Governors Island is finally opening, marking a delayed start to the New York City summer season after being held up by the coronavirus pandemic.
The island will be welcoming visitors again starting Wednesday, July 15, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends, according to The Trust for Governors Island. Capacity on the island will be limited to 2,000 people a day on the weekdays and 4,000 a day on Saturdays and Sundays.
In an effort to make green spaces more accessible, ferries to the island will be free for New York City Housing Authority residents and participants of other community organizations. Kids, 12 years old and younger, and seniors, 65 years old and up, will also receive free tickets.
For the first time ever, visitors will be able to book ferry reservations online.
Here are the other changes coming to New York’s unique island getaway.
Masks must be worn on ferries and whenever social distancing isn’t possible.
The island has increased the cleaning of “high-touch” areas, like restrooms and the ferries. ATMs and rentable bikes will be regularly disinfected. Hand-washing stations and hand-sanitizing stations will be set up in the park.
Tickets will be available to reserve online starting July 10 at 10 a.m. at GovIsland.com. A small number of tickets for each time slot will be available in person. Ferry capacity will be limited.
Roundtrip tickets cost $3, and there is currently no extra charge to bring bikes aboard.
A new ferry departing from Brooklyn will service the island on Saturdays and Sundays, in order to “increase access for communities less served by open space.” Starting July 18, a boat will depart from Atlantic Basin/Red Hook, instead of from Brooklyn Bridge Park in DUMBO as in years past.
Weekend ferry trips before noon are always free.
Things to do
“Passive recreation activities” like hiking, walking, running, biking and birding are still doable this summer. Bike rentals through Citi Bike and Blazing Saddles are available.
For those feeling lazy, you can relax at Hammock Grove. The play area will be open for kids.
On the weekends, the urban farm will be open to guests. Public art installations are also on view. Self-guided tours will be available on the island’s app and website.
Collective Governors Island, a glamping and outdoor events service, will be hosting at the park. They’re offering al fresco dining, an outdoor bar and private water taxis. Private-event spaces for 20 or 50 guests can be rented.
Almost 20 eateries and popular food trucks will be serving up everything from oysters to ice cream.
Vendors set for the opening include: Island Oyster, Taco Vista, Jamaican-fusion establishment Fauzia’s Heavenly Delights, Kimchi Taco, traditional Ethiopian and Eritrean food eatery Makina, Threes Brewing, The Meat Hook, ice pop and slushies haven People’s Pops, Melt Bakery, Venezuelan-style hot dog restaurant Perros Y Vainas, Joe Coffee, Three Peaks Lodge at Collective Retreats, longtime island establishment Little Eva’s, Pizza Yard, Everything About Crêpes, Wings Lovers, Wafels & Dinges and halal teriyaki chicken bowl restaurant Terry and Yaki.
More information about dining options is available on the Governors Island website.
What you still can’t do
Outdoor events and team sports on fields will be postponed until at least Aug. 1. Indoor events will be shelved until Aug. 31.
Fort Jay and Castle Williams are still temporarily closed.