During Memorial Day Weekend in the US, I took my new bike to Governors Island as this was the weekend it officially opened to the public, for the summer. The island was owned by Native Americans, sold to the Dutch, then switched hands to the British for the “benefit and accommodation of His Majesty’s Governors” (aren’t we Brits so quaint?) before the American Revolutionary War transferred ownership back to American hands. It was used as a military facility for years and the 20th century brought several developments to the island – more land was built and army facilities added.
The island was transferred to the US Coast Guard in 1966. At this point the population was 3,500, all of whom were relocated by 1996 when the Coast Guard shut down operations there. Governors Island was “sold” to the people of NY for a nominal cost, as announced by George W Bush, Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg on April 1, 2002 (this wasn’t a joke) and was to be used solely for the benefit of the public. No permanent housing can be created on the island, but at present the old facilities remain:
My first stop, after taking the (free) ferry over, was the man made beach with an amazing view out to the tip of Manhattan. I stopped here for refuelling before cycling around the island several times (you can hire bikes on the island too) – it’s quite tiny: just 1 mile long and about a quarter of a mile wide.
There are plenty of events planned this summer and I’m hoping to return for the jazz weekend later this month. Some 1920s outfits may well be required! For this particular trip to Governors Island however it was so hot I had to be in my Gap denim cutoffs with my urban outfitters top.
I had such fun this weekend and I’d really recommend visiting Governor’s Island if you’re planning a trip to NYC, or are here already and want to check out the amazing view and events planned this summer.