• News

    Defend Governors Island

    On September 26 I attended a public hearing on the phased development of Governors Island South Island Development Zones. It was held by the city and the Trust For Governors Island get public feedback on the planned rezoning of the South End of the Island for use by hotels, convention center, technology center, and other purposes. All of the project plans and proposals are found here. It was at times raucous crowd, as reported by the New York Times, to speak out about the future of the Island. This is the first of many nights that are brought forth by the Mayor’s Office of Environmental Coordination. Among the two in…

  • History,  News

    Governors Island WWI Monuments Designated National War Memorials

    In a surprise announcement, the project to restore three lost World War I memorials on Governors Island were named national war memorials by a group of U.S. historians and veterans organizations. Governors Island joins 99 other sites across the U.S. to be chosen for national designation this month. The 2016-2017 project replaced and restored three lost or damaged WWI memorials on the island. They are for Private Merle Hay, one of the first Americans killed in combat; Captain Harry Kimmell, missing in action and awarded the Distinguished Service Cross; and a tree memorial dedicated to General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces, who departed for France from…

  • Michael Arenella in 2014 (Photo: Don Spiro)
    News

    13th Annual Jazz Age Lawn Party Tickets Available

    Bandleader Michael Arenella announced this week that tickets for his 13th annual Jazz Age Lawn Party go on sale March 1. The dates for the Jazz Age Lawn Party are June 16-17 and August 25-26, 2018. Tickets will be available here. It usually sells out. Congratulations to Michael. Nobody has brought more people to Governors Island than he has. For 13 straight years he has consistently had the biggest and longest-lasting annual event on the Island. It has grown from 50 friends to thousands a weekend. The history of lawn parties on Fort Jay goes back more than 100 years, so it’s a great event to tie into the past.

  • John Beall
    History,  News

    John Beall, Last Man to Hang on Governors island

    Today is the anniversary of the death of the last man to be executed on Governors Island. On this date, February 24, 1865, Confederate Captain John Yates Beall was hanged for capturing two Union ships. The story was front-page news across the nation, and led to conspiracy theories around the death of President Lincoln, ghost stories, and urban legends. Beall was a Virginian who fought for the South. During the war he slipped into the North and worked as a spy on clandestine missions. He took on a role as a member of the Confederate Navy, and undertook a plot against the Union. He and raiders were captured after interrupting…

  • News

    2017 Year In Review Released by The Trust

    The Trust For Governors Island released their Year In Review yesterday. It shows improvements and successes on the Island, in what was the longest public season since opening to visitors in 2003. You can download the full report here, with slick photos and graphics. These are select highlights from the report: From Michael Samuelian, President & CEO, The Trust for Governors Island: “We are thrilled to present The Trust for Governors Island’s first year in review report. 2017 marked our busiest season ever, as we welcomed nearly 800,000 visitors to experience one of the most unique open spaces in New York City. We expanded to a six-month season for the…

  • History,  News

    WWI Memorial Project Completed

    The Governors Island World War One Memorial Project has been successfully completed and three bronze tablets are back where they belong on the island. In three heartwarming rededication ceremonies held during Camp Doughboy WWI History Weekend, September 16-17, the memorials were unveiled by the U.S. Army’s storied 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Division. The Iron Rangers traveled from Fort Riley, Kansas, to lead the ceremonies, and were joined by forty WWI reenactors. The Memorial Project was focused on three sites: *Private Merle David Hay, one of the first three Americans killed in the war; *Captain Harry L. Kimmell, a company commander who died at Fléville; *General John J. Pershing,…

  • News

    Camp Doughboy Honors WWI Centennial, Draws Huge Crowds

    The World War One weekend at Governors Island National Monument was a smash success on September 16-17. The highlight was the rededication ceremony of three lost and damaged WWI memorials on city property, for the Governors Island Memorial Project. With this being the centennial of American entry into the Great War, and Governors Island playing a big part, the large “Camp Doughboy” at the National Monument was perfectly timed. We had a 1917 tank, and General Pershing, portrayed by David Shuey of Virgina, brought a horse back to the island. Organizations that supported the event were the WWI Centennial Committee for New York City, Long Island Living History Association, and…

  • Urban Assembly Harbor School
    News

    Island to Remain Open until Halloween

    Today the Trust for Governors Island and the Office of the Mayor announced what was kept secret this summer: the Island will remain open until October 31. This will be the longest the Island has remained open to the public on a daily basis since it became a public park in 2003. With the earlier-than-expected opening on May 1, this stretches the public season a full six months. The press release: Governors Island to Remain Open in October for the First Time, Expanding the Public Season “As we work to increase livability, affordability, safety and equity in this great City, I am incredibly proud that beginning this fall – and…

  • WWI Memorial Project
    History,  News

    Marching Forward with Governors Island WWI Memorials

    Progress can be measured—and was measured—on the Governors Island World War I Memorial Project this week. Of the three bronze tablets in the project, one is restored and ready to be installed, and the other two are about to be cast by the foundry. On Monday, Beth and Peter Woolley and I went to Governors Island for an important site inspection. They are the owners of Peaceable Kingdom Memorials in Neptune City, NJ. They are restoring and overseeing the casting and installation of the bronze tablets that are missing. Their company has decades of experience in the monuments and memorials business. In a fine piece of island karma: Beth’s Russian…

  • Lawn Party
    History,  News

    The True Story of the Jazz Age Lawn Party

    The Jazz Age Lawn Party created by Michael Arenella carries on a long tradition on Governors Island going back more than 150 years to social events hosted by the U.S. Army. Just as Michael and his Dreamland Orchestra draw big crowds to the Island, so did the soldiers in a similar fashion beginning after the Civil War. While the music and fashions may have changed—seersucker has replaced Army blue—the experience is nearly the same. The party returns June 10 and 11, August 26 and 27. Tickets are $55 to $5,000. Twelve years ago Michael launched the Jazz Age Lawn party not far from where the Army used to have its…