Michael Arenella

Full 2013 Island Schedule Announced

The Trust for Governors Island today announced the wide range of festivals, events and performances in its 2013 public access season. Programming will take place throughout the Island’s Historic District. Ferries will once again bring visitors from Manhattan and Brooklyn and visitors can also take the East River Ferry to the Island. Governors Island is open every Saturday, Sunday and Holiday Monday (Memorial Day and Labor Day) from May 25 through September 29.

New exhibitions and programs include WW II & NYC: Photography and Propaganda, presented by the New York Historical Society, which will paint a vivid picture of life in war-mobilized New York through photographs, posters and a Victory Garden. In conjunction with the exhibit, The New York Historical Society will offer hands-on activities for all ages beginning July 13th. In addition, the Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library, and Queens Library are partnering with the Uni Project, New York City’s portable outdoor reading room, to provide books, learning activities, and children’s programs throughout the summer. Visitors will be able to borrow books “in house”, register for library cards, sign up for summer reading, learn more about the Uni, and learn about what’s happening in each of the three New York City public library systems. Bike New York will offer classes where visitors can learn to ride and brush up on their bike skills.

“Governors Island will be a festival of arts, cultural and recreational programs for all ages to enjoy this summer,” said Ronay Menschel, chair of The Trust for Governors Island. “We look forward to welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors who will discover new offerings as well as some of their favorites from prior years.”

Visitor favorites that are returning this year include the Jazz Age Lawn Party, FIGMENT’s minigolf, Tree House and City of Dreams Pavilion, and the Unicycle Festival. The theme of this year’s nine hole FIGMENT mini golf course is “State of the Art.” The Lower Manhattan Cultural Council will also host a series of exhibits and open artist studios throughout the season.

Visitors will also once again be able to enjoy guided programs with the National Park Service, explore Castle Williams and Fort Jay and experience special youth programs. The highlight of the 2013 public access season will be a French festival of vintage carnival rides and carousels, opening in mid-July. The festival will take place in Nolan Park. More details about the festival will be released later this season.

Programming throughout this season will take place in the National Historic District. The southern half of the Island, including Picnic Point, will be closed, with the exception of hard hat tours, while The Trust continues construction of 30 new acres of park and public spaces, work on the Island’s seawall and potable water pipe, and the demolition of non-historic buildings.

“The ambitious construction work that is underway on the Island’s southern half is setting the stage for a new chapter for Governors Island,” said Leslie Koch, president of The Trust for Governors Island. “We look forward to welcoming the public this season and offering them a chance to see the construction underway.”

On the southern portion of the Island, The Trust construction program includes work to restore potable water by drilling a new pipe to Brooklyn and installing distribution lines around the island. Major work has also already begun on the 2.2 mile seawall, particularly on the Island’s southwestern corner, near Picnic Point. This portion of the seawall will be replaced with a new rip-rap revetment. The water pipe and seawall work will require the excavation of nearly all of the promenade on the southern end of the Island. The closure of the southern portion is necessary to ensure the safety of the public and the on-time completion of these projects, which will improve the island for the next generation.

“We congratulate The Trust on their progress on the park and public spaces and look forward to another exciting season welcoming visitors to enjoy the Island’s rich stories and outstanding harbor views from Castle Williams,” said Patti Reilly, Superintendent of Governors Island National Monument.

A new attraction on Governors Island this season is the Viewing Platform @ Liggett Arch. From the Platform, visitors will be able to see the entire 30 acre construction site where The Trust is creating the new park and public spaces. These 30 new acres include lively plazas, a shady botanic forest, two ball fields and expansive lawns. Free hard hat tours for the public will also be offered on select afternoons. More information about these tours will be posted on govisland.com.

Visitors can again bring their own bikes to the Island or they can rent one while visiting. Bike and Roll’s™ Free Bike Mondays will be offered on Memorial Day and Labor Day. On Free Bike Mondays, visitors can borrow a bike for free for up to one hour.

Visitors can also bring their own picnics or can enjoy a variety of food on the Island. The Island will host a range of food vendors each weekend, located in the King Avenue Food Court in the Historic District.

A full schedule of 2013 events and programs is below:

Ongoing Events and Exhibits

Children’s Museum of the Arts Free Art Island Outpost Program: May 25-
September 29, Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am to 3 pm
Join CMA’s Teaching Artists for free hands on art-making each weekend. Collaborate with other visitors on a variety of themed art workshops including painting, sound design, sculpture, animation, podcasting, and more!! For more information visit www.cmany.org.

