Governors Island is a 172 acres (70 ha) island in Upper New York Bay, approximately one-half mile (1 km) from the southern tip of Manhattan Island and separated from Brooklyn by Buttermilk Channel. It is legally part of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. Physically, the island changed greatly during the early 20th century. Using material excavated from the Lexington Avenue subway, the Army Corps of Engineers supervised the deposit of 4,787,000 cubic yards of fill on the south side of Governors Island, adding 103 acres (42 ha) of flat, treeless land by 1912 and bringing the total acreage of the island to 172.
On May 24, 2012, Mayor Michael Bloomberg broke ground on the new park and public spaces designed by the landscape design firm West 8, along with announcing the opening of the rehabilitated Castle Williams.The national historic landmark district, approximately 92 acres (37 ha) of the northern half of the island, is open to the public for several months in the summer and early fall. The circumferential road around the island is also open to the public. The island is accessed by free ferries from Brooklyn and Manhattan.
Redevelopment And New Uses
The disposal of the island as excess federal property was outlined in the Budget Reduction Act of 1996. The legislation set a deadline and directed that the island be sold at a fair market value, but gave the city and state of New York the right of first refusal, a provision that was inserted into the legislation by New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who envisioned the island with great potential as a public and civic resource.
With the announcement of the Coast Guard base closure and departure, city and state officials along with private developers and civic planners began to offer opinions and ideas on the island's future that included housing, parks, education and private development.In November 2011, the Center for Urban Real Estate (CURE.) at Columbia University proposed the idea of using fill to physically connect Manhattan to Governors Island. This proposal would require 23 million cubic yards of landfill and allow for up to 88 million square feet of new development while providing new subway stations and a bridge to Red Hook, Brooklyn
The Park and Public Space Master Plan
In 2007, Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation commissioned West 8, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Rogers Marvel Architects, Quennell Rothschild & Partners, and SMWM to design a development plan for Governors Island. The plan includes 87 acres (35 ha) of open space on the island, and provides for the restoration of the historic district and a new park on the southern half of the island. The Bloomberg Administration's ten year capital plan provided funding for the first phase of construction of the plan, which began construction in the summer of 2012.
Since its transfer in 2003, Governors Island has been open to the public every summer. The island is currently open Saturday and Sunday and Holiday Mondays (Memorial Day and Labor Day)
Activities And Publicly Accessible Areas
quadcycle rental is provided on the island by Bike and Roll at hourly and daily rates. New York Water Taxi operates an artificial beach on the northern tip of the island.The "World Trade Center Run to Remember" (WTCRTR) has been run annually on the island since 2009 on the first Sunday of September. The activities include a 5K Run, 3K Family Fun Run/Walk, Children's Fun Run, and other activities to benefit organizations associated with 9/11 related services.