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dbhstockton
February 1st, 2003, 01:15 PM
Oh no. *And how are we going to decide what to build there? *The same way we do for the WTC?

Agglomeration
February 1st, 2003, 10:49 PM
The present structures for the island will probably stay the way they are for the present.

Kris
February 23rd, 2003, 05:16 AM
February 23, 2003
Off Lower Manhattan, Island Hopes for Invasion ... by Tourists
By TERRY PRISTIN

When Governors Island was returned to New York State last month after two centuries under federal control, the most immediate beneficiary was not the state or the city. It was a federal agency that had waited seven years for the transfer: the National Park Service.

Most of the 172-acre island, a former military base that has been off limits to the public, is now in the custody of a new city-state agency with the cumbersome name Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, which will have to figure out just exactly what to do with its new prize.

The park service, though, has a clearer role. The changeover means that its officials will finally have a chance to introduce the public to the slice of history embodied by the 22 acres that have been designated a national monument. The monument encompasses seven buildings, including two forts from the early 19th century, Fort Jay and Castle Williams, which were once vital to the city's security.

Park service officials say they have a compelling story to tell that has become even more relevant in light of the Sept. 11 terror attacks. On a recent tour of the monument, Linda Neal, the project director, stood on a snow-covered road below the round red sandstone fort known as Castle Williams and gazed at the Lower Manhattan skyline.

"Sept. 11 raised a lot of people's awareness of the importance of the harbor and its defenses," she said. "The fortifications are obviously passé in terms of the technology, but the story is the same. We still need protection in New York City."

The strategic value of Governors Island — known originally as Nutten Island — apparently went unrecognized by the Dutch settlers who acquired it in 1637. But the island's potential was not lost on American colonists. When the Revolution broke out, they fortified the island and used it to prevent the British from landing at the southern tip of Manhattan.

In 1800, the island was transferred to the federal government from New York, and work began on the two permanent forts, including the star-shaped Fort Jay at the island's northern end. During the War of 1812, these forts helped deter a British attack on New York. During the Civil War, Castle Williams became a prison that housed as many as 1,000 Confederate soldiers. Prisoners awaiting execution were sent to a dungeon at Fort Jay.

Despite Governors Island's proximity to New York, few residents have ever visited it, and most will have to wait a little longer because of the absence of public amenities and adequate transportation. The island is accessible only by ferry. Eventually, officials say, visitors to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will be able to stop at Governors Island as well.

But Ms. Neal said that by Memorial Day, the National Park Service hopes to be able to conduct some limited guided tours.

The park service, which manages nearly 27,000 acres in and around New York Harbor, has three years to work out a plan for rehabilitating, using and promoting its new national monument, but Ms. Neal said the work might be completed sooner.

The new monument was created by former President Bill Clinton just as he was leaving office in 2001. But Congress had determined that under the 1997 Balanced Budget Act, Governors Island had to be sold at fair market value. It was unclear if the monuments were supposed to be included in the sale, Ms. Neal said. In the end, though, New York got the island for a dollar, and President Bush reissued the monument proclamation on Feb. 7.

The acquisition will pose a challenge to the city-state agency, which needs to make the island self-sustaining. The agreement with the federal government bars large-scale commercial development and housing. City University is working on a plan to develop research and teacher-training centers with other universities, but no details have been offered. All that is certain so far is that 40 acres will be set aside as open space.

The park service is in a more enviable position. The current federal budget includes $1.1 million in operating expenses for the monument, and the park service has other financing sources to draw upon. Still, the agency is inviting revenue-generating ideas to help pay for renovations and upkeep.

Among the ideas floating around, Ms. Neal said, are a open-air theater within the walls of Castle Williams and an education center at Fort Jay.

Albert K. Butzel, the president of the Governors Island Alliance, a coalition of environmental, planning and business groups, said he had no problem with the park service's intention to make money from the forts.

"They ought to be able to use whatever's there," he said.


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Edward
March 9th, 2003, 10:18 PM
Castle Williams on Governors Island was used to hold Confederate enlisted men.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/governors_island_fort_williams_brooklyn_9march03.j pg

From CorrectionHistory.org:
http://www.correctionhistory.org/html/chronicl/cw_pows/html/cwpows4.html

GOVERNORS ISLAND

"Our men are now suffering very greatly from disease," wrote prisoner Andrew Norman, 7th Regiment, North Carolina Volunteers on September 30, 1861, while being held at Castle Williams on Governors Island. . . .

Dr. William J. Sloan, medical director of the Federal army, reported that the prisoners "are crowded into an ill-ventilated building which has always been an unhealthy one when occupied by large bodies of men.... There are now upwards of eighty cases of measles amongst them, a number of cases of typhoid fever, pneumonia, intermittent fever, etc. . . . Every building upon the island being crowded with troops, with a large number in tents, I know not how the condition of these prisoners can be improved except by a change of location.... If 100 are removed to Bedloe's Island as contemplated and including a large portion of the sick, there will be better facilities for improving the condition of those remaining [at Castle Williams]." Authorities took Doctor Sloan's advice and began transferring prisoners to Bedloe's Island in mid-October. Here they were confined at Fort Wood, a star-shaped rampart built in 1811 on the east side of the twelve-acre, eggshaped isle.

But conditions for the prisoners confined in all of New York's harbor facilities continued to worsen as illness and deaths increased. Finally, on October 30, all prisoners confined at Fort Lafayette, Governors Island, and Fort Wood were evacuated and transferred by steamer to newly-converted Fort Warren in Boston Harbor. Within a few months, though, as additional captives continued to be brought into the city, authorities ignored the previous recommendations, and again began filling the harbor facilities beyond capacity.

Fort Wood and Governors Island, consisting of Castle Williams and Fort Columbus, were situated in the Upper Bay area. Governors Island, 170 acres and 500 yards off the southern tip of Manhattan where the East and Hudson Rivers converge into the bay, was originally called Nutten, or Nut Island because of the massive grove of nut trees growing there. Wouter van Twiller, second governor of then New Netherland, purchased the island in 1637, and in 1698, the New York Assembly set the land aside for the "benefit and accommodation of His Majesty's governors," hence its present name. Castle Williams on the southern side of the island and Fort Columbus on the northern end of the isle were built originally as a defense against the British.

Fort Columbus dominated the island from a knoll. It was a red-brick, star-shaped structure built in 1794 with the name Fort Jay, in honor of John Jay, diplomat and the first Chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. . . . During the Civil War, a quadrangle of officers' dwellings within the fort served to confine captured Confederate officers. Although the combined capacity of Fort Columbus and Castle Williams was estimated at five hundred, more than that number were incarcerated there most of the time . . .

Castle Williams was a circular fort, and because of its shape, was often referred to as "the cheese box." It was named in honor of Lieutenant Colonel Jonathan Williams, who designed the structure. The fort was two hundred feet in diameter with walls of red sandstone forty feet high and eight feet thick. Construction had begun in 1807 but wasn't completed until 1811.

Castle Williams was used to hold Confederate enlisted men. These men were confined to their quarters at all times, while the officers at Fort Columbus were given the privilege of roaming about the west and south sides of the island. At times, the prisoner population of Castle Williams included deserters from the U.S. army, but generally it served as a POW facility.

ShowBiz
April 15th, 2003, 11:12 PM
Oh Wow! *A Fort Jay message board! *I was stationed at Fort Jay in the early 60s. *I was so sad to find out that I can't take the ferry there anymore. *I return to NYC at least once a year and hope each time that Ft Jay can again be accessed. *Anyone who was stationed there from 1961-63 on this board? *If so, let's get some memories going.

Sincerely,

ShowBiz

ShowBiz
April 18th, 2003, 08:29 AM
Some geography about Gov Island. *Ft Jay itself is surrounded by a moat and located in a quadrangle. *There's a golf course, a huge parade ground where planes can land, and lovely old red brick buldings. The sidewalks in the main enlisted barracks area are paved with red cobblestones. *At one time, Gov Island was the home of an "army air corps" unit. *That explains the parade ground, which doubles as an air strip.

Lovely island. *Greatest place in the world to be stationed as a draftee back in the early 60's in the Greatest City in the World.

:)

Kris
July 24th, 2003, 11:00 PM
July 25, 2003

An Island That Took 203 Years to Welcome Tourists

By ANDREA ELLIOTT

It was always just out of reach.

Five minutes by ferry from the bustling concrete depths of Wall Street sits what could be a quaint New England town: stately, collegiate buildings framed by tree-lined walkways where the wind rustles through aging oak trees.

For 203 years, the oasis known as Governors Island was closed to the public, but that changed yesterday when more than 80 people took the first formal, public tour of what has become the city's newest national park.

"This is the unknown New York," said Barry Day, 69, a British playwright and author who lives in Manhattan for part of the year and took the tour. "You're so close to downtown this could be a haven."

The 172-acre island, which New York State sold to the federal government for $1 in 1800, was used by the United States Army until 1966, and then by the United States Coast Guard until 1997. The island was officially handed back to New York last January and is maintained by a public corporation governed by the city, the state and the National Park Service.

The public can now take a free walking tour of the island three days a week until Sept. 27, when the touring season for the island ends. Public tours will resume in the spring.

The sightseers yesterday, which included elementary school students, civic group leaders and park advocates, walked 1.5 miles around the northern area of the island, which features two 19th-century forts and a view of New York Harbor and Manhattan's jagged skyline.

The island has played host to several events of historical note. In the War of 1812, the forts on the island deterred a British attack on New York. In 1909, Wilbur Wright made his first over-water flight from the island. And in 1988, it was the site of the summit between President Ronald Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev.

The tour includes the 22-acre area now known as the Governors Island National Monument, which has as its central attraction the earthen-walled, star-shaped Fort Jay, one of the best-preserved forts in the nation.

"If the English had taken Governors Island, the course of the war could have dramatically changed," said Ken Bausch, the park ranger who guided the tour, as he stood in the middle of the Fort Jay's open courtyard.

The group gasped with surprise at the long, quiet stretches of shaded walkways, Victorian-era houses and tall, collegiate buildings where some 4,000 people lived when the Coast Guard used the island, Mr. Bausch said.

"Everything is in a lot better shape than I expected," said Susannah Sard, the executive director of the Women's City Club of New York. "It's surprisingly like a college campus. It has the ivory tower feeling."

Some of the younger members of the tour said they wanted more by way of adventure.

"It's interesting learning about historical facts," said Phuoc Huynh, 13, who lives in Brooklyn. He said he thought the experience would be more one of "chilling in the park, looking for artifacts."

One purpose of the tour is to introduce the public to the island in the hope that people will help determine how the space is used, said Robert Pirani, director of the Governors Island Alliance, a coalition of environmental, planning and business groups.

"We're hoping the public will take an active role in determining the future of this island," said Mr. Pirani said. "We want to make sure the people have a voice as it's being reinvented."

More information on the tours is available at governorsislandnationalmonument.org.


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

AJphx
July 24th, 2003, 11:51 PM
wow, the forts and historic area look very nice. * From that one pic, it looks like Castle Williams's interior needs to be restored, though. (what is that, glass on the inside?)

Kris
October 21st, 2003, 07:16 PM
A Dollar and a Dream

Jim Lima plans to make Governors Island New York's next great public place.

By Karen E. Steen

The Metropolis Observed

November 2003

The story was legend, bordering on myth: in a helicopter over the New York harbor, Senator Patrick Moynihan and President Bill Clinton shook hands on a deal that would transfer Governors Island--a decommissioned military base that predates the War of 1812--to the city and state of New York for a dollar. Years passed, both men left office, and New Yorkers waited, their hopes waning that an almost magically empty 172-acre island just a half mile from downtown Manhattan could someday become a public place.