Rising Tide presented by the Sculptors Guild, 11 am to 5 pm
Almost six months after Hurricane Sandy, artists across the region are still putting the pieces of their lives back together, getting into their (in some cases, devastated) studios, and creating new work. This show will acknowledge rising tides of all stripes (political, social, psychological) in the hope of drawing attention to the new forms that result — to the bright and shiny treasures that have now washed ashore. For more information visit sulptorsguild.org.

WWII & NYC: Photography and Propoganda, Presented by the New York
Historical Society, June 15-September 2, 10 am to 6:30 pm
This exhibition paints a vivid picture of life in war-mobilized New York, when virtually every
industry, institution and home was transformed into a venture to support Allied victory. Through moving black-and-white photos, iconic propaganda posters and an authentic Victory Garden, experience what total war meant for New Yorkers. Hands-on activities for all ages will be offered beginning July 13th.

Empire Historic Arts presents Shipwrecked! A History of Maritime Disasters in
NYC Harbor, May 25-September 29
“Shipwrecked!” will provide thousands of visitors to Governors Island an inside look at local maritime mayhem. Using artifacts pulled up from the depths of New York City’s harbors, and related sea and sailor materials, we will be creating a story that will illuminate both the history of the island and the surrounding areas. The exhibit includes artifacts from public and private collections up and down the Hudson, many never before seen by the public.

Better Than Jam: handmade gifts shop: May 25- September 29, 11 am-6pm
For its third year, the Brooklyn boutique of all locally handmade products, will be bringing the creations of New York City’s most talented artists and crafters. BTJ will be moving back into one of the beautiful and historic houses of Nolan Park and the cute yellow Victorian home will be filled with the work of talented people, who have created some amazing and original products just for the island shop. Visitors will get to take home a tangible memento from their Governors Island visit—a souvenir that was designed and crafted nearby with the island in mind. FREE family-friendly demonstrations and workshops on Saturdays 1-4, will be hosted by the Etsy New York Team, to teach visitors some of their skills, used in creating these unique products.

Mü-Math: The Mobile Unit to Promote Mathematical Thinking, 11am to 5pm
Mü-Math returns for its second summer on Governors Island with a baker’s dozen of “hands on, minds on” brain stumpers designed to engage children from 8 to 80. Jump some taxi cabs, split up some apartments, or figure out the missing number on a subway car, you’ll be entertained and maybe even educated along the way.

FIGMENT 2013 Summer-Long Installations, June 8-September 22
This summer, FIGMENT’s acclaimed interactive Sculpture Garden, artist-designed Minigolf Course and City of Dreams Pavilion welcome visitors to the Parade Ground to play with, dance around, contemplate on, and experience these wonderfully imaginative installations. One centerpiece of FIGMENT’s summer-long installations for 2013 is the Treehouse, expanded and returning to Governors Island for a third year.

2013 also heralds the return of the City of Dreams Pavilion: FIGMENT, the Emerging New York Architect Committee (ENYA) of the American Institute of Architects New York Chapter (AIANY), and the Structural Engineers Association of New York (SEAoNY) proudly present Studio Klimoski Chang Architects’ Head in the Clouds as the winner of the third annual City of Dreams Pavilion Competition. Head in the Clouds will offer visitors the chance to walk into the clouds, experiencing them from the inside out.

This year’s Minigolf Course is based on the theme “State of the Art.” The artist-designed golf holes invite visitors to putt newer! faster! better!, and feel the spirit of visionaries past into the present with innovative ideas and breathless concepts of “the future.” For more information, visit http://newyork.figmentproject.org/long-termLower

Manhattan Cultural Council Presents Building 110: LMCC’s Arts Center at
Governors Island, 11am-6pm
LMCC and its artists-in-residence welcome audience to Building 110’s Gallery and their studios. Discover new artists, engage in the artistic process and simply enjoy the art in this stunning setting this summer. LMCC is also the lead presenter of the River to River Festival, a four- week, multidisciplinary arts festival throughout Lower Manhattan. For more information visit www.lmcc.net and rivertorivernyc.com.

Bike Governors Island
Experience miles of car-free biking. Visitors can bring their own bikes or rent one from Bike and Roll. Bike and Roll has bikes for all sizes and abilities, including kids’ bikes, kids’ trailers and four-seater quadcycles. 1-866-RENT-A-BIKE or visit bikeandroll.com.


