Feature stories about Governors Island and the people and places.

  • The Sperrys
    Features,  News

    WWI Lovebirds: Aviator & Actress Wed on Governors Island

    February is Aviation Month at the Governors Island Explorer’s Guide. Lieutenant Lawrence B. Sperry, 23, and his fiancée, movie actress Winifred Allen, 20, climbed into the cockpit of a U.S. Navy biplane in Massapequa, Long Island, on the afternoon of February 18, 1917, and headed west. The couple landed thirty miles later on Governors Island. Lieutenant Sperry, a skilled aviator, then taxied the airplane directly to the door of St. Cornelius the Centurion Chapel for their wedding. Friends and family, officers from Fort Jay, and naval aviators welcomed the daring couple. So was Chaplain A.B. Smith, the army post’s curate. Rev. Smith and the guests were waiting on the chapel…

  • 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…

  • Features

    1960s Governors Island in the Snow, Painted by World War II Vet

    The beauty of Governors Island lends itself to the visual arts. Of course, photography, but also painting and sculpture. One of the first occupants of the Island after it transitioned to a public park was the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, which provides free studio space to artists in Building 110. However, there was an artist painting at Fort Jay fifty years ago. For a period of about twenty years a World War II veteran had a small studio on the island that allowed him to work on oil paintings of island scenes, all with a U.S. Coast Guard theme. This was John D. Wisinski, and his art is now part…

  • Features

    National Park Service Hosts Civil War Weekend Aug. 8-9

    We are happy to report the Governors Island National Monument will be hosting the annual Civil War Weekend August 8 and 9 this month. The island fills with scores of living history enthusiasts that bring the 1860s to the park. The National Park Service and volunteers are joined by dozens of Civil War re-enactors in uniform. See camp life, watch cannon and rifle demonstrations, and learn about the history of Governors Island when it was an important Army post. All of the activities are centered around the National Monument at Fort Jay, Castle Williams, and the Soldiers Camp nearby. Free tours of Fort Jay and Castle Williams are offered. For…

  • Food trucks on Governors Island. (Credit: The Live Fast Group)

    Grab A Plate, Here’s the Food Truck Schedule for Several Vendors

    (Part of a series on Island business) Food trucks are extremely popular on Governors Island, which at this time has no permanent restaurants. The trucks have been a mainstay for more than five years, and of course, the island is home to the annual Vendy Awards, which this year will be held on September 12. Today there are more than a dozen food trucks on the island; some are under the @govislandfood Twitter handle. Other food trucks are on the island independently. Most are gathered around Liggett Hall (Building 400) nearby Liggett Terrace. We got the lowdown from Ben Goldberg, CEO of the Live Fast Group, about which trucks are…

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  • Features

    Brothel Rolls onto Island, Poetry Fans Are Customers

    With the annual New York City Poetry Festival coming up on July 25 and 26, we are checking in with some of the groups that are participating. The Poetry Brothel is returning to Governors Island and bringing the poetry whores to Building 407 on Brick Row, an 1894 officers’ quarters. We spoke to co-founder Stephanie Berger about what to expect in her house of ill-fame. Don’t forget to bring cash to have a poem read to you. What is the history of The Poetry Brothel and how did it start? What is your mission? Nicholas Adamski and I started The Poetry Brothel in late 2007/early 2008 to revitalize the concept…

  • Brooklyn ARTery

    Brooklyn ARTery Brings Local Artisans & Activities to Nolan Park

    The arts are represented well on Governors Island, but one special place not to miss is the Brooklyn ARTery. This is where artists from around the world have handmade items on display and for sale, but also where free DIY classes and events are held for all. The group prides itself on having items from local artists and fair trade artisans worldwide. Brooklyn ARTery is in Building 10, an 1878 house built for an officer and his family, on the end of Nolan Park. It is open Saturdays and Sundays, 11 AM to 5 PM, but will stay until 6 if it’s busy. Their online calendar lists special events. We…

  • Features

    Explore Art Kibbutz in Nolan Park on Sundays

    Tucked into Building 6 in Nolan Park, a former Army officers’ quarters built in 1878, is Art Kibbutz. This is the only Jewish arts organization on the island, and it is presenting unique programming that is free and open to the public to view on Sundays. What is the history of Art Kibbutz and how did it start? Art Kibbutz is an international Jewish artist residency, community of 500+ artists and hub. Our mission is to foster global arts conversation and exchange among artists of exceptional talent in an inspiring and peaceful space to work, learn, and seriously explore the rich heritage of Jewish experience that informs their creative process.…

  • Sculptors Guild 2015

    Sculptors Guild Returns to Nolan Park

    Fifth in a Series. Ever since Governors Island opened to the public in 2003, art has been very important to the former military base. It’s been an exciting destination for fans of modern and contemporary art to see the numerous outdoor and indoor pieces. The Sculptors Guild is among those organizations that participates by setting up in Nolan Park. They are located in Building 15, formerly officer’s quarters built in 1878. The exhibit is open Saturdays, Sundays and Holiday Mondays 12-5. We got the information on what is on view for 2015 from Michael Wolf. He said that the opening reception is this Saturday, June 6, 2-5pm. There should be…

  • Writing On It All

    Writing On It All Returns to Put Words on Walls

    Fourth in a Series Nolan Park welcomes back Writing On It All for another season on Governors Island. A unique program where writers write directly on the walls of a house, this one-of-a-kind public session is free and open to all. It is in Building 8, officers’ quarters built in 1878. Sessions are held each Saturday and Sunday in June. All open sessions begin at 1pm. The house will remain open for an hour after each session, 3-4 PM. We asked the organizations project manager, Zina Goodall, a few questions about the 2015 season. What is the history of Writing On It All and how did it start? Writing On…