Finally in January 2003 the federal General Services Administration made good. Twenty-two acres of the island were handed over to the National Park Service for a historic monument, with the remaining 150 acres going to the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC), a state and city partnership. Indeed negotiated for a dollar, the transfer to GIPEC stipulates that the land be developed primarily for civic, educational, and cultural uses, including 40 acres of parkland and a possible City University of New York campus. Complicating the program is one caveat: the island must generate enough income to pay for its substantial upkeep.

Spearheading this thrilling if overwhelming challenge is newly appointed GIPEC president James Lima. A veteran of the New York City Economic Development Commission and the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, he negotiated acquisition of the island and has led large-scale economic revitalization projects in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan. Metropolis senior editor Karen E. Steen spoke with him in early September, just as he was preparing to move into his new post.

Let's start with the basic mandate for the island. What are the key elements stipulated by the transfer?

Deed restrictions ensure that Governors Island be a public place for the foreseeable future, that it be a major new public park, that it have educational uses, and that it host cultural arts--opportunities that bring the broadest spectrum of visitors, residents, and workers from the local area and region (and really everywhere) to the island. Specifically we've committed to not developing casinos on the island, which was a proposal that gained some momentum in the past. There's also a fair degree of consensus that it not be utilized for permanent housing. There will be a lot of opportunity for hotels and extended-stay accommodations, dormitories related to the academic uses on the island, but the thought was that permanent housing is not the most public use for the place.

How do you integrate a new campus, hotels, a conference center, and so on, with the island's historic character? Do you try to be contextual, or do you draw a line and say, "That's historic over there, and over here we're doing something else"?

The island can be thought of in two parts. The northern 90 or so acres are largely part of the original configuration, before the landfill addition. That's the designated historic district [which includes the military fortifications Fort Jay and Castle Williams, erected prior to the War of 1812]. There are a couple of buildings that are considered intrusions into the historic district, which in the past preservation groups have called to be demolished, but are really exciting opportunities for contemporary buildings that are completely compatible with that unique historic district. South of Division Road are the 80-plus additional acres that the army created from the excavation of the east-side subway in the early 1900s: largely barrack housing, industrial-service buildings, and playing fields. There it's a very different context, and as you move away from the historic district, the configuration of buildings, their size and scale, presents a different opportunity.

Is there a chance for international design competitions on Governor's Island? Can we look forward to the possibility of a signature building?

I sure hope so. We'll have a coordinated master-planning effort, in which GIPEC and the National Parks Service will come up with the site plan and program for the two parts of the island that complement each other. Individual projects that will come out of that master plan present really exciting opportunities for international calls for both landscape architecture and individual building design. It's an extraordinary landscape-architecture assignment, an amazing opportunity to bring new buildings that relate to this incredibly rich existing landscape, and respond to the context, vistas, and history of the place.

The island is somewhat undefended geographically. Does the weather affect what can be done out there? Are there challenges, like how cold it gets, but also opportunities, like wind or wave power?

I can confirm it's an extremely windy place, so we should look at the options for capturing some of these alternative energy sources. It's going to be a factor: How do you create a harbor-front park that is enjoyable to use in the off-season, when it gets kind of cold and windy? That is part of the design challenge, in terms of building placement, site planning, and landscape planning.

We're committed to making the entire island sustainable, so we're overlaying that as one of the values on the island: converting the fuel we use for our ferries to cleaner alternatives; using the latest technologies including electric cars; the orientation of buildings; lowering energy needs; recycling water; exploring the possibilities of alternative energy sources and green roofs. We're really excited about the idea of creating possibly the first entirely green environment on a considerable scale.

I'm an avid sailor, and living on a boat makes you very aware of how much water you use, the waste you create, and the energy you use from batteries and things. So it's interesting to think of the island as a contained environment that ought to not only take care of itself but also not create excess waste.

How much of a role is there for the public in shaping the island's development?

A whole range of civic groups have met under the umbrella of the Governors Island Alliance and Community Board 1 and thought about, What does New York City need?

That formed the basis for our deed restrictions.There were some pretty strong voices, a lot of public discussion that happened once the Coast Guard announced that they were leaving, in the mid-1990s. There was concern that the island could even get auctioned to a private developer. So the advocacy that came out of that fear led to some positive and focused ideas about it being a financially self-sustaining but still public place. The challenge now is to find ways to strike the right balance of commercially viable uses that actually generate revenue to pay the bills for what are very significant fixed costs for us: operating something that's an island, has ferry-only access, has a sea wall of two and a half miles, and has 65 amazing historic properties that need constant maintenance and care. And then, prospectively, operating and maintaining a significant new park and supporting educational uses. We need some economic drivers here, and we need them early to really succeed. The hotel/conference idea we think can be a really good complement to the other uses on the island and a great fit with the specific buildings that are there now--and it would really benefit from the island's character as a retreat and a sanctuary only five minutes from Wall Street.

Has the World Trade Center site-planning process brought more attention to city redevelopment projects, or does it end up stealing the spotlight?

I see this as being part of Lower Manhattan's revitalization. We're going to have some early positive new projects come on line that will, I think, be part of that healing process. We'll be making recreational facilities on the island available quickly to community residents and coming up with a range of really interesting interim uses, such as art installations, performance art, and concerts. The public tours we started this summer sold out immediately. That was a first effort, even though we have only had the island for a few months, just to let the public get out there and see it. And it's only reaffirmed what we suspected, which is that there is going to be tremendous excitement at discovering what's just half a mile away.

Housing is not an option under the deed restrictions, so how do you create a neighborhood without neighbors? What can you do to build in personality that doesn't feel like a theme park?

First you focus on establishing some key anchors that are going to help on the economic side--educational, entertainment, cultural, and historical destination uses. Then once you have a strong economic base to build from, you can start to pull in a whole range of other locally based uses and to adaptively reuse some of these historic buildings and encourage the island to be a place that's about ideas, promoting the arts, and building upon the beauty that exists there in terms of both the landscape and the extraordinary architecture. This is going to be all about partnerships with private organizations, private investors, and philanthropists--people who see it as we see it, which is really as a legacy project. If somebody wants to shape a project at a location like no other, this is the place to do it. The Institute for the Study of...something. The Center for...blank.

I think it's going to have a lot of personality. It has a well-defined personality now as a completely unique intact historic district, which comes as a surprise to everyone who goes there. You see the care that was taken to preserve these historic buildings--plus we've got a bowling alley, a golf course, swimming pools, tennis courts, major piers, and an extraordinary esplanade overlooking Ellis and Liberty islands and the Lower Manhattan skyline. It will become a great public place.

I've been involved in a lot of these large-scale plans, and this is one that everyone you talk to, no matter who they are, has such a great feeling about. It gives people a sense of hope and optimism about the potential we have to do great things that are very public and create a great quality of life experience in New York.

www.metropolismag.com

Eugenius
October 22nd, 2003, 04:06 PM
I think that the golf course could be a tremendous cash cow. Given that there are no golf courses in NYC, and the closest alternative is the driving range at Chelsea Piers, they could have themselves an economic base just by opening up the golf course to Wall Street executives for a nominal greens fee of several hundred dollars a pop.

TLOZ Link5
October 22nd, 2003, 04:28 PM
Would there be enough space for a major golf course?

billyblancoNYC
October 24th, 2003, 12:47 AM
Probably not. A decent course usually is at least in the 150 acre range, so the entire island would be the course.

I wouldn't mind a golf course complex of 4 courses - different costs to play, etc, carved out of Fresh Kills, though.

ZippyTheChimp
December 4th, 2003, 08:21 AM
From New york Newsday:

Governors Island Photo Tour (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/manhattan/nyc-govgallery0724.photogallery)

Virtual Tour (http://www.nynewsday.com/news/local/manhattan/nyc-islandvideo.realvideo)

Clarknt67
December 4th, 2003, 03:09 PM
Can one tour Governor's Island? How do you get there? anyone know?

Clarknt67
December 4th, 2003, 03:37 PM
Probably not. A decent course usually is at least in the 150 acre range, so the entire island would be the course.

I wouldn't mind a golf course complex of 4 courses - different costs to play, etc, carved out of Fresh Kills, though.

It seems like there's an awful lot of trees for a golf course. You'd have to chop a lot down, angering enviromentalists.

And while I do think a golf course there would be a cool idea, and I think it probably could be a gold mine. But I also think it would end up being a political hot potato. Could anyone argue with the assertion that it would primarily benefit older, rich, white men? Hooray, they can leave their overpaid jobs on Wall street and take a half day off on the green and still collect full pay! What a great day for the City's elite!

the teacher's training campus is a great idea, benefiting everyone. Plus conversion of the fort and other structures to museums, and landscaping some parks, and maybe maritime uses, a great benefit to everyone.

ZippyTheChimp
December 4th, 2003, 04:18 PM
Can one tour Governor's Island? How do you get there? anyone know?
Yes you can. Guided tours are conducted by the National Park Service (http://www.nps.gov/gois/), and will resume next spring or summer. Access is by ferry from the Maritime Building.

Clarknt67
December 4th, 2003, 04:20 PM
Can one tour Governor's Island? How do you get there? anyone know?
Yes you can. Guided tours are conducted by the National Park Service (http://www.nps.gov/gois/), and will resume next spring or summer. Access is by ferry from the Maritime Building.

thanks for the 411.

BigMac
June 2nd, 2004, 01:52 PM
USA Today
June 2, 2004

Governors Island open again for public tours

http://images.usatoday.com/travel/_photos/2004/06/02/gov-island-inside.jpg
Governors Island is separated from Brooklyn by a strait called Buttermilk Channel.

NEW YORK (AP) — Perhaps the most remarkable thing about New York's newest tourist attraction is that New Yorkers want to go there.

Governors Island, a former Coast Guard facility located in New York Harbor, was opened for public tours last summer. The tours, led by National Park Service rangers, proved so popular that they are back this year, starting in late June.

Even those self-styled Gotham sophisticates who would never admit to having visited the Statue of Liberty or the top of the Empire State Building may have been overcome by curiosity about a 172-acre harbor island that was under their noses but virtually inaccessible for more than two centuries.

In fact, most of the several thousand visitors last year were "native New Yorkers" rather than out-of-towners, said Linda Neal, the NPS superintendent for Governors Island National Monument.

"Our rangers, who are used to working at the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and hosting primarily international visitors, have been thrilled to see so many New Yorkers visiting," Neal said through a spokeswoman.

"They are keenly interested in what the mystery island that they have seen from afar has to offer."

What they find is a verdant, teardrop-shaped island, 2.2 miles around and packed with fascinating snippets of history dating back to the city's origin as New Amsterdam.

Dutch settlers bought the original 90-acre island from Indians in 1637, for two ax-heads, some beads and nails, and named it Nutten Island for its many nut trees. It was renamed for British colonial governors who lived there.

Separated from Brooklyn by a strait called Buttermilk Channel and accessible only by ferry from lower Manhattan, Governors Island was for 242 years a military post — Dutch, then British, then American, and only rarely open to visitors.

Although its two early 19th century forts apparently never fired in anger, they did discourage British threats against New York during the War of 1812.

The last tenant, the U.S. Coast Guard, pulled out in 1997 for budgetary reasons. The island, deserted except for a handful of caretakers and migrating geese, and rated one of the nation's 11 most endangered places by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, faced an uncertain future.

Proposals for its use included high-rise apartments, public housing, a television tower — even a casino, favored by then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani — before a public and private coalition called the Governors Island Partnership stepped in with a master plan to make use of the island while preserving its character.

In January 2003, the harbor jewel that the federal government had valued at $500 million was returned to New York City for the bargain price of one dollar.

Proposals for developing the southern half — actually early 20th century landfill from New York's first subway excavation — now include open space, maritime facilities and a City University of New York education center, according to the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp., a state-city entity that is the steward for the island. GIPEC also runs the ferry to the island and sponsors the tours led by the park rangers.

The northern part of the island, which tourists see, is a 90-acre National Historic Landmark District, a former military post of 19th century buildings in a bucolic setting of towering trees, against the dramatic backdrop of Manhattan skyscrapers.