Hard Hat Tours of the New Park and Public Spaces Under Construction, select
weekend afternoons. Take a hard hat tour with members of The Trust for Governors Island and the West 8 Design. Team to see the 30 new acres of Governors Island’s park and public spaces under construction. Dates and times of tours will be posted on govisland.com.

Vintage Baseball, Saturday and Sunday May 25-26, Saturday, June 29, Saturday
July 27, Saturday August 24 and Saturday, August 21
See baseball played as it was at the turn of the last century! Visit the Parade Ground and enjoy America’s pastime the way it used to be played!

Pop Up Library presented by Brooklyn Public Library, New York Public Library,
and Queens Library. Brooklyn, New York and Queens Public Libraries partner with the Uni Project, New York City’s portable outdoor reading room, to provide books, learning activities, and children’s programs throughout the summer. Visitors will be able to borrow books “in house”, register for library cards, sign up for summer reading, learn more about the Uni, and learn about what’s happening in each of the three New York City public library systems.

Bike New York Classes, Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, July 28, Saturday, September 7, 11am. Learn how to ride a bike for the first time or brush up on your basic biking skills with free Bike New York classes on Governors Island. For details and free pre-registration visit

The Skate Truck NYC, Sundays in June, July and August
The Skate Truck NYC provides roller-skating equipment, helmets and safety equipment to
skaters of any age. Skate for fun. Skate for health. Skate for life! For more information, visit skatetrucknyc.com.

Writing On It All, June 16, 22, 23 and 30, 12pm-3pm
Writing on It All is a series of participatory events where artists, writers, and interested
members of the public can come together to write all over the inside of an out-of-use house in Nolan Park. Participants explore the nature of writing as collaborative, material, site-specific, and ephemeral. Through prompts that support site-specific writing, invited artists and the public will have the chance to explore the relation between writing, history and the constructed environment of Governors Island. For more info on sessions and artists visit writingonitall.com

LMCC’s Open Studios: Visual and Performing Artists at Building 110, May 25-26,
July 13-14, September 28-29, 12pm to 5pm
LMCC’s Open Studios make accessible what is often viewed as the mysterious or secretive process of art-making and offer visitors the unique opportunity to tour artists’ studios, watch rehearsals, attend readings, and speak with artists-in-residence about their work and practice. For more information visit Open Studios.

Jazz Age Lawn Party: Saturday and Sunday June 15 and 16th and August 17 and 18
Michael Arenella and His Dreamland Orchestra invite you to the beloved Jazz Age Lawn Party — a dream of the 1920s nestled right in the heart of New York Harbor! Now in its eighth year, the event has become the quintessential outdoor celebration of the Jazz Age and its living legacy. Under a canopy of century-old trees, caressed by fresh sea air, a delightful array of offerings abound throughout the day including: live music and dance performances, dance instruction for the hottest dance steps of the time, games for all ages and a wide variety of 1920’s inspired refreshments and gourmet food for purchase. Tickets are required for this event. Advance General Admission tickets can be purchased at http://dreamlandorchestra.com/calendar.php. If space is available, tickets will be sold at the door.

Chambers Performances, Saturdays and Sundays, July 6-July 21, 11:30 AM, 1 PM,
2:30 PM, 4 PM, 5:30 PM
4Chambers is a sensorial journey into the human heart. Jody Oberfelder Dance Projects
transform Officers’ House #15 in Nolan Park into an intimate performance space with corridors that function as arteries and veins leading to four discrete chambers. Guided by six cast members, an audience of 12 moves through the space, monitoring their own hearts throughout. Reservations begin June 3rd. Contact: [email protected] for more information.

4 Heads Art Fair, weekends in September, 11am – 6pm. The 4 Heads take over dozens of rooms in an historic building on Governors Island. More information at 4heads.org.

ArtShare for HeartShare, Weekends in September, 11:30am to 5:30pm
This exhibition showcases the talents and creative abilities of artists with intellectual and
developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorders, cerebral palsy, epilepsy and neurological impairment. The ArtShare for HeartShare program is available to artists in HeartShare Human Services of New York’s developmental disabilities program. Participants in the program are supported in their creative endeavors by volunteer artists in residence and a dedicated committee throughout the year. The program provides professional quality arts materials and culminates in an annual exhibition at the New Century Artists Gallery, in Chelsea gallery district of Manhattan. The annual exhibition will be celebrating its 5th year of exhibiting in 2013. This is the second year that ArtShare for HeartShare will be exhibiting on Governors


Saturday, May 25, Opening Day Family Festival, 1pm-4pm
Join the Governors Island Alliance in Nolan Park for arts and crafts, musical and theatrical
performances, and harbor-education activities for kids. Sponsored by the Governors Island Alliance. For more information, visit governorsislandalliance.org.

