• Quarters 409

    Take a Free Island History Walking Tour, May 28-29

    To celebrate the fourteenth public season of Governors Island opening, there will be free history walking tours on Saturday, May 28, and Sunday, May 29. The walks will meet at 12:15 p.m. at Soissons Dock on the Island (see below). A free walking tour will focus on the three hundred years of island history. Learn about the people and stories that shaped Governors Island. Stops explore the military life, Civil War and World War I events, aviation pioneers, and even where the tiny railroad once ran. The tour is led by Kevin C. Fitzpatrick, author of The Governors Island Explorer’s Guide (Globe Pequot Press). • See 50 locations on the…

  • Grilling

    Barbecue Grills Come to Island

    If you are a fan of standing in front of a hot grill with a pair of tongs in one hand and a fork in the other, Governors Island is going to be a little better for you this summer. Last week The Trust for Governors Island announced that for the first time barbecue grills will be available to reserve on the Island. The Trust will have six new grills available that must be reserved in advance. Last year the Picnic Gathering program was launched to reserve picnic tables; now there are grills to go with them. The reservation even gets you a sweet classic Radio Flyer wagon to haul…

  • News

    ESPN Brings Drone Racing to Governors Island August 5-7

    https://youtu.be/4flD2dClWbs A major media and interactive sports event was announced this week: drone racing is coming to Governors Island August 5-7, courtesy of ESPN. Drone racing took off this year with international competitions in Dubai, and ESPN announced a multi-year broadcasting deal. The championships for the debut of the series will be held live on Governors Island, bringing the Island worldwide audiences that will be able to see the drones race live on their smartphones via the WatchESPN mobile app. The International Drone Racing Association (IDRA), the leading global organization in first-person-view drone racing, announced that it has signed a multi-year, international media distribution deal with ESPN, bringing the new…

  • Golf Course Sign 2

    Golfing On Governors Island Saved the Parade Ground

    I haven’t met anyone who didn’t like to hear about when the Parade Ground on Governors Island was used for a golf course. Walking around it, one can still make out where some of the tees and bunkers once where. When the Island opened to public visits in 2003, there were still sand in the traps and warning signs posted around the perimeter. It must be Golf Day or Golf Week, or another made-up holiday. This week the Governors Island National Monument Facebook Page had a funny story that was attached to its history. It’s interesting because this is the first time I thought that since the Army (and Coast…

  • Doughboys

    Doughboy Day at Fort Jay on Sept 17 Honors WW1

    Governors Island played a critical role in America’s involvement with World War I. It was the headquarters of the First Army, and General John J. Pershing began his trip to France to lead the American Expeditionary Forces from the Island. On Saturday, Sept. 17, come out to the Governors Island National Monument for a day of living history that honors and tells the story of the men and women who fought in the Great War: • Full day of living history of World War I • See re-enactors in vintage frontline uniforms • Equipment displays and demonstrations • Talks and discussions on World War I and Fort Jay • Free…

  • The Dutch House

    Governors Island Alliance Changes Name, Rebrands, as Friends of Governors Island

    Are you a friend of Governors Island? The Governors Island Alliance announced today that it is rebranding, and has changed its name to the Friends of Governors Island. In anticipation of the fourteenth public season on the Island, the organization is getting ready for the public opening on May 28. With a little more than fifty days until the Island opens, the Friends are planning public activities and fundraisers (more information coming soon). Congratulations to the team, led by Merritt Birnbaum. From their news release: Today we are announcing an exciting new development for our organization. Going forward, Governors Island Alliance will be known as the Friends of Governors Island.…

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  • History

    Stories About the Buildings: Post Theatre

    With the Island closed to the public until May 28, we’ll take a look at some of the history of Governors Island. Another of the most visible of the unused structures from Fort Jay is the old Post Theatre (building 330). Its coordinates are N 40.687681, E -74.017593 and is located next to another vacant building, the YMCA. Constructed in 1937, Building 330 is a two-story theatre building faced with reddish-brown brick laid in American bond. The main block of the building has brick quoins at the corners and a slate-covered hipped roof. On the north side is a two-story gabled projection above the entrance portico. This projection has three…

  • U.S.S. Relief

    From 1898, the Tragic Tale of Captain Gilman

    History stories about Governors Island are presented until the Island opens on May 28. I had a lot of material that would not fit into The Governors Island Explorer’s Guide. This tragic story about an Army officer from the Island, sick and dying during the Spanish-American War in 1898, is a lost story that I came across. It says as much about courage as it does the ill-prepared medical corps. One-hundred seventeen years ago Benjamin Hidden Gilman, West Point Class of 1872, died with his wife and son at his bedside on Governors Island. The little family was in their house in one of the officers’ quarters. Perhaps it was…

  • The Hills

    New York Post: The Hills Open in 2016

    The New York Post today has a good story about the progress of The Hills. While The Trust For Governors Island was always planning to have The Hills ready to use in 2016, this story confirms it. The development on the South end of the Island has been coming to a big milestone with The Hills being prepared for visitors. The other salient point in the article is that 1,000 more trees are being planted this spring, which is on top of the more than 2,000 that have been planted in the past three years. The story says: Governors Island is on the fast-track to getting a lot greener, with…

  • History

    What Governors Island Was Like in 1890

    What was life like for soldiers stationed on Governors Island? Here is an account that appeared in The World, Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper, in 1890. The headline: “Beautiful Lawns and Pretty Homes Under Frowning Guns.” This was twenty years before the Island was expanded by landfill, officers rode horses on the Parade Ground, and there was no electricity. The unnamed reporter includes a brief history of Governors Island (not wholly accurate). Fort Columbus was the 19th Century name for Fort Jay, renamed in 1904. (Note: No words have been changed). From The World, June 5, 1890, page 3. The life of one of Uncle Sam’s soldiers, if he is lucky enough…