For the ultimate deep-dive into the history and secrets of Governors Island, take a walking tour led by Kevin Fitzpatrick, author of The Governors Island Explorer’s Guide. He has been giving this small tour since 2010; in 2016 it will be offered weekly on Thursdays at 11:30 AM. See the schedule and book advance tickets here. Private charters are also available if you contact him. There are other tours of the Island, but this is the only one that is two hours in length and covers both city and federal landmarks, explorers the interior of buildings, and shows visitors the secret spots (the synagogue, cemeteries, etc).
For more than 200 years, Governors Island was closed to the public. Learn how a former military post became New York’s greatest new park. The walk for anyone who wants to learn about its history and the island’s new future as a city park.
* Three hundred years of island history.
* Explore the military life including the American Revolution, War of 1812, Civil War and more;
* History of all Army buildings and Army housing;
* Significance of all fortifications and military use of the island;
* Houses of worship, schools, and community buildings;
* Current usage of the park and the buildings, what the future holds;
* See rare photos, maps, and drawings from Kevin’s personal collection.
To get to the tour you will need to take the ferry from either the Battery Maritime Building, 10 South Street, Manhattan, or Brooklyn Bridge Park Pier 6 in Brooklyn. (Ferry schedule on govisland.com).
This tour is designed for tourists, locals, families, and groups of friends. You’ll visit more than thirty locations and come away with a new appreciation for the area.
Tickets must be bought at least 24 hours in advance of the tour start time.
Where do I get on the ferry?
There are two locations. Manhattan at the Battery Maritime Building, 10 South Street (next door to the Staten Island Ferry Terminal). In Brooklyn at Pier 6 at Brooklyn Bridge Park.
How much is the ferry fare?
Manhattan ferries are $2 roundtrip. Always free with NYC ID card. Brooklyn prices are based on Manhattan Waterway fares of $6.50 roundtrip. For updated ferry times and fares visit govisland.com.
Do we go inside any buildings?
Yes, we do go inside the Commanding General’s Quarters, Castle Williams, and Fort Jay. Touring other buildings depends if they are open to the public (schedule determined by the Island). The visits are for limited amounts of time determined by your guide. You can always return to explore what catches your attention afterwards! Note: Tours of the interior and parapet of Castle Williams are only given by the National Park Service.
Does the tour start and end at the same place?
The tour does not start and end at the same place. Your tour guide will be more than happy to give directions to the ferry dock or point you in the right direction for your next destination.
What about inclement weather?
Tours will run rain or shine. We ask that you check the weather forecast and dress accordingly if inclement weather is predicted. If a serious storm is predicted that may impact the tour, you will be notified by e-mail, under these circumstances.
Are there bathrooms along the way?
Yes. Restrooms are available at the meeting location. There are also restrooms along the route.
How long is the tour?
Approximately two hours.
What should I wear?
Wear comfortable shoes, as the ground is uneven in spots. Dress for the weather, we are going to be outdoors. Sunscreen recommended.
Can I bring my dog?
No dogs are allowed on Governors Island, except service dogs with proper papers.
Is the tour appropriate for kids?
Yes it is great for families.
Can I book a private tour?
Yes, reach out here to book a charter tour for 2 to 50 people.