Saturday, May 25, LMCC’s Open Studios: Season of Cambodia “In Residence”,
12pm to 5pm
LMCC is proud to be a part of the Season of Cambodia Festival, a city-wide initiative of
Cambodian Living Arts celebrating the arts and culture of Cambodia. Join us in the Gallery at Building 110 and meet the six Cambodian artists who have been in residence since April 2013. For more information, Season of Cambodia.

Saturday June 8 and Sunday June 9, FIGMENT NYC, 10am to 6pm
FIGMENT is a free, inclusive, participatory arts event held in multiple cities and drawing tens of thousands of participants each year. Now in its 7th year on Governors Island, FIGMENT NYC removes the barriers of museum and gallery walls and entrance fees, and blurs the lines between those who create and those who enjoy art. At FIGMENT you will find works in every imaginable medium including sculpture, installation, performance, music, workshops, games, social experiments, and heart-stopping technological innovations that change the way we see the world… and visitors are invited to bring something, too! FIGMENT NYC has been named the Best Art Festival in New York by the Village Voice, and BBC Travel writes, “If FIGMENT were a country, it would be the happiest in the world—and I would apply for citizenship immediately.” See you at FIGMENT! What are you bringing?

Saturday June 22nd, RECESS Badminton 12pm-5pm
Dust off those badminton rackets and birdies as RECESS returns to Colonels Row for their infamous outdoor badminton challenge featuring 32 creative organizations battling for the title of New York City’s supreme shuttle cockers! Festivities include free bike rides, food vendors, a beer/wine tent and guest deejays. Plus a few public courts. Visit http://www.recessnewyork.com for more information.

Saturday, July 13 Come Out & Play Field Day and Family Day at the Parade Ground
as part of the River To River Festival, 11am to 5pm
City-sized fun for kids and adults, Field Dy and Family Day events turn Governors Island into a giant play ground for all. New games, new experiences, and new takes on old favorites, Field Day and Family Day give participants the opportunity to rediscover each other and the city they call home through joyful interactive play. For more information: Come Out & Play.

Saturday, July 13: Rite of Summer presents Bang on a Can All Stars, 1 and 3pm
Formed in 1992, the Bang on a Can All-Stars are recognized worldwide for their ultra-dynamic live performances and recordings of today’s most innovative music. Freely crossing the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world and experimental music, this six-member amplified ensemble has consistently forged a distinct category-defying identity, taking music into uncharted territories. Performing each year throughout the U.S. and internationally, the All-Stars have shattered the definition of what concert music is today. Visit Bang on a Can

Saturday, July 20th: Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance presents The City of Water
Day Festival, 10am-4pm
A day of entertainment, education and adventure celebrating our waterfront and its potential. Enjoy free boat tours, children’s activities, fishing, the Waterfront Activity Fair, and more! For more information, visit www.cityofwaterday.org.

Saturday and Sunday, July 27 and 28, 11am-5pm: New York City Poetry Festival
The Poetry Society of New York will once again invite New Yorkers to come together for this two day festival to celebrate NYC’s vibrant poetry community. The event will include over 50 poetry organizations and 200 poets on its three stages; a Vendor’s Village where
local booksellers, artists and craftmakers will sell their wares; a beer garden sponsored by
Brooklyn Brewery; healthy and delicious food options; poetic installation art throughout, and, of course, the Children’s Festival at NYCPF, this year sponsored by Writopia!

Sunday, July 28: New York Hall of Science presents Designing for Flight with
NYSCI, 12pm-4pm
As part of the programming for the summer exhibit, Design Zone, NYSCI will be going out to Governors Island to run Designing for Flight, a fun, design-focused day–exposing some of the design and science involved in common and exciting forms of flight. This science outreach event invites the public to bring their own kites (BYOK) to fly, enjoy demos by NYSCI Explainers, and experiment with making flying machines.

Saturday, August 10: Rite of Summer presents an Homage to Stravinsky’s Rite of
Spring: Ljova and the Kontraband and Fireworks Ensemble, 1 and 3pm
Ljova and the Kontraband is chamber-jam music for the “remix generation.” As if by alchemy, Eastern-European and Gypsy melodies, Latin rhythms, Jazz-inspired improvisations, and deeply rooted Classical forms are given new meanings in original compositions that fearlessly forge a new direction, with a nostalgic gaze towards the past.