The two forts, Fort Jay and Castle Williams, are national monuments, managed by the NPS. Nearby, but not open, is a 9-hole golf course — the only one with a Manhattan zip code.

While Governors Island may never compete with its famous neighbors, it does offer an amazing variety of historical touchstones and famous names.

In 1776, Continental troops on Governors Island helped save the fledgling Revolution by distracting the British as Gen. George Washington's army, defeated in the Battle of Brooklyn, escaped by boats to Manhattan.

Castle Williams, a circular masonry fortress with 8-foot thick walls, built in 1807-11, housed Confederate prisoners during the Civil War, and remained a military jail for a century afterward.

A memorial outside Ligget Hall, the former barracks of the Army's 16th Infantry Regiment, reads like a Union officers' roster from the battle of Gettysburg.

Elsewhere, plaques record the 1710 quarantine of John Peter Zenger, a 13-year-old German refugee later famous for his acquittal in a landmark press freedom case; the house where an obscure officer named Ulysses S. Grant lived a decade before the Civil War, and a now-vanished airstrip used by Wilbur Wright for a flight around the Statue of Liberty in 1909.

Markers also show where President Reagan and French President Francois Mitterand pressed a button to light the refurbished Statue of Liberty in 1986, and the colonial governors' mansion where Reagan and Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev held a summit two years later.

Other names linked to the island's history include Samuel F.B. Morse, inventor of the telegraph; generals Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson and John "Blackjack" Pershing, and the Smothers Brothers comedy team, who were born into a military family at its Army clinic.

Neal said the park service wants to improve tourist amenities — food service is limited to a few vending machines, for example — without altering the island's "special nature."

The NPS also is studying possible waterborne travel links to other harbor sites including Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty.

That poses "a real challenge," Neal said. "Visitors to Ellis and the statue have a full day of experiences. It's unrealistic to believe they would want yet another experience on the same day."

Copyright 2004 USA TODAY

NYatKNIGHT
June 4th, 2004, 02:47 PM
June 4, 2004

Once Off Limits, Governors Island to Be Open for Summer Tours

By ANTHONY DePALMA

Many New Yorkers never take the ferry to the Statue of Liberty even though they can get there just about any time they want.

Most New Yorkers never set foot on Governors Island either, even though it is lying there in the cold mist of New York Harbor little more than a chip shot from the Brooklyn waterfront. They do not go because it has been off limits for most of the last two centuries.

Starting next weekend, that will begin to change in a big way.

The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation is scheduled to announce today that for the first time since the state sold the 172-acre island to the federal government for $1 in 1800, New Yorkers will have virtually unlimited access to the island's western and northern waterfronts, where there is a mile-long stretch of esplanade and dazzling views of New York Harbor.

"Right now, it's kind of like this mysterious place nobody knows," said Yvette DeBow, marketing director for the corporation, which shares responsibility for the island with the National Park Service. "We want New Yorkers to feel that this is their own island."

On Saturdays through the summer, ferries will leave from the Battery Maritime Terminal for the six-minute trip to the island. Once there, visitors will be restricted to one area, but will be able to stroll along the esplanade, picnic on shady lawns and generally spend as much time as they like on the island.

There is no more historic part of the harbor than the island, which a fledgling United States military used as a strategic coastal fortification early in the 19th century. The Army and later the Coast Guard used it until 1997. In 2002, the federal government agreed to sell the island back to New York for its original price - $1.

The Governors Island corporation will hold public hearings later this year on a plan for redeveloping the island. All historic buildings there will be preserved, but there could be room for other uses, perhaps including a new hotel, a conference center and space for the City University of New York. Housing, industrial development and casinos are prohibited.

Last summer, small groups of New Yorkers were given limited access to the island. Those same weekday guided tours of the island and its many buildings will be available again this summer, Tuesdays through Fridays, starting June 15. As on the Saturday visits, passes will be free, but the ferry ride will cost $5 for adults and children over 13, and $3 for children from 5 to 12. Children under 5 may ride free.

About 4,000 people visited the island last year. But James F. Lima, president of the corporation, said that as many as 40,000 people might visit this summer.

Passes and ferry tickets will be available at locations as yet unannounced. Information is available at www.nps.gov/gois .

Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Kris
June 20th, 2004, 04:52 PM
June 20, 2004

THE CITY

Governors Island Reopening

In a city as densely packed as New York, the idea of 172 acres of new open space sounds like something from another dimension or the Twilight Zone. But then there is Governors Island. Long used as a military post and shut off from everyday New Yorkers for more than 200 years, the 172-acre island at the mouth of the East River is coming out of mothballs, bringing with it some of the rarest and most spectacular views of the city.

From the time New Yorkers learned the Coast Guard would be decamping in 1996, there has been speculation about what to do with such a boon opportunity. There still isn't anything close to a final decision. But at least New Yorkers and tourists are now getting a chance to explore. For the cost of a round-trip ferry ride from Lower Manhattan ($5 for adults, $3 for children ages 5 to 12), visitors can take a stroll, jog or picnic along an esplanade on the island situated between Wall Street and Brooklyn. For now, visits are being limited to certain parts of the island and to only about three daylight hours on Saturdays, with weekday National Park Service tours beginning this week.

That's very good news, but it's still just a matter of marking time while state and city officials develop a plan for what to do with the island they bought from the federal government for one dollar last year. Most of the island's interior - including a nine-hole golf course and hundreds of buildings and Victorian-era homes - has been closed since the Coast Guard shut its base. Our own bottom line has not changed. The bulk of the island must be preserved for use by the public. If a small section needs to be used for some private activity that generates money to help pay for upkeep, an educational facility is one frequently mentioned option that sounds reasonable. All discussions of creating a Governors Island Casino should be totally, irrevocably squashed.

Governors Island has been the scene of some of New York's most intriguing history. Visitors can contemplate how it looked to Henry Hudson, who sailed past it in 1609 - as it happens, on Sept. 11. Then, the island was less than half its current size. Landfill from the digging that created the Lexington Avenue subway added more than 100 acres in the early 1900's. Other famed passers-by included George Washington during the Revolutionary War, Ulysses S. Grant before the Civil War, and Wilbur Wright, who flew a plane from the island and around the Statue of Liberty. Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev held a summit meeting at the Admiral's House on the island. Now everyone has a chance to follow in the footsteps of those famous visitors. We're looking forward to the time when access is greater. But not for slot machines.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

billyblancoNYC
June 25th, 2004, 02:05 AM
Anyone see the Blueprint show on NYC TV about Gov. Island? Very interesting. The island is surely picturesque.

The nice thing was that I was looking at some of the apartment buildings that were build saying that would be perfect for artist housing/studios...like a village. Someone from CB1 said the same thing, so maybe it'll happen.

Check out the show, though.

Kris
June 29th, 2004, 02:54 PM
The Mysterious Island

The mysteries of Governors Island.

By Susan S. Szenasy

July 2004

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Governors Island, photographs by Lisa Kereszi and Andrew Moore, is on display at the Urban Center Gallery in New York from May 24 to July 8. A book of the photographs will be published this month by the Public Art Fund.

New Yorkers want to know what’s next for Governors Island, the former military base smack in the middle of New York Harbor. But before diving into future plans, the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation took a moment to look back. With help from the Public Art Fund they enlisted two photographers, Andrew Moore and Lisa Kereszi, to document the current state of its buildings and grounds—from forts dating to the War of 1812 to a Burger King and a bowling alley. The island, which has been uninhabited since the Coast Guard moved out in 1997, felt to the artists like a cross between a ghost town and a movie back lot. “It’s a place where most people are not allowed to go, so there’s this mystery surrounding it,” Kereszi says. “It’s something that’s off-limits, but we get to peek inside.”

Moore, known for large-format photographs of more decrepit historical sites, such as Havana and Roosevelt Island, was amazed at the condition of the buildings. “It looked like it had just been abandoned the day before,” he says. Unlike his typical subjects, “It didn’t have the usual patina of decay and the sort of haunted quality of the romance of ruins, so it was a great challenge to find ways to deal with history without the obvious markers of nostalgia.”

Kereszi’s smaller, more detail-oriented photographs explored interiors, where there were still pinup posters on the backs of doors and old medical tools in hospital drawers. “I kept thinking about the people who lived there and the children who grew up there,” she says. “I was looking for the residue, little things that were left behind and point to the life that existed.”

www.metropolismag.com

Kris
July 4th, 2004, 04:17 PM
July 4, 2004

THE CITY

Governors Island

To the Editor:

As members of the Governors Island Alliance, we welcome your attention to signs that Governors Island is "coming out of mothballs" ("Governors Island Reopening," editorial, June 20), but your fear of a casino out there is misplaced.

The deed that transferred the island back to New York after 200 years as a military cloister specifically prohibits any gambling establishment. There is no thought of violating that stipulation.

Worry not about a casino. Worry whether Washington, Albany and City Hall will make the needed investments that can attract private capital.

Robert Pirani
Richard E. Mooney
Manhattan

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

krulltime
July 23rd, 2004, 11:36 AM
City Officials Pitch Idea To Turn Governors Island Into Top Spot


JULY 21ST, 2004

For years Governors Island has been a secret to most New Yorkers, but officials hope to change that with an ambitious plan to make the island a top destination. NY1's Michael Scotto took an exclusive tour and filed this report.

Breathtaking views, lush open space, and historic architecture.

Governors Island is a hidden gem in the middle of New York harbor.

And it's about to undergo a major redevelopment project that aims to make it one of the city's premier destinations.

"It could be a jewel for New York and it's a historic opportunity – a once in a century opportunity," said New York Secretary of State Randy Daniels.

For more than 200 years, the island served as a military base and was essentially closed to the public.

But two years ago, the federal government decided to sell the island to the state for $1.

Now officials are hoping the private sector will help transform it.

"We want more than their ideas," said Daniels. "We would like to see some of them get behind Governor's Island, not only in word and deed, but also in dollars. Dollars are very important."

So for three hours, business leaders sat through presentations and learned of the island's deep history.

As the private sector gets ready to help, it will need to abide by several rules.

Sixty acres must be dedicated to parks or education, while another 30 acres used for cultural purposes. Permanent housing, casinos, factories, parking lots and power plants are also not allowed.

Developers hope to build a campus for City University, along with a cultural institution, parkland and hotels.

"This is a phenomenal opportunity to start with a clean piece of paper and create, I think, something that will be phenomenal for New York City," said Henry Kravis of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts.

But making the island a success requires more than hotels and nice parks.

Capital improvements are needed, which the city and the state are currently paying for, and reliable transportation to and from the island are key.

"Ferry transportation is very important to the island," said Kathryn Wylde of Partnership for New York City. "They have to make sure the whole island can work."

Right now the island is open to the public on a limited basis. Tours are given during the week and on Saturdays New Yorkers can walk around the island by themselves. On a typical Saturday, organizers see 500 people.

A master plan for the island is expected next year and then construction should begin soon after that, with the hope that within the next five years, visitors start pouring in.

– Michael Scotto

VIDEO LINK:
http://real.ny1.com:8080/ramgen/real3/000C0BCD_040721_191004hi.rm

Copyright © 2004 NY1 News.

krulltime
July 25th, 2004, 10:39 AM
Partnership considers Governors Island

July 25, 2004

Kathryn Wylde, president and chief executive of the Partnership for New York City, says the partnership’s investment fund will consider bankrolling projects on Governors Island if the right opportunity comes up.

Ms. Wylde and a group of about 50 of the city’s top businesspeople toured the island last week at the invitation of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp., which hopes to develop the former U.S. Army facility.

Ms. Wylde says the partnership could be interested in sponsoring revenue-generating activities.


Copyright 2004, Crain Communications, Inc

ZippyTheChimp
December 17th, 2004, 01:54 PM
http://www.downtownexpress.com/

Park Service begins to float Governors Island ideas

By Ronda Kaysen

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Downtown Express photo by Elisabeth Robert
The island’s Liggett Hall, the largest U.S. military building until the Pentagon was built. Originally The barracks were designed by McKim, Mead and White and the building was built to foil the city’s effort to open an airport on the island. It is also the site where Wilbur Wright took off and landed his airplane.


