Category Archives: governors island

Summer is Here, So is Governors Island

While winter lingered for a few extra weeks and I again and again found myself bringing my coat back out from storage, summer has definitely arrived. We had our first days of that simmering, sweltering heat of New York summers that make you long for frigid days of February. Luckily, there are beautiful perks to summers in the city, including free ferries to Governors Island, the decommissioned military base in the harbor that is now a public park. It opened for the season this past Memorial Day weekend, and as my cousin Meghan is in town we made a visit and I thought I would share a few photos. Don’t worry, I wore SPF 100 on my  pallid skin.

Bike paths circle the island. Perhaps one day when I am more ambitious I will ride over to the ferry that leaves from Brooklyn and make the loop. There are also plenty of rentals on the island if I am feeling half lazy.

There is an especially tranquil space of green in the center of the island, where there are currently sculptures by Mark di Suvero, playing their metal angles against those of the Manhattan skyline. There was also a very busy ice cream truck nearby.

The ferry ride to the island itself is fun, as you speed away from the island of cluttered buildings to that of a quiet, tree-crowded town. I liked this view from the ferry where it appears that the Staten Island ferry is racing an old schooner.

Here is another view from the ferry. While there are free ferries from Brooklyn and Manhattan, I would also recommend the East River Ferry, which costs $4 but had no line. You can also then ride all the way up to Williamsburg, Greenpoint, or Long Island City, where you can refresh your sun dappled mind with an iced coffee.

Jazz Age Lawn Party


What could be better than drinking Saint-Germain cocktails while having a picnic accompanied by a phonograph DJ? What if everyone was dressed like they just stumbled out of the Great Gatsby? And there was also a rather fantastic band and everyone was dancing? Yes, that would be hard to beat, especially with such beautiful weather. A couple weekends ago, I took the ferry to Governors Island with a crowd of mustachioed bicyclists, Daisy Buchanan-lookalikes, and their Jay Gatsbys to the Jazz Age Lawn Party. The event happens a couple times a year and is basically an excuse for everyone to dress up and pretend they are living the Rockefeller life. Enjoy the pictures below! The weather was perfect, and as always it is lovely to go to Governors Island, which is frequently transporting, but even more so when you feel like you’ve suddenly dropped into the 1920s. A few Saint-Germain drinks helps with the effect.


Our Jazz Age posse:





Fragments of Figment

Back in early June, I took the ferry to Governors Island for the Figment art festival. I’d attended the festival last year and was surprised by the quality of the art and the clever way the installations had adapted to the unique spaces, namely the sprawling green lawns and old stately homes. I have to say though that this year I was not as impressed. There were still some fun and engaging installations (the above chair sculpture was great, you could hide under the table and hear the sounds of breaking glass), but overall I felt a bit lost. One difference may be that it was raining, limiting the crowds and the outdoor art. Also, there were oddly lots of people wearing corset/fairy wing combinations and I think an amateur production of Midsummer Night’s Dream was about to break out. The atmosphere was more Renaissance Fair than art festival. And I don’t purposefully put myself in the way of Renaissance Fairs. Anyways, I have some photos of some of the projects I did really enjoy below!

Side note: if you’re looking for something cool to do this weekend and can make it to Wassaic, New York, there will definitely be some quality art happening there for their Summer Festival. Check out my Hyperallergic post for a preview.

A former chapel on the island was overtaken with rather charming children’s art. I, of course, was drawn to this epic struggle between a squid and a shark. Actually, the shark seems to have given up. Could this child artist come decorate my home?

Although the cardboard hadn’t fared too well in the storm, I still liked Ian Trask’s sculpture that visitors were encourage to walk on. The warped look of the cardboard after the rain, combined with some random feathers, was a lovely visual.

Another former worship space was changed into an alien-like environment with blue lights and this curious descending head wrap that “transmitted” trippy blobs on a screen. It was so weird, I liked it.

One artist had transformed a home with an installation inspired by Frida Kahlo. I loved the way the objects inhabited the space, more like you were finding them rather than them being left for you to find.

But what I most enjoyed was just being able to freely walk around the old homes, with the peeled paint and ornate fixtures as striking as any art.