Saturday Aug 24th RECESS Bocce 12pm-5pm
Itchy for bocce anyone? Join RECESS for a day of outdoor fun in the sun as 32 creative
organizations put their lawn skills to the test, rolling and knocking off each other’s bocce balls on the makeshift grass courts on Colonel’s Row. Festivities include free bike rides, food vendors, a beer/wine tent and guest deejays. Plus a few public courts. Visit
http://www.recessnewyork.com for more information.

Sunday, August 25: The NYC Volkswagen Traffic Jam, 10am
The Traffic Jam is a spectator-judged vintage Volkswagen car show and picnic. With great views behind a vibrant line-up of nearly 100 Beetles, buses, dune buggies, Things, and other original VW’s circa 1950’s – 1970’s, this car show is a one-of-a-kind event for both the casual spectator and classic VW enthusiast. Because show cars ride a ferry to get to the event, registration is mandatory to secure a spot at the show. Registration opens June 30th. Registration will be first-come, first-served. Car Registration $20.00 and spectators attend for free. Visit www.vwtrafficjam.com

Saturday and Sunday, August 31 and September 1, NYC Unicycle Festival, noon
The 2013 NYC Unicycle Festival rolls onto Governors Island on Labor Day weekend. Activities include races, competitions, exhibitions, a variety of unicycle sports including unicycle basketball and hockey, world-famous riders will display their skills, and members of the public have the opportunity to try one—wheel riding. nycunifest.com

Sunday, September 1: Rite of Summer presents Rite a Thon, 12pm to 5pm
Performances by Pam Goldberg and Blair McMillen in Colonels Row.

National Park Service Programs

On Wednesdays and Thursdays
Hiking Through History: Governors Island’s Historic District
Join the National Park Service for a hike through the National Historic Landmark District on Governors Island. Park rangers will guide you on a 1.5-mile, 1.5-hour tour through over 200 years of history in one of New York’s most historic and beautiful places. Tours begin with the arrival of 10am and 2:15pm via Manhattan ferry.

Get Fortified: Exploring Castle Williams and Fort Jay, 12:15pm
Learn about the rich histories of Fort Jay and Castle Williams, two of the best-preserved forts of their era, on this 1.5-hour walking tour. Explore the depths of the powder magazine and the cells of Castle Williams and climb to the castle’s roof and take in a grand panoramic view of New York Harbor. Tours begin with the arrival of the 12:15pm Manhattan ferry.

Artillery Thursdays, June 14-September 27
Great balls of fire! Learn about the US Army’s cannons on Governors Island during the 1800s. This tour, which includes demonstrations, requires participants to walk about two-thirds of a mile.

On Fridays
Programs for Youth: Bring Them Back Alive! 10 am
Discover what life was like on Governors Island and in New York City. Learn to drill like a Civil War soldier and hear stories of the women and girls of the time. Please call 646-241-2670 or email [email protected] to make a reservation. The program begins with the arrival of the 10am Manhattan ferry, with return on the noon ferry.

Ranger’s Choice Programs: Spin the Bottle on History, 12:15 pm
Join a National Park Ranger and take 90 minutes to learn about a fascinating—and
unexpected—aspect of Governors Island history. Reservations are required; visit nps.gov/gois or call for each week’s program.

National Park Service Special Programs
Saturday, June 22 Army Heritage Day, 11am-6pm
Re-enanctors and small displays bring back a sense of Governors Island 200 year long history as an Army post.

Saturday and Sunday August 10-11 Civil War Heritage Weekend, 11am-6pm
With the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and the New York Draft Riots, living
historians offer a glimpse of Civil War life as a solider with camp, musket and cannon firing

How to Get to Governors Island
Governors Island is open every Saturday – Sunday and all Holiday Mondays through September 29.

From Manhattan: Ferries leave from the Battery Maritime Building, on the corner of South and Whitehall Streets. Ferries leave at 10 AM, 11 AM and then every half hour.
From Brooklyn: Ferries leave from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 at the foot of Atlantic Avenue beginning at 11 AM. Ferries run every 20 minutes.

East River Ferry Service: Visitors to the Island can also take the East River Ferry Service for $4.

For a full schedule of the East River Ferry and for fare information visit

For up to date ferry schedules and downloadable maps, please visit www.govisland.com.

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.