The National Park Service unveiled its first round of ideas for the 22-acre National Monument at Governors Island, and has been circulating its plans to various community and government groups for input and feedback.

The monument — which includes Fort Jay and Castle William, a three-story fort built to protect the harbor — is in need of at least $14 million in renovations just to get up to code, according to Judy Duffy, assistant district manager of Community Board 1. Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation (GIPEC), a state and city agency, controls the remaining 150 acres of the island — which was, until 1996, home to the U.S. Coast Guard and sold in 2003 to the state of New York for one dollar — and is working on renovation plans of its own.

“Based on a combination of public feedback and advisors, we developed these three visions of what this park might be,” said Linda Neal, superintendent of the Governors Island National Monument for the Park Service. “This is a way to put something out there of what the park might be. The preferred alternative might be a hybrid of two of [the ideas] or something that comes in new.”

She said there are no cost estimates yet for any of the alternatives.

The first alternative, A, is titled Monument Emphasis, and focuses on the military history of the monument. It preserves both the castle and the fort and, according to the Park plan, would “help visitors understand and make personal connections to the development of the island’s military features.”

The island’s military history is significant. Castle William was built between 1807 and 1811 to protect the harbor during the War of 1812 and later turned into a prison for Confederate prisoners and AWOL Union soldiers during the Civil War and continued to be used as a military prison until 1966. The star-shaped Fort Jay was built 1794 and is surrounded by a grassy dry moat.

Alternative B, dubbed Whole-Island Experience, would provide “visitors with an island-wide cultural experience,” according to the plan’s description. The monument’s structures, once renovated, would become cultural venues for art expositions, performances and educational activities. The monument would serve, particularly the castle and fort, as a launching point for activities throughout the island.

Harbor and Beyond, alternative C, would consider the monument in the context of the other National Parks of New York Harbor. Capitalizing on its centralized location amongst the other harbor parks, the monument would serve as a “Harbor Center.” Temporary and permanent monument installations would “interpret and explore the development and conservation of the island and New York Harbor,” according to the N.P.S. plan. The agency would also manage and develop various harbor-related public programs.

When N.P.S. presented its plan to C.B. 1 last month, it received a positive response. “It was a very collaborative give and take kind of meeting,” said Duffy of C.B. 1. Duffy said the Waterfront committee, which held the Nov. 29 meeting, did not favor one alternative over the others. It has until January to make a formal response to the presentation. “It’s a fun project,” Duffy added.

Neal is confident the three plans, devised after a community outreach campaign launched in conjunction with GIPEC last spring, will work well with the rest of the island. “These alternatives are broad enough that they could succeed with GIPEC’s other plans,” said Neal.

GIPEC agrees. “We are delighted with the progress that they [NPS] are making,” said Yvette DeBow, a spokesperson for the agency. “Their plans very much align with what we’re thinking.”

N.P.S. intends to present its findings from the community response to the three alternatives by next summer.

Ronda@DowntownExpress.com
Downtown Express is published by
Community Media LLC.

jiw40
December 18th, 2004, 07:41 PM
I just read page one of this thread and found out there's no more golf courses in NYC.Glad I got to play most of them before they were gone.

TLOZ Link5
December 18th, 2004, 10:53 PM
I just read page one of this thread and found out there's no more golf courses in NYC.Glad I got to play most of them before they were gone.

Eh? How can that be true?

NewYorkYankee
December 19th, 2004, 12:18 AM
Arnt there golf courses in Queens and the Bronx?

billyblancoNYC
December 19th, 2004, 04:34 AM
Not sure if this is all of them, but there's 13 public courses (maybe 1 or 2 private)...

http://www.golfinnyc.com/GolfCourseList.htm

Also, they are getting major upgrades, if they haven't already, that it's to the point where some suburbanites come to NYC b/c it's good and cheap...

http://www.nycgovparks.org/sub_newsroom/media_advisories/press_releases.php?id=18518

Finally, they are in the process of building a brand new links-style course designed by Jack Nicklaus, on the water in the Bronx (right by the Whitestone Bridge).

Gold in NYC is alive and very well.

billyblancoNYC
December 19th, 2004, 04:40 AM
Arnt there golf courses in Queens and the Bronx?

And Brooklyn, Staten Island. Surely, there will be one or two developed in the Fresh Kills park some day as well.

islandpete
January 17th, 2005, 09:29 AM
I went to school while in the Coast Guard on GI. I was at Damage Control school and Aid to Navigation school. The island was a world with in NYC. It had it's own hospital, dinning area, swimming pools, rec area, dock space for boating, any thing you might think of it has. Plus living space for full time personel. There are some really nice houses on the island. The officers got to live in them. There are apt down at the southern end. I've spent more than 4 months on "The Rock" and walked over every inch of the island. You should be happy the island is now yours. I read what they wish to do with the space and it will be a great place. In the future you can bet they will rent out living space being they want this island to become a place for a college, out door play area, and maybe some day when they get all the facilities back up and running another area to live. I do hope they use this space to the good of everyone.

ZippyTheChimp
February 11th, 2005, 08:56 AM
http://www.downtownexpress.com/



Shakespeare on the island?



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A replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater would be built in Governors Island’s Castle Williams under a new proposal.



By Ronda Kaysen



All the world’s a stage, but some stages are better equipped to become a replica of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater than others. One woman thinks she may have found just the right spot: Castle Williams on Governors Island.



Barbara Romer, a former consultant, has been shopping around plans to plop a New Globe Theater — constructed in the spirit of the 1997 replica on London’s south bank — at Castle Williams, an 1811 circular fort on Governors Island now the property of the National Park Service. In an uncanny coincidence, the 200-ft. diameter masonry castle shares the same blueprint — perfectly round and three-tiered — as the original 1599 Globe Theater.



Castle Williams “looks exactly like the Globe,” said Judy Duffy, assistant district manager of Community Board 1. “It has the three tiers going up.”



The stage and theater seats would be located in the castle’s open courtyard, preserving the castle’s historic structure, according to a source close to the project, who requested anonymity to avoid jeopardizing Park Service approval after the review process begins. The design, with a partial glass rooftop enclosure, is completely reversible. According to the organization’s website, the theater needs an “angel investor” willing to bankroll the $10 million project.



Romer, until recently was a consultant for the London-based McKinsey & Company, has formed New Globe, a non-profit organization that hopes to bring the theater to Governors Island.



Still in the early schematic phase, the London architectural firm Foster and Partners, which designed the Millennium Bridge in London and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, is preparing a design for Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation. GIPEC, a city and state agency, controls 150 acres of the island but not the castle, a Park Service property.



The agency has plans to issue a request for expression and interest for Governors Island, which will include Castle Williams-related projects, according to Linda Neal, superintendent of the Governors Island National Monument for the Park Service. GIPEC did not indicate when they would release the request, however, “they’re working around the clock to put the final touches on that,” Neal said. “I would imagine that is coming out fairly soon.”



GIPEC declined to comment on the New Globe proposal.



Although still in preliminary stages — the Parks Service is still hammering out ideas for the 22-acre National Monument that also includes Fort Jay — the New Globe Theater has enjoyed a warm reception so far.



“It’s something that everybody’s been talking about,” said Duffy of C.B. 1. The board was scheduled to review the project this week, but the meeting was postponed until Feb. 28. “It just sounds like such a cool idea.”



“It’s a nifty idea,” said Frank Sanchis, senior vice president for the Municipal Arts Society, a public interest group. “I am very attracted by the ingenuity of the thinking that surrounds the project and also the similarities with the size of the [original] Globe.”



Sanchis has his reservations, however. He wonders how readily New Yorkers will traverse the seven-minute ferry ride to the island for Shakespeare (or other performances, since the theater will not be limited to Shakespeare.)



“I am less certain that hoards of people really would go to Governors Island for Shakespeare,” he said. “I don’t know whether it fits the bigger scheme [for Governors Island] and I don’t know if it could sustain itself as Barbara [Romer] truly thinks it can.” A New Globe Theater, says Sanchis, could be successful if the Park Service coordinates ferry transportation to and from the island with performance schedules, for example.



But New Yorkers may very well venture from Manhattan for a Globe Theater equipped with its own resident acting company, says Linda Rosenthal an aide to U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler. “It’s so unique, it’s something New York doesn’t have,” she said. “I think it would draw a nice crowd.”



Nadler reviewed the project and “was very impressed with it,” said Rosenthal. “As long as the structure itself is maintained, it sounds like a perfect fit,” she added.



Sanchis has his own concerns about retaining the integrity of the historic structure. “It is a highly unusual solution for adaptive use of an historic building and will require substantial intervention into the historic fabric of the original structure,” he said. The plans, according to sources close to the project, will “rehabilitate” the structure, but protect the building’s integrity.



Romer declined to comment.



The New Globe, although similar to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in London, has no connection to the Thames River recreation.



“It has no connection to us at all,” said Jerry Halliday a spokesperson for Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in Bankside, London. The London Globe does not own a copyright to the original theater, which was destroyed in a fire in 1613 during a performance of Henry VIII. The original theater was rebuilt, but demolished in 1644, two years after England’s Puritan administration shut all the country’s theaters.



The Park Service is still a long way off from deciding the National Monument’s future. It does not expect to release plans for the monument until February 2006. “We’re in the middle of our planning process and that planning process really determines how we best care for the National Park Service properties,” said Linda Neal, of the Park Service.



Late last year, the Park Service floated three preliminary ideas for the monument. Although all three ideas may change significantly during the lengthy review process, only one, Alternative C, makes space for a New Globe Theater, as it now stands. Alternative C would transform both the fort and castle into a cultural venue for art expositions, performances and educational activities. The other two alternatives include a military history monument incorporating both Castle Williams and Fort Jay and creating a “Harbor Center” that would serve as a launching point for the New York harbor. With the monument’s future still very much in question, Neal thought it premature to comment on the New Globe project.



“Because we’re mid stream in that process, we’re not at the point of seriously responding to development proposals,” she said.



In the meantime, Romer will submit her proposal to GIPEC as soon as the corporation requests it.





Downtown Express is published by


Community Media LLC.



Downtown Express487 Greenwich St.,


Suite 6A | New York, NY 10013

Email: josh@downtownexpress.com (josh@downtownexpress.com)

NewYorkYankee
February 11th, 2005, 11:22 AM
That Globe Theatre idea is interesting. I think it would make a nice addition.

RedFerrari360f1
February 12th, 2005, 11:31 AM
Yeah, reeeeeal original. I think we can do better.

TLOZ Link5
February 12th, 2005, 12:37 PM
A Foster-designed skyscraper, a giant Ferris wheel, and now a recreation of the Globe Theater — is anyone else concerned with all this copying of London?

Kris
February 12th, 2005, 08:46 PM
I don't think a Foster-designed skyscraper qualifies as copying.

TLOZ Link5
February 13th, 2005, 03:11 PM
I don't think a Foster-designed skyscraper qualifies as copying.

Granted that that's stretching it a bit, but still...

Kris
February 13th, 2005, 08:33 PM
Hopefully the two lame proposals will fall through, and there'll be no discernable pattern. What an embarrassment that would be.

billyblancoNYC
February 13th, 2005, 10:49 PM
Can't really understand the problem with the Theater in the Round. I think it's a good match for the structure and it would make an old historic building an asset again. What else could be done? This, along with other projects would be a nice draw for people...you see how many people see Cirque Du Soleil on Randall's Island...oh wait, then we'd be copying Montreal.

