Governors Island is a special summer treat for many New Yorkers and tourists alike. The island, which served as a military base for 200 years before it was home to the US Army and Coast Guard, has been opened to the public for over a decade. Visitors are treated to beautiful views of the Statue of Liberty, picnic spots, public art, and special summertime programming; best time to spend with the family.
On May 24, over Memorial Day weekend, visitors were treated to the opening of the new 30-acre park and a $75 million overhaul on the island. New landscaping, public spaces, seating, hammocks, public art and programming all come with this season’s opening. The island is now open throughout the week and tourists have greater liberty to visit the place.
Many people do not know the story of the park, and are just interested in the beauty and the attractions which are on offer. To cater to people who are intrigued by the history and about some interesting facts, we have assembled top 10 facts about the park for you.
1. The new park on Governors Island has a Hammock Grove, with 50 red hammocks attached to sturdy wood posts where park visitors enjoy their time. In the future, after the new trees have grown, the hammocks will be removed from the posts and attached to the trees.
2. A lot of pavement was removed from the island. Before the new park and public spaces were installed, there were 2,200 parking spots. There are only 20 left now.
3. The island has been open throughout the week for the first time since its inception.
4. The curb and seat edges in the park are made of precast concrete, which total 4,250 pieces which accounts about 3.2 miles.
5. During the Coast Guard era, from 1966–1996, the Governors Island Burger King was attached to a bowling alley and sold beer.
6. 67 species of plants are represented in the 7,600 trees and shrubs in the new park and public spaces.
7. “The Great Bambino,” also known as Babe Ruth, went to Governors Island 87 years ago to try and raise the morale of the people stationed there. While he was on the island, he taught the school children how to hit home runs in baseball.
8. Nearly 60 percent of the island, including the southern location of the new park, is made up of material excavated from the Lexington Avenue subway. 180,000 cubic yards of fill was added to raise the elevation of the new park. The amount of fill is massive for the structure of the park.
9. Debris from the imploded building, Building 877, was used to create fill for the park.
10. 14 buildings used to stand on the western shore of the island where the park is now. They were demolished in order to open up the park to stunning views of the harbor and Statue of Liberty.