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 first time, delighting New Yorkers and tourists alike over the spring, summer and fall, from a colorful springtime festival in May to an extraordinary pumpkin patch in October, and over 80 free cultural events in between. Our programing this year was more diverse than ever and included a concerted effort to further integrate environmental stewardship and education into our mission, complementing the arts and cultural programming that is such an important part of the Island’s identity today.”

“As a car-free environment, we are already a cycling destination like no other, but this year we hosted a number of runs, a swim around the Island, free kayaking and added more recreational options for visitors such as ziplining and rock climbing. The recent reconstruction of the historic Parade Ground as natural fields for local sports leagues will allow even more opportunities next season. More food choices were added for the Island’s visitors, including a new waterfront oyster bar with spectacular views of the Lower Manhattan skyline. We also experimented with late nights, staying open until 10PM on select summer Fridays, with visitors experiencing sunset views of the Statue of Liberty for the first time. “

“Looking toward the future, we’ve reorganized The Trust to better focus on maintaining the new park while planning for activation of the Island’s Historic District and future development. We entered into a historic partnership with The Friends of Governors Island, charging them with fundraising and expanding our visitor services. Thanks to the City of New York, we were able to secure additional capital funding for transportation improvements and infrastructure upgrades to support future development across the Island. Finally, we started construction of a new ferry that will dramatically improve access to the Island, moving us closer to a year-round community. “

Highlights from the 2017 Season

This year, for the first time, New Yorkers enjoyed Governors Island from May to October, as we expanded our public season by two months. Opening the Island for a longer, six-month season was made possible by identifying savings in The Trust’s annual operating budget.

The number of people enjoying the Island has doubled since construction started on the park in 2012, with a record number of visitors enjoying Governors Island in 2017.

Nearly 800,000 visitors came to Governors Island in 2017, an increase of 33% from 2016.

Over 8,500 ferry trips operated by The Trust from Lower Manhattan & Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Pier 102 served as a third ferry terminal and new gateway for visitors for the first time, bringing more passengers via the NYC Ferry service.

2 new routes via NYC Ferry connected more passengers to Governors Island from Long Island City in Queens all the way to Bay Ridge in Brooklyn.

The new Welcome Center opened in partnership with The Friends. The new Welcome Center improved visitor orientation and customer service.

Six new grilling stations were added at Picnic Point serving nearly 14,000 visitors.

After restoring the Parade Ground this year, we’re ready to welcome soccer, football and lacrosse games in 2018.

Island Oyster: A new waterfront dining experience with a sustainable seafood menu, craft cocktails and an unforgettable view. Over 40,000 oysters were shucked this summer!

More cycling options: A third Citi Bike station was installed at Picnic Point and nearly 60,000 bikes and surreys were rented in 2017.

For the first full season, visitors had a new, award-winning, resilient park to explore. Rising 25-70 feet, the Hills offer an extraordinary 360-degree vista of New York Harbor. Through volunteer programs and innovative horticulture practices, our team is caring for over 3,000 young trees and 43,000 new shrubs and grasses.

$400M Capital Plan. Thanks to ongoing support from the City of New York and private donors, The Trust has been able to undertake an ambitious capital plan, expanding access to the Island’s 172 acres. Since 2010, over $300M has been invested into building a new park and infrastructure. This spring, the City of New York invested an additional $34M in our capital budget, bringing our next phase of capital construction to over $100M. These funds will upgrade and improve our transportation and utility infrastructure to support the Island’s next phase of development.

A New Ferry: As our visitors and tenants grow, our transportation fleet must keep up. This year The Trust awarded a contract to Blount Boats, a family-owned Rhode Island shipyard, to build a new passenger ferry that will carry to 1,000 passengers to the Island per hour with service every 20 minutes. The new ferry will launch in 2019, expanding accessibility and convenience with quick, efficient and frequent service.

Read the rest of the report here.

Kevin C. Fitzpatrick has written and edited seven books with ties to New York history, including "The Governors Island Explorer's Guide" and "World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War." Kevin is a licensed sightseeing guide and has been leading walking tours since 1999. He resides in Manhattan.