After you're done with the Empire State Building and other popular New York City sights, why not head to Governors Island?
What? Never heard of Governors Island? It's an awesome park just a short ferry ride off of lower Manhattan. And when I say short, I mean short - it's only 800 yards away!
Governors Island is a 172-acre former military base, dating all the way back to the 1700's! It's now a joint venture between the City of New York and the National Park Service.
The island is car free and is great for cycling and walking. The day we visited, we saw a cycling club posing for a photo before they headed out for a ride.
Catching the Ferry
There are ferries to Governors Island from Lower Manhattan (from the Battery Maritime Building) and also from Brooklyn. The cost is only $2 round trip. There's no charge to bring your bicycle, but you can rent one on the island if you choose. You can buy tickets either at the terminal or online, BUT on Saturdays and Sundays the ferries are free until 1130! If you're going with, say, a family of four, it might be worth it to catch an earlier ferry, but it could be crowded, so just be aware of this.
We took the ferry from the Battery Maritime Building - hint: it's right next to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
The Governors Island website has its ferry schedules listed and the subway and bus stops that are the closest to the terminal.
Note about the Battery Maritime Building: It was completed in 1909 and is an example of architecture called Beaux-Arts Structural Expressionism. Click on the link to find out more.
What's going on?
For the 2017 season, the island is open from May 1 - October 31 from 10am-6pm, and there are tons of events throughout the season!
The day we visited, the Brooklyn Music Festival was just getting underway on Governors Island. There was, of course, music, but there were vendors giving stuff away and selling their wares, too.
While packing a picnic and spreading out on the green spaces to enjoy the scenery would be a fantastic way to enjoy a meal and pass the time, there are also food trucks set up in the middle of the island with just about everything you can imagine! I had a Mozzarepa - which may be my new favorite food! It's an arepa stuffed with mozzarella! If you've never heard of an arepa, it's traditionally found in Colombia and Venezuela. It reminds me of cornbread since it's made with cornmeal, but it's flatter, like a pancake. It's usually stuffed with meat, but I've seen them with cheese. And Mozzarepas are apparently a New York thing. Instead of being fried like a traditional arepa, it's grilled like a grilled cheese sandwich and it's a little slice of heaven! Here's an arepa recipe I saw on Bon Appetit that looks super easy... and a little bit more on Mozzarepas...
....oh, and we also managed a couple of cocktails while enjoying the views from a new oyster bar that opened on July 3 called, what else, Island Oyster .....
What's there to see?
In my opinion, the views are the best part of Governors Island. Just walking the perimeter of island, you'll have an incredible vantage point of One World Trade Center. Check out my photo above of lower Manhattan taken from The Hills section of Governors Island. And the views of the Statue of Liberty from Governors Island are insane! They may be the best views - unless you're on that sailboat in my photo on the right!
And when you get tired of those fantastic views, there's a lot of nature to see! Walk along the numerous paved footpaths enjoying the indigenous plants and flowers....
....Like these dainty lavender-colored coneflowers.....
After you're done taking in nature, there are historic buildings to explore, too!
....was built between 1807 and 1811 and was specifically designed as a circular structure at this site to give it a better defensive position.
When you're pooped, you can take a break on one of the many colorful benches around Governors Island....
So, whether you spend a few hours or the whole day, Governors Island is a charming sanctuary right in New York City and it's totally worth the visit!
Interested in more places like Governors Island around New York City? Check out this article I came across in the Evening Standard about other islands around New York City worth a day trip!
Have you been to Governors Island? What did you think? I'd love to hear from you on Facebook or in our new comment section below!