get yourself to the island can be found here.
The island closes for the season on September 28, so head over for an early-fall day outdoors, while the weather still permits.
This year brought a fleet of food trucks and stationary tents to the island, offering its visitors some solid food and drink options on weekends and holidays, with a few options available every day. You're also welcome to pack your own picnic and carry it on to the island (sadly, no alcohol can be brought in). And a few different beers can be purchased at the Governors Island Beach Club (but don't get too excited for the options available in this category).
However, there are some great food choices, and they're are limited so it's not crazy overwhelming. I'd recommend seeking out:
- Mayhem & Stout: braised meat sandwiches.
- Momos & Buns: baos and dumplings.
- Brooklyn Soda Works: to wash it all down.
- Bike. You can bring your own or rent a bike on the island, and enjoy casual rides on car-free roads, a real treat in NYC. An added bonus: if you get to the island in the morning (between 10-12) you can rent a bike fo' free.
- FIGMENT NYC's interactive sculptures, Treehouse, artist-designed mini-golf course, and City of Dreams Pavilion. And Mark di Suervo sculptures, moved from Storm King onto Governors Island this year.
- Earth Matter Farm. A fully functioning composting center on the island.
- Hammock Grove. Yes, just as it sounds, there is a pack of 50 hammocks you can rest your tired bike legs on.
Note: there are a great number of fab summertime events that we will have to wait until next year for, but keep an eye out (think Governors Ball, Jazz Age Lawn Party).
Have a reliable recommendation or sweet spot to share? Go crazy in the comments section.