South Island Field Will Be Busy in 2011

South Island Field is the biggest open space on Governors Island, at more than 22 acres. It’s the area that is closed to the public except for large events. This summer will be the busiest time ever for South Island Field. I was predicting that the island will break the half-million visitor mark (in 2010 it hit 443,000 visitors); now I’m thinking the attendance record will be broken before Labor Day. Here are some things happening on South Island Field.

Polo is back again. According to Amy (New York’s best blogger over at Newyorkology), the Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic will be back on June 5. The last 2 years HRH Prince Harry was on the island; no word if he’ll be jetting over one more time. But how great would it be if he brought Pippa Middleton with him? I saw someplace that the woman who made a lot of the hats for the Royal Wedding also made the ones for the polo classic.

The Little League won’t be tearing the covers off too many baseballs this season. It looks like the Downtown Little League is just going to be out on the island on June 11-12. Maybe they can hold their championship out there? It’s great seeing the kids out on the field. The Coast Guard used to have a lot of diamonds here.

The very next weekend is the debut of the Governors Ball Music Festival. The lineup was announced in February for the one-day show on Saturday, June 18, put together by Founders Entertainment. The headliners are Girl Talk, Pretty Lights, Empire of the Sun (what a great book), Big Boi, Neon Indian and Miami Horror. Tickets are on sale now starting at $95. Here’s an interview with one of the promoters; expect a lot of dancing.

But the weekend that will really set the attendance record will probably be August 26-28 when the Dave Matthews Band Caravan comes to the island, after stops in Atlantic City and Chicago. This will be three days, with about 20,000 fans each day. Aside from the Grammy-winning Dave Matthews, others on the bill are the Roots, Dispatch, Gogol Bordello, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, and the Head and the Heart. Tickets are $195 for a three-day pass. Note that New York Waterway is running the ferries for this event, so it won’t impact the lines at the Battery Maritime Building. They are also running from Jersey City and Brooklyn too.

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.