Kris
February 14th, 2005, 02:28 AM
Your comparison is flawed. Cirque du Soleil is an organization that exports; the Globe is a historic London theater, recently replicated near its original site.

landmark_lover
February 17th, 2005, 06:04 PM
I agree with billyblanco. A theater on Governors Island would be a great attraction for the city. And from a preservation point of view, it sounds like a creative rehabilitation that will actually help to protect the castle -- which was rapidly eroding when I last saw it -- without compromising its historic integrity. Finally, my understanding is that this won't be a replica of the original London Globe, but a modern theater-in-the-round with a glass roof (the article clearly states that it won't be limited to Shakespeare). And if the design is anything like Foster's reinvention of the British Museum's courtyard or the German Parliament's dome, we'll be in for a really gorgeous addition to the city's architecture.

NYCgirl
February 17th, 2005, 06:18 PM
i totally agree with landmark lover. the New Globe idea sounds AWESOME!!! what a great thing to turn that old military fort into a theater-in-the-round ... i might actually take the ferry out there :)

Kris
February 26th, 2005, 09:26 AM
New Globe Theater (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showthread.php?t=5877)

billyblancoNYC
February 28th, 2005, 02:03 AM
Yessir, this is a winner. I would love to see this happen.

TonyO
March 30th, 2005, 03:51 PM
Wall St. Journal
3/30/05

New York Solicits Proposals for Governors Island


Governors Island is just 800 yards from the concrete canyons of southern Manhattan, but it might as well be in another time zone. The 172-acre former Coast Guard base has sprawling lawns and drop-dead views and has sat unused for so many years that many New Yorkers don't even know it's there.

Now, the city and state are moving ahead with plans for one of the biggest undeveloped pieces of real estate in New York. The goal: Nothing less than creating the world's next great public space.

New York has begun sending out requests for ideas from architects, builders and institutions for how to develop the island, which served as a military installation for most of the past 200-plus years. New York wants the island to be used for education, research and arts and culture, as well as for recreation and entertainment.

"It is the last great open space," says Randy A. Daniels, New York's secretary of state and chairman of the Governors Island Preservation & Education Corp., which owns most of the island. "What we have to do is to give New York an island that 50 or 100 years from today people will look back . . . the same way they look back on Central Park today."

That means that even though it has some of the most enviable views of the lower Manhattan skyline, the group won't allow any residential development on the island, which could potentially be worth billions of dollars. But one of the guidelines is to make the island financially self-sufficient -- it eats up $10 million a year in public money right now -- so there will be a fairly significant commercial aspect, including at least one hotel and several restaurants and shops.

The federal government sold the island to New York state two years ago for $1 on the condition it wouldn't be used primarily for commercial purposes. It is connected to Manhattan by a short ferry ride.

Sometime this summer, Gipec will announce a program and development framework for the island and issue proposal requests to developers. By next year, the organization will sign contracts and construction will begin.

Gipec's plan will cover the 150 acres of the island that it owns. The island's remaining 22 acres are a monument owned and run by the National Parks Service, which contains Fort Jay and Castle Williams, two forts built just before the War of 1812 to protect New York Harbor. Some of the grand officers' houses on the island date back to the Jefferson administration.

The island's north end, where the monument is, will be preserved, while the south end, which is about 80 acres, is almost a blank slate. The buildings there are from the island's last military use as a Coast Guard outpost, and they aren't historically significant and can be torn down.

"It has to be a place not only where a person can go and stay in a five-star facility, but also a place where a single mom and her two kids can hop on the ferry to play in the park and buy a hot dog," Mr. Daniels says.

The development of Governor's Island is part of a larger plan to redevelop New York's East River waterfront and New York Harbor. Other projects include the redevelopment of a two-mile stretch of lower Manhattan's East River waterfront, the construction of a 1.3-mile-long Brooklyn Bridge Park on the Brooklyn waterfront and the rezoning of a 75-block industrial strip that runs along the river in North Brooklyn.

noik53
March 30th, 2005, 08:59 PM
Cirque have been looking for a location downtown and maybe Governers island is perfect for it. A great location that will definitly attract visitors to the island and they could continue the stay in the park on the island

krulltime
April 25th, 2005, 12:32 PM
Out in the Harbor, Still Waiting


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2005/04/25/nyregion/gove.583.jpg
Manhattan is a five- to seven-minute ferry ride away. The Park Service plans to offer tours starting June 11. Librado Romero/The New York Times

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2005/04/25/nyregion/governor.184.3.650.jpg
The guns of 1861, still in place in Fort Jay overlooking the harbor. Librado Romero/The New York Times


By GLENN COLLINS and CHARLES V. BAGLI
Published: April 25, 2005

Governors Island is looking for a few good ideas.

Still.

It has been more than two years since New York State and New York City purchased Governors Island from the federal government for $1, and teams of consultants have toiled to generate possible uses for "the island at the center of the world," as its marketing brochure proclaims it.

But earlier this month, the president of the city-state partnership redeveloping the historic 172-acre island resigned. And city and state officials have dusted off the suggestion box once again. "Everybody involved had the same feeling, that we had an incredibly unique asset," said Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff, the vice chairman of the island's management corporation.

"What I don't want is a bunch of consultants to determine what we ought to do there," he added. "So we are calling out to the world for one-of-a-kind ideas."

Preservationists and community watchdogs say action, not more ideas, is needed and point to this delay as proof that the process has stalled. "Time is marching on," said Robert Pirani, executive director of the Governors Island Alliance, a coalition of organizations monitoring redevelopment plans, "because more than 12 million square feet of historic spaces are intended to be preserved, but are rapidly deteriorating. It is imperative that a lot of empty buildings be filled with private tenants."

Albert K. Butzel, the president of Friends of Hudson River Park, said "there has been a six- to eight-month delay," adding: "In many ways it seems to have fallen off the central radar screen for both the city and the state. I don't see any really strong advocates within the government."

Governors Island has been touted as a potential "international marketplace of leaders and innovators in education, commerce and arts" in its marketing materials.

In January 2004, the island's managers hired a team of experts to produce a self-sustaining development plan. It was presented last summer to the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation that is responsible for the planning, redevelopment and operations for 150 acres of Governors Island. (The National Park Service owns and administers an additional 22 acres of the island, designated as the Governors Island National Monument.)

Among the many possible uses already envisioned are an academic compound; a hotel, spa and conference center; film production facilities; museums; office space; sites for concerts; and a marina. Plans also call for the maintenance of a public path along the island's 2.2-mile waterfront perimeter, and the creation of a 40-acre public park.

According to the preservation corporation's announcements, the preliminary development and planning phase was scheduled for completion last fall, and a master plan was to be adopted by the end of this year. But on March 30, instead of proceeding to the next logical step - issuing requests for specific development proposals - a call for "expressions of interest," or more ideas, was issued to investors, developers and potential tenants.

The state and city are in the last year of a three-year, $30 million commitment to pay for the island's security, utilities, ferry operation and infrastructure maintenance. The preservation corporation's chairman, Randy A. Daniels, the secretary of state of New York, said he would like to see a speedier development process, "but it takes two years to clear your throat in New York."

He said the island had been guaranteed another $30 million this year from the state and the city for infrastructure work.

Mr. Daniels rejected the notion that the Pataki administration had been uninterested because Gov. George E. Pataki may decide not to seek re-election. "I don't call a $30 million investment a project that has lost focus - that sounds like a real commitment to me," he said.

Mr. Doctoroff said that despite the West Side stadium controversy, Lower Manhattan development issues and the mayoral campaign, "my staff is totally on top of this," and added, "I'm aware of everything that is going on."

Mr. Daniels said he hoped the preservation corporation could put out specific requests for development proposals by year's end and work on a master plan for the site. But no construction can begin until an environmental impact statement can be prepared. "I can't see any development activity before late 2006," he said.

Before he resigned as preservation corporation president, James F. Lima led the negotiations with the federal government that transferred the island to the city and state in 2003 for $1, a deal even better than Dutch settlers got when they bought it from American Indians in 1637 for two ax heads, some beads and a few iron nails.

Mr. Lima resigned early this month and left the island last Monday. Before he did, he told colleagues involved in urban planning that he felt frustration with the lack of development progress, according to the colleagues, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Mr. Lima did not return phone calls.

Mr. Doctoroff said that "people should not read anything into his resignation."

Mr. Butzel said it would take more than a call for ideas to demonstrate the commitment of the city and state. "Tearing down a lot of the buildings that will never be used, and making a temporary park space, could persuade developers that people are serious about this," he said.

He estimated that it would cost $100 million to $150 million to upgrade electric and sewer lines, provide potable water and refurbish the seawalls, the esplanade and ferry facilities.

Mr. Doctoroff said such preparation would not be necessary because "people who know development, and who understand the needs of their institutions, can look past the existing conditions and imagine them not being there."

Until the federal government departed, Governors Island, which affords heart-stopping views of Lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, had been a base for the Army and the Coast Guard that was largely off-limits to visitors.

The National Historic Landmark District includes the 92 acres at the northern end of the island. Twenty-two acres of that are designated the National Monument, with its star attractions, Fort Jay and Castle Williams. The exteriors of 62 historic buildings have been declared landmarks, and Mr. Doctoroff said the preservation corporation was "spending a lot of money to make sure conditions do not deteriorate."

An 80-acre tract to the south is short on historic structures but long on tacky barracks buildings.

Another opportunity being offered to developers is the Lower Manhattan terminus of the Governors Island ferry, the 1909 Battery Maritime Building, at 10 South Street.

The island's managers believe that its rich history can make it a tourist destination.

In the northeastern part of the island, the older foundation of an 1808 structure is thought to mark the home of the British royal governor. The Admiral's Quarters nearby was the site of the 1988 summit meeting between Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan.

The fortifications at Castle Williams, matching those at Castle Clinton in Battery Park in Lower Manhattan, were used in turning the British Navy away during the War of 1812. The island was a bulwark during the Civil War and the Spanish-American War and was an important staging area in both world wars.

Another district, Colonels' Row, provided officer housing in brick mansions with parquet floors and marble fireplaces.

The Coast Guard, which took over in 1966, left in 1997, but the island's martial history continued. Shortly after affording a horrifying view of the collapse of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, the island became a bivouac for the National Guard.

It takes five to seven minutes by ferry to traverse the 800 yards from Lower Manhattan to the island, and since the preservation corporation was formed, the National Park Service has offered tours for visitors. Its Web site, www.govisland.com, will offer details on the tour schedule that begins on June 11.

The tours, led by seasonal rangers, "are helping to develop a public constituency for the island," said Linda C. Neal, superintendent of the Governors Island National Monument. "We, too, are looking for program ideas, and suggestions for adaptive reuse."

To Mr. Doctoroff, "if we end up spending a few more months to get it right, we feel it's an investment that would be worthwhile," he said. "We are making a decision that would affect the future of this island more or less in perpetuity."


Copyright 2005 The New York Times Company

MagnumPI
April 25th, 2005, 12:34 PM
Out in the Harbor, Still Waiting

By GLENN COLLINS (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=GLENN COLLINS&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=GLENN COLLINS&inline=nyt-per) and CHARLES V. BAGLI (http://query.nytimes.com/search/query?ppds=bylL&v1=CHARLES V. BAGLI&fdq=19960101&td=sysdate&sort=newest&ac=CHARLES V. BAGLI&inline=nyt-per)

NY TIMEShttp://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/misc/spacer.gif
Published: April 25, 2005

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2005/04/25/nyregion/governor.184.3.650.jpg
http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/dropcap/g.gifovernors Island is looking for a few good ideas.

Still.

It has been more than two years since New York State and New York City purchased Governors Island from the federal government for $1, and teams of consultants have toiled to generate possible uses for "the island at the center of the world," as its marketing brochure proclaims it.

But earlier this month, the president of the city-state partnership redeveloping the historic 172-acre island resigned. And city and state officials have dusted off the suggestion box once again. "Everybody involved had the same feeling, that we had an incredibly unique asset," said Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff, the vice chairman of the island's management corporation.

"What I don't want is a bunch of consultants to determine what we ought to do there," he added. "So we are calling out to the world for one-of-a-kind ideas."

Preservationists and community watchdogs say action, not more ideas, is needed and point to this delay as proof that the process has stalled. "Time is marching on," said Robert Pirani, executive director of the Governors Island Alliance, a coalition of organizations monitoring redevelopment plans, "because more than 12 million square feet of historic spaces are intended to be preserved, but are rapidly deteriorating. It is imperative that a lot of empty buildings be filled with private tenants."

Albert K. Butzel, the president of Friends of Hudson River Park, said "there has been a six- to eight-month delay," adding: "In many ways it seems to have fallen off the central radar screen for both the city and the state. I don't see any really strong advocates within the government."

Governors Island has been touted as a potential "international marketplace of leaders and innovators in education, commerce and arts" in its marketing materials.

In January 2004, the island's managers hired a team of experts to produce a self-sustaining development plan. It was presented last summer to the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation that is responsible for the planning, redevelopment and operations for 150 acres of Governors Island. (The National Park Service owns and administers an additional 22 acres of the island, designated as the Governors Island National Monument.)

Among the many possible uses already envisioned are an academic compound; a hotel, spa and conference center; film production facilities; museums; office space; sites for concerts; and a marina. Plans also call for the maintenance of a public path along the island's 2.2-mile waterfront perimeter, and the creation of a 40-acre public park.

According to the preservation corporation's announcements, the preliminary development and planning phase was scheduled for completion last fall, and a master plan was to be adopted by the end of this year. But on March 30, instead of proceeding to the next logical step - issuing requests for specific development proposals - a call for "expressions of interest," or more ideas, was issued to investors, developers and potential tenants.

The state and city are in the last year of a three-year, $30 million commitment to pay for the island's security, utilities, ferry operation and infrastructure maintenance. The preservation corporation's chairman, Randy A. Daniels, the secretary of state of New York, said he would like to see a speedier development process, "but it takes two years to clear your throat in New York."

He said the island had been guaranteed another $30 million this year from the state and the city for infrastructure work.

Mr. Daniels rejected the notion that the Pataki administration had been uninterested because Gov. George E. Pataki may decide not to seek re-election. "I don't call a $30 million investment a project that has lost focus - that sounds like a real commitment to me," he said.

Mr. Daniels said he hoped the preservation corporation could put out specific requests for development proposals by year's end and work on a master plan for the site. But no construction can begin until an environmental impact statement can be prepared. "I can't see any development activity before late 2006," he said

Before he resigned as preservation corporation president, James F. Lima led the negotiations with the federal government that transferred the island to the city and state in 2003 for $1, a deal even better than Dutch settlers got when they bought it from American Indians in 1637 for two ax heads, some beads and a few iron nails.

MagnumPI
April 25th, 2005, 12:49 PM
Sorry krulltime, i didnt read your post while i was copying the text from the nytimes site.:(

April 25th, 2005 11:32 AM krulltime
April 25th, 2005 11:34 AM MagnumPI

Clarknt67
April 25th, 2005, 03:30 PM
So I remember a press conference where Bloomberg annouced GI would be a campus for people studying to become NYC school teachers. Were they jumping the gun? Or is this request for development idea IN ADDITION to that plan?

Clarknt67
May 5th, 2005, 02:38 PM
So another thread about Chuck Schumer's plan for downtown alludes to his advocating "an international biotech center on Governor's Island."

http://208.198.20.182/ny1/content/index.jsp?stid=8&aid=50299

1. Has anyone heard anything more about this? I've run a few Google News searches with no luck.

This just sounds like such a terrible idea. I'm surprise Schumer's behind it.

What about pharmaceutical research requires those panaramic views? What about it requires those beautiful historic buildings? What about it requires such great and easy access to the NY Harbor? What about it requires gov't subsidy of land, as NY/NYC is in a position to do having acquired the land for $1?

ZippyTheChimp
May 8th, 2005, 10:58 PM
What to do with Governors Island?

BY PRADNYA JOSHI
STAFF WRITER

May 8, 2005

It could be any real-estate developer's dream: 50 blocks of space in lower Manhattan, barely a stone's throw from Wall Street, filled with sweeping views of the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island and Manhattan's great monuments.

But when it comes to Governors Island development, certain plans are off-limits: permanent housing, casinos and destruction of historical buildings. Those no-no's were part of the terms of the deal when the federal government turned over the deed to the island to New York State for $1 in 2003.

Majestic vision, anyone?

With that charter, city and state officials are looking for a grand vision for the island and are asking developers, universities, think tanks and others for ideas to transform the island, which -- as a military bunker and later Coast Guard installation -- was off-limits to most New Yorkers for centuries.

The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp., or GIPEC, the state agency charged with developing the island, is ratcheting up its efforts to get feedback on what to do with the swaths of land, more than 100 historic buildings and the breathtaking waterfront.

Although development may take longer than originally planned, officials say they want to be "informed by what the marketplace realities are," said GIPEC chairman Randy A. Daniels. "It should be a very special place where 50 or 100 years from now people will say we got it right."

Realistically, the development will take years, even decades, and the first building projects probably won't break ground until at least 2006. In the meantime, the island is being opened in the summer for public tours, and GIPEC hopes to attract public concerts or other gatherings.

The agency must preserve at least 40 acres for public parks and leave open the esplanade so pedestrians can enjoy the harbor views. At different points in time, everyone from a Shakespeare theater company to the City University of New York had kicked the tires to see if the island would be suitable.

Daniels won't name names on who is interested this time around but says several types of development will be welcomed: hotel, catering or other hospitality uses; educational and cultural institutions. Other plans could involve a marina, bed and breakfasts or spas. Some buildings seem to naturally lend themselves for bed and breakfast inns, wedding halls, spa resorts or marina docking.

Putting the vast amount of space to use in a cohesive plan is proving not to be a quick task. Right now the island is run by a skeletal staff of eight people with an annual budget of just $10 million for basic upkeep, summer tours, special events and a semi-regular ferry operating. This year, the island is getting $30 million more to just maintain plumbing and buildings and make other urgent repairs. But as developers come in, the agency hopes that enough money will pour in to invest in restoring the grand Colonials, maintaining a regular ferry service and perhaps even building a pedestrian footbridge to Brooklyn.

New deadline for ideas

Therefore GIPEC has extended its deadline for Requests for Statements of Interest -- governmentspeak for a broad vision -- to June 20. On May 17 it will host a three-hour tour for potential developers or partners.

From those submissions, the officials will create a master plan and solicit the more formal Requests for Proposals, a process that will award contracts to build or develop specific buildings or parts of the island.

The plans come the same time as the city is taking on other ambitious real estate development projects. With the 16-acre site at the World Trade Center, West Side rezoning including the controversial New York Jets stadium, Brooklyn waterfront redevelopment and other projects hogging the spotlight, Governors Island has largely been out of sight and out of mind for most New Yorkers.

But with 172 acres to offer and dozens of sites rich in history, Governors Island could eventually have a far more public use than other projects.

Last week, U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) suggested that officials try to attract a major biotech or pharmaceutical facility to the island.

The island's past lives have paralleled much of New York City's own evolution. Just as old New Amsterdam was redubbed New York after the British captured it from the Dutch, Nutten Island was renamed Governors Island a few years after the crown decreed it should be used for the "benefit and accommodation of His Majesty's Governors."

In the 1800s the island began to be used for military purposes, first during the War of 1812, later for housing Confederate POWs during the Civil War. It was used as a supply base during World Wars I and II. The Coast Guard took it over in 1966 and used it as the headquarters for monitoring all of its Atlantic command. At the peak of the Guard's presence, more than 3,500 personnel and families lived on the southern half of the island, which is so large it once had regular bus service to shuttle passengers from one end to the other.

The island, which resembles the shape of an ice cream cone, is actually two different land tracts. The northern end is filled with 100-year-old-plus forts, landmark buildings and the historic site run by the National Parks Service. The southern 80 acres by contrast are largely occupied by non-historic buildings in need of demolition: housing not up to city code, decrepit warehouses where barnacles were once stripped off buoys, as well as cracked tennis courts, swimming pools and other eyesores.

Hoping for tear-downs

City planners hope developers will come in and raze all those buildings and start from a blank slate. "That, in part, is why we're doing this request for expressions of interest," said Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, adding that he hopes ideas from "the best minds in the world" will come up with a great vision.

Community groups, for the most part, are supporting the efforts and have even pushed for some of the broad plans of using public space. With the right vision, they say, the site can become "the next Central Park" where the city's residents will see it as a treasure.

"It would exemplify New York's return to the waterfront," said Rob Pirani, executive director of Governors Island Alliance, a network of groups concerned with historic preservation and parks. "By having a variety of tenants, it makes for a more exciting and interesting place."

Copyright © 2005, Newsday, Inc. (http://www.nynewsday.com/)

johnny hollywood
May 27th, 2005, 02:11 PM
I was in the Coast Guard and an had the opportunity once to go to Gov Island. The CG had to give up alot of bases because of the constant chopping of our budget's in addition to additional resonsibilities. It was Jan. and the wind really drove me to run everywhere. We had received the base from the Army as many of our facilities from our other sister services too due to lack of again funds. I did not have the time to explore the base as I wanted to, but I have never forgotten too the view of the Twin tower's too.
The base and building's should be carefully considered and I am glad the public can see the base now as it was beautifully maintained by a grateful service. We had to learn how to do basically everything on bases, boats, etc; as we did not have near enough people - less than the NYPD at the time. I would like to go back now to see it again for sure.

GowanusGuy
May 27th, 2005, 09:19 PM
Here's an aerial shot I took of the island recently.

sfenn1117
May 30th, 2005, 05:39 PM
I may get flamed for this but I think we should build a CN Tower type structure on the island. It would have to be very tall, very original, it would definitely add to the skyline and provide unparalleled views. I've been to CN Tower and within it there are shops and restaurants, and if we build an adjoining skyscraper that is a hotel well I think that would just be perfect. And it certainly would not cover the entire site, not even close, therefore, we would still have our 40+ acre park and preserve the historical buildings (apparently not all buildings are historical/worth preserving)


Anyone agree with this? I would love to see it happen but I doubt it. :( NY needs a CN-type tower, imo.

RedFerrari360f1
May 30th, 2005, 07:33 PM
Itll never happen but I dont think it would be bad at all, in fact im quite fond of it!

billyblancoNYC
May 31st, 2005, 10:09 AM
I may get flamed for this but I think we should build a CN Tower type structure on the island. It would have to be very tall, very original, it would definitely add to the skyline and provide unparalleled views. I've been to CN Tower and within it there are shops and restaurants, and if we build an adjoining skyscraper that is a hotel well I think that would just be perfect. And it certainly would not cover the entire site, not even close, therefore, we would still have our 40+ acre park and preserve the historical buildings (apparently not all buildings are historical/worth preserving)


Anyone agree with this? I would love to see it happen but I doubt it. :( NY needs a CN-type tower, imo.

I like it. Put it at the southern tip. Expansive harbor views, you can see the skyline and the soon-to-be much bigger Brooklyn skyline. It would be a great draw to the island and it would enhance the skyline. Alas, it will likely not happen.

Clarknt67
May 31st, 2005, 03:20 PM
I like it. Put it at the southern tip. Expansive harbor views, you can see the skyline and the soon-to-be much bigger Brooklyn skyline. It would be a great draw to the island and it would enhance the skyline. Alas, it will likely not happen.

I disagree, I say leave it unspoiled. There will likely be an observation deck at ground zero as well as skyscrapers in Downtown Brooklyn, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the view.

I see it as another Central Park, a chance to escape the urban landscape and all the $$$ and concrete. Whatever's built there should meld with the historic architecture and provide city dwellers opportunites like biking, kayaking, etc... recreational inexpensive things families and young people can enjoy.

NoyokA
June 16th, 2005, 12:17 PM
NYSUN:

Redevelopment Ideas Pouring In for Governors Island

BY JEREMY SMERD
June 16, 2005

For two years, the New York Harbor School has been landlocked in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

Since the public high school opened in September 2003, its founders have gazed longingly eastward toward Governors Island, a site naturally suited for a school whose curriculum centers on the bays and tidal estuaries of the harbor.

On June 20, the school will have an opportunity to seize its future. It will propose, to the city-state agency in charge of redeveloping Governors Island, building a campus on the island facing Buttermilk Channel, the quarter-mile-wide stretch of water separating the island's former army barracks from Red Hook, Brooklyn.

The campus could mesh seamlessly with another concept to be proposed by the end of business Monday, the deadline set for submission of ideas for development of the island. A group of 55 civic groups called the Governors Island Alliance will unveil its plans for a 6-acre environmental education center, most likely located on the southern edge of the island, replete with a 2-acre reproduction of the New York Harbor, built to scale and ecologically correct with a minibeach representing Jamaica Bay.

How such projects would reconcile with a proposal to build a replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theater inside a 194-year-old fort will be the task of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, which has been grappling with how to develop the island since the deed was handed over from the federal government for $1 in 2003.

These proposals are just ideas, two of hundreds Gipec is likely to receive in response to its request for "expressions of interest" by June 20. The public benefit corporation, a subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corporation, sent out 3,000 applications detailing its guidelines, the group's chairman, Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, said. Approximately 1,600 applications were downloaded from the organization's Web site.

"We want people from all over the world giving some thought to appropriate, exciting uses for Governors Island," he said.

Mr. Doctoroff expressed optimism that scores of for-profit and not-for-profit organizations - potential developers, investors, and tenants - both here and abroad would respond to the call for ideas on how to develop 150 acres of the island. The remaining 22 acres, known as the Governors Island National Monument, will be preserved and managed by the National Park Service.

Though it's impossible to know how many proposals are forthcoming, real estate experts and those in the planning community are unsure if the private sector will respond enthusiastically to the government's call, which offers few guarantees compared to a more formal request for proposals.

A master plan designed by architects hired by the city in 2004 was supposed to have led to such a request this year. Instead, the preservation corporation issued requests for more input from the community at large in March. A month later, the group's president, James Lima, resigned. Those familiar with the situation said Mr. Lima, who helped secure the deed to Governors Island in 2003, was frustrated by a lack of monetary commitment from the city and state. Although the preservation group received $30 million over three years for upkeep and maintenance on the island, as well as an additional $30 million this year for capital improvements, Mr. Lima said at a Community Board 1 meeting in March that it would take at least $80 million to improve the island's infrastructure - most notably transportation to the island, sewage treatment, and preservation of historic buildings - before private developers would take a risk on developing there.

"The city and state need to make commitments that they will put in money so that the private sector will take this seriously," the president of Friends of Hudson River Park, Albert Butzel, said. "The problem isn't that the private sector won't come up with good ideas, the problem is the more you lay on the back of the private sector to put in infrastructure, the more commercial they have to make it."

This poses a serious obstacle given the restrictions on the possible uses of the island stipulated by the federal government when it handed the deed over to the state. Of the 150 acres controlled by the city and state, the deed requires 40 acres to remain parkland, of which 20 acres are contiguous; 20 acres must be used for education; and 30 acres must be set aside for "public benefit," which could include arts and theater groups.

The remaining 46 acres would be available for private development, but that, too, has its restrictions. Developers are not allowed to build residential housing, except dorms and short-term housing such as hotels, nor are they allowed to build for industrial purposes. Gambling in either casinos on the island or riverboats docked there, and power production, are prohibited. Cars, except for maintenance vehicles, are banned from the island.

"It is clearly a site that is so encumbered with public restrictions that it's very difficult to develop," the president of the Partnership for New York City, Kathryn Wylde, told The New York Sun. "You're not going to see a private for-profit proposal that is very aggressive."

Some money, however, may be forthcoming from the federal government, as $20 million has been earmarked for the island in the fiscal 2006 federal budget. The money, if granted in the budget, will be used to repair 40 docks and install a floating ferry dock to make it easier for private water taxis to take visitors to the island, said Robert Pirani, the director of environmental programs at the Regional Plan Association, one of the lead organizations of the Governors Island Alliance. Mr. Pirani, who knows of at least a dozen plans forthcoming this week from the private sector, acknowledged that once Gipec puts forward the more formal request for proposals, developers will get much more serious and detailed.

"The more specific question you ask, the more specific answer you'll get," he said. "Gipec asked for general ideas."

Until now, ideas from the private sector have included hotels, bed and breakfasts, museums, office space, a marina, and a conference center, one of the first ideas discussed in 2000, during the waning years of the Giuliani administration. At one time or another since then, plans have called for the involvement of the city's public and private universities, which may be readying their own proposals. One idea backed by Senator Schumer is the creation of a CUNY research facility built around a high-speed computer center that would do advanced modeling for a variety of industries.

A notably different idea may come from the private sector, from a group called Federal Development, based in Washington, D.C., according to a consultant for the company, Michael Fishman. Mr. Fishman, who works for the engineering firm Halcrow, said Federal Development's proposal would be based on making the island a model of "environmental and economic sustainability." Mr. Fishman said Federal Development, which, according to its Web site, specializes in "master development of publicly owned real estate assets, "will propose to take on a 99-year lease of the property as the master developer on the island, coordinating individual development projects and helping to secure funding from investors, educational institutions, foundations, and governments.

Such a plan, of course, sounds like what the preservation corporation was created to do in the first place.

NoyokA
June 16th, 2005, 12:26 PM
Toronto has similar land that is a ferry ride from its CBD, they made it into a sprawling utopia of parkland with a variety of different outdoor entertainment and educational functions. It always filled with people picnicking, walking, biking, swimming, and it’s absolutely beautiful.

http://www.city.toronto.on.ca/parks/images/cityview.jpg

http://www.city.toronto.on.ca/parks/island/index.htm

Edward
June 19th, 2005, 08:21 PM
Saturdays Come Roam and Explore Governors Island

June 11, 2005 - September 3, 2005
10 AM to 5:30 PM

Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp., 212.440.2202
National Park Service, 212.825.3051

Please join us as we celebrate the 2005 Summer Season on Governors Island.

Once again, the Governors Island Preservation & Education Corporation and the National Park Service will open Governors Island to the public for Saturday visits to the Governors Island. This year, visitors will be able to visit the esplenade but also explore on their own a about a 40 acre portion of the National Historic Landmark District that includes Colonel's Row, the parade grounds and Fort Jay.

The only ferry service to Governors Island departs from the Battery Maritime Building located at 10 South Street at the corner of Whitehall and South Streets and next door the Staten Island ferry terminal in lower Manhattan.

On Saturdays, the ferry departs every hour on the hour beginning at 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. The ferry returns to Manhattan at 11:15 AM, then every hour on the ½ hour from 12:30 PM to 5:30 PM.

Governors Island Ferry Ticket Information

Tickets for the Governors Island Ferry will be available through New York Water Taxi Ticket Booth locations: Pier 11(at Wall Street & South Street), at the South Street Seaport Pier 16 at Fulton and South Street and in Jersey City, NJ; as well as online at www.nywatertaxi.com and by phone at 212.742.1969. Tickets may be purchased in advance or on the day of departure in person or by phone. There will also be same day sales at the Governors Island ferry slip on Saturdays ONLY, subject to availability.

Tickets are: $6 for Adults and children 13 and older; $3 for children 3-12 and free for children 2 and younger.

---------------------------------------------

National Park Service Saturday Ranger Programs

New for the 2005 summer season, the National Park Service has developed a self-guided tour of the Governors Island historic district open to the public. The self-guided tour fact sheet is available at the bookstore, Building 140, next to the ferry dock on Governors Island.

Historic Fort Jay will be open to the public during the day with free 20 minute ranger guided tours offered throughout the day.

National Park Service rangers will offer short tours of various portions of the Governors Island historic district each Saturday. Tours will be offered on an hourly basis at 20 minutes after the hour from 10:20 AM to 4:20 PM. Tours are free, limited to 40 people each and require a free tour pass available only at the bookstore, Building 140, next to the ferry dock on Governors Island.

http://www.nps.gov/gois/pphtml/eventdetail17676.html

Edward
June 19th, 2005, 09:59 PM
Text from National Park Service (http://www.nps.gov/gois/pphtml/newsdetail15423.html) website, pictures are mine, taken yesterday.

On December 7, 1988, Soviet General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev came to New York City to address the United Nations General Assembly. Following a recitation of the recent changes in the Soviet Union or "perestroika," Gorbachev amazed the global community when he announced drastic cuts in the Soviet military presence in Eastern Europe, ultimately allowing Soviet satellites to choose their own paths.

Not quite a year later, in November 1989, as a result of perestroika in the Soviet Union and a diminishing presence in Eastern Europe, the most graphic symbol of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall, came down.

In his 1998 book about foreign policy, former President George Bush recalled an important meeting at Governors Island with the leader of the Soviet Union after that historic speech:

"As the ferry carrying Mikhail Gorbachev slowly approached the Coast Guard station at Governors Island through the gray waters of New York harbor, a feeling of tense expectation spread across the waiting knots of US and Soviet officials. The arrival field had been largely cleared of spectators and Coast Guardsmen and their families peered from windows, eagerly waiting to glimpse the Soviet leader as he stepped out onto the island. It was a crisp December 7, 1988, and I was looking toward seeing Gorbachev, who had just finished a major address to the United Nations General Assembly--one filled with farreaching arms control proposals. He was on his way to meet with President Ronald Reagan for a brief summit, which had been tacked on to the tail end of his visit to New York."

Bush recalled: "His address that day at the UN had been dramatic in both content and delivery, and it was obvious he loved the gamesmanship that went with an appearance there. It was an encouraging speech. Gorbachev had said that the threat or use of force should no longer be an instrument of foreign policy. He had promised to shift Soviet military doctrine to a more defensive stance and would unilaterally reduce their armed forces by 500,000 in two years--which, given their total size, was small but a good start. He also announced that several armored divisions would be withdrawn from Czechoslovakia, Hungary, and East Germany by 1991 and disbanded."

In planning his trip to the United Nations, Gorbachev had requested a meeting with President Ronald Reagan. With Reagan in final weeks of his presidential term, his advisors felt it important that the visit remain low profile, so there would be no large scale summit or state visit to the White House. Yet, a short and informal meeting between the heads of state and newly elected President George Bush was possible. The White House selected the U.S. Coast Guard base at Governors Island as a meeting site since it was a secure military installation in the middle of New York harbor and just minutes away from the United Nations.

Bush continued: "A broadly smiling Gorbachev emerged from the ferry waving, dressed in a smartly tailored gray suit and a serious red tie. With only a month and a half to go in his term, this would be Reagan's farewell meeting with a man he had come to respect and for whom he felt genuine fondness and friendship. Reagan had brought the US-Soviet relationship a long way forward. He had dispelled the myth that he opposed absolutely everything to do with the Soviet Union, and the Soviet leaders no longer looked upon him as an unreconstructed Cold Warrior." Meeting in the 1840-era commanding officer's residence that now adjoins the Governors Island National Monument, there were moments of tension and humor.

As Bush observed: "...he genuinely flared up when Reagan innocently asked him about progress in reform and perestroika. Gorbachev, with some real feeling, replied, "Have you completed all the reforms you need to complete?" I think he had misinterpreted the question as a criticism, because after we talked about our desire to see reform succeed he calmed down considerably and his good humor returned."

Later on President Reagan humorously noted the only thing he was not able to do during his presidency was to bring horses back to the U.S. cavalry. Gorbachev acknowledged Reagan's love of horses, but shared that he had never had the opportunity to be around them. He told Reagan he could never remember from which side to mount a horse.

With enthusiasm, Reagan responded: "On the left! On the left! Gorbachev, not expecting such passionate uttering of the word "left" by the politically conservative President and retiring Cold Warrior broke up laughing.

A photo opportunity presented the media covering the event was that of Reagan, Gorbachev and Bush gathered on a platform on the opposite side of the island with the Statue of Liberty in the background. The symbolism outlasted the moment.

The role that Governors Island played in the end of the Cold War had implications for the island. The "Peace Dividend" realized by the end of the Cold War resulted in the closing of base in 1996, ending its use as a military installation in New York harbor since 1794.




The meeting of Gorbachev, Reagan, and Bush took place in the Admiral's House on Governors Island on 12/7/1988.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/admirals_house.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/admirals_house.htm)


http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/admirals_house_room.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/admirals_house.htm)

Edward
June 19th, 2005, 11:57 PM
Ferry dock on Governors Island.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/governors_island_ferry.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/)

http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/ferry_governors_island.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/)



South Battery building on Governors Island.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/south_battery.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/)



Inside Castle Williams.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/castle_williams.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/)



The view of Manhattan from Governors Island.

http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/manhattan_sailship.jpg (http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/)

Clarknt67
June 29th, 2005, 05:19 PM
I took this tour 2 weekends ago and it was really a great experience. They do let you walk into some of the buildings, like the mansion pictured above. And a ranger will take you on a free 45 min walking tour with snippets of history. The "campus" of officer's homes was really beautiful and the size of the barrack's building was amazing (slept 1,400 troups!). When you're in the middle of the island, you'd never imagine in a millions years you're a stones throw from NYC. It's silent as any paradise and really pastoral.

When you're in the center of the prison, a pin drop could be heard all over. The acoustics were amazing, it would make a wonderful theater/performance space in the round (if one could ignore it's notorious history as the death site for thousands of confederate soldiers).

I'll post some photos later. I totally encourage anyone who's interested to take the ferry over, it's just $6 round trip.

ZippyTheChimp
November 6th, 2005, 06:39 AM
'FANTASY' ISLAND


By ANGELA MONTEFINISE

City planners have come up with four visions for a new Governors Island, including a Disney-like amusement park.

The 172-acre former Coast Guard base a half-mile off lower Manhattan in New York Harbor could be transformed into a tourist mecca of hotels, stores, restaurants, performance stages and rides under four different models dubbed Destination Island, Innovation Island, Minimum Build Island and Iconic Island.

The Disney-esque Destination Island model would raze the buildings on the south side of the island, preserve the landmarks on the north side and include domed entertainment venues, outdoor amusement rides, a conference center, "resort residential" units, a shoreline amphitheater and a theme hotel.

Innovation Island focuses on research and education, and includes a business school, a sports complex, a research campus, dorms, stores, restaurants and a band shell.

Iconic Island touts the "island at the center of the world," combining boutique hotels and historic buildings with high-rise buildings, a conference center and hotel, and housing.

Minimum Build Island shows the island with restaurants, retail and preserved historic buildings, but not much else. In this scenario, the whole south side of the island would be parkland. One planner called it a "worst-case scenario" because it would cost $217 million to build and generate little revenue.

The concepts were put together by the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp., a state/city subsidiary of the Empire State Development Corp., and were based on 93 responses it received from developers, nonprofits and educators.


GIPEC interim presiden Paul Kelly said it will cost between $217 million and $368 million to develop the island under a plan that mandates public access and 40 acres of parkland, and the preservation of at least 62 landmarked buildings.

"We definitely need economic drivers to help pay for all this," he said. "What we'd like to do is get enough economic activity to maintain the island."

In addition to development costs — which would include the construction of a new tunnels to carry water and electricity to the island — $60 million is needed over the next few years to restore what's already there, Kelly said.

He hopes GIPEC will choose proposal winners by the end of 2006 and start building by late 2007.

The city and state bought the island from the feds in January 2003 for $1.

Email: angela.
montefinise@nypost.com

Power Point presntation from Oct 19th meeting here. (http://www.gipec.org/About_GIPEC/planning_development.asp)

lofter1
November 6th, 2005, 01:01 PM
Here are links to the four proposals:

Innovation Island: http://www.gipec.org/Oct05Presentation/pages/13_innovation.htm

Destination Island: http://www.gipec.org/Oct05Presentation/pages/11_destination.htm

Iconic Island: http://www.gipec.org/Oct05Presentation/pages/12_iconic.htm

Minimum Build: http://www.gipec.org/Oct05Presentation/pages/10_minimum_build.htm

NewYorkYankee
November 6th, 2005, 04:03 PM
I dont want it to become another Times Square, a place catering to tourists. I want it to be a place where New Yorkers, as well as tourists, can go and enjoy.

infoshare
November 6th, 2005, 04:57 PM
I'll post some photos later. I totally encourage anyone who's interested to take the ferry over, it's just $6 round trip.

You will have to wait till the weather gets warmer: but you can get there for FREE.

I am not certain (not an active member) but I believe that the "downtown boathouse" will continue to run kayak trips to Governors Island
next summer, leaving from thier new 59th street location: no experience required. This is not a - tour of the island - trip, but a fun/free way to see-it.

normaldude
November 6th, 2005, 10:14 PM
Ideally, I'd like to see them turn Governors Island into a large, top-tier, public university campus. NY doesn't have any public universities with global name recognition. Like Berkeley, UCLA, Michigan, and Virginia. The SUNY & CUNY schools just don't have the global name recognition.

A large, top-tier, public university like Berkeley would add much more than another amusement park. Besides, a Governor's Island amusement park would probably compete with and detract from the Coney Island revitalization, leading to two lackluster projects with low attendance.

NYguy
January 16th, 2006, 07:20 AM
NY POST

SKY-RIDE LINK EYED FOR GOVERNORS IS.

By RICH CALDER
January 16, 2006

State and city officials want to create an aerial gondola system that would connect Governors Island to Downtown Brooklyn and Manhattan, sources have told The Post.

Unlike the much-larger aerial tramway connecting Roosevelt Island to Manhattan, the Governors Island gondolas would be about the size of those at skiing centers, carry six to eight people and run more regularly.

"It could be an attraction onto itself because of the tremendous views," said Paul Kelly, interim president of Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp., which is overseeing the city and state's massive preservation and development project to turn the former Army and Coast Guard base into a major destination.

Kelly said it is too early to estimate the cost of such a project, but added it would be much cheaper than building a bridge.

The gondolas, if built, would likely run from the Battery Marine Terminal in lower Manhattan to Governors Island's north end and then to a point near Pier 6 off Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, officials said.

The 172-acre island is about 400 yards off Brooklyn and around 800 yards south of Manhattan.

Currently, the only way onto the island is by ferry from Battery Marine Terminal.

The corporation hopes to add new passenger-ferry service to the island from Pier 6, which is also slated to become part of the proposed Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff and Charles Gargano, the governor's economic-development czar, said the goal is to create enough transportation to link the island's parkland, Brooklyn Bridge Park and the planned East River Waterfront Park in Manhattan.

"What we are trying to do is create the world's greatest harbor district," said Doctoroff, who chairs the corporation's board of directors.

The corporation next month will begin soliciting proposals from developers interested in rebuilding the island while preserving its history.

Some preliminary concepts include transforming the island into a tourist mecca of hotels, stores, restaurants and a marina.

Plans also call for creating a 2.2-mile esplanade along the island's waterfront and a 40-acre public park.

The National Parks Service oversees 22 acres on the island, including historic Fort Jay and Castle Williams.

It is considering setting up separate ferry service connecting its attractions to Liberty and Ellis islands, officials said.

About $1.1 billion is expected to be invested in developing the island's 92-acre north end.

Ninjahedge
January 17th, 2006, 09:17 AM
Gov. Island is a nice attraction and could make some nice parkland too.....

infoshare
January 17th, 2006, 11:10 AM
The gondolas, if built, would likely run from the Battery Marine Terminal in lower Manhattan to Governors Island's north end and then to a point near Pier 6 off Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, officials said.

At first glace: great idea. However, the overall distance of the cable span seems to me to far to reasonably attempt. Or, mabe not? This one will be fun to watch.

I will try to post some content here later; mabe phots or G base images.

(update 1) G Base image.

Dagrecco82
January 17th, 2006, 11:21 AM
I wonder how tall this Sky-Ride would have to be to accomodate harbor traffic? That must be a really long distance, no?

lofter1
January 17th, 2006, 12:57 PM
I wonder how tall this Sky-Ride would have to be to accomodate harbor traffic? That must be a really long distance, no?
I think the main shipping channel is on the east side of Governors Island, between GI and Brooklyn.

The distance from GI to the Marine Terminal in Manhattan seems to be about 1/2 mile; the distance to Pier 6 in Brooklyn seems to be a bit more than 1 mile.

The challenge will be the design of the towers for the Sky-Ride, especially on GI -- which has no buildings of any significant height, other than the venting tower for the Brooklyn / Battery Tunnel.

BPC
January 17th, 2006, 10:27 PM
This is far and away the worst idea I have heard proposed for Downtown since 9/11, and I have heard some doozies. Aerial gondolas cluttering up the magnificent New York Harbor? Do none of these nincompoops understand that the cluster of skyscrapers encircled by water is what makes Lower Manhattan the most fantastic vista in the world? Where are the brains on these people?

ZippyTheChimp
January 18th, 2006, 01:19 PM
I think the main shipping channel is on the east side of Governors Island, between GI and Brooklyn.Governors Island is only 400 yards from Red Hook. The main channel is between GI and Manhattan.

Anyway, this is an interesting idea. Making the island easily accessible is a key to attracting investment. The Brooklyn side is narrow enough to consider a simple bridge.

The distance to Manhattan is 800 yards. A skylift would only need a few towers. The loads would be light, so the towers would not be massive and interfere with the skyline. For a demonstration, visit the Bronx Zoo and take the skyfari across the complex.

MidtownGuy
January 18th, 2006, 02:18 PM
This is a very interesting idea, and the gondolas would be a tourist attraction in themselves. What panoramic views! Imaginative concepts like this can make our harbor a real destination. I agreee with Zippy that the towers wouldn't be massive enough to intrude or cause visual clutter. In fact, with a graceful design of towers and gondolas, they may be visually compelling.
With plans for Governors island, Coney island, Randall's Island, the waterfront parks in Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan, I am excited to see more outdoor recreational choices for New Yorkers being presented. Its long overdue.

BPC
January 18th, 2006, 04:28 PM
Ah yes, it would be wonderful to have this beauty gracing New York harbor. Bring on the tourists!

http://www.ronsaari.com/stockImages/nyc/RooseveltIslandTramAndQueensboroBridge.jpg

ZippyTheChimp
January 18th, 2006, 04:44 PM
Funny you chose the exact thing that the article stated it would not be like:

Unlike the much-larger aerial tramway connecting Roosevelt Island to Manhattan, the Governors Island gondolas would be about the size of those at skiing centers, carry six to eight people and run more regularly.
Worthless example.

debris
January 18th, 2006, 05:12 PM
While we're at it, why not build another one connecting the Lexington line to Randall's and Ward's Island. Tramways seem like a nice way to build cheap public transportation when the capacity demands are small (ie: 6-8 people per carraige). And this way working class people who don't own cars can access more green space

BPC
January 18th, 2006, 06:28 PM
Funny you chose the exact thing that the article stated it would not be like:

Worthless example.

Hardly. The Roosevelt Island trams carry about a dozen. So imagine the exact same thing with carts about 2/3 the size, and towers every bit as big and ugly.

Sometimes, I wonder why New Yorkers allowed their officials to destroy so much of what was once great. But I really see the same thing going forward. People have a tendency not to appreciate what they have until it is gone. I always thought that the magnificent southern tip of Manhattan -- the most photographed urban setting in the world -- was an exception, but I guess not.

ZippyTheChimp
January 18th, 2006, 07:11 PM
Hardly. The Roosevelt Island trams carry about a dozen. Maybe you need to actually ride on the tramway before making such statements.

Roosevelt Island Tramway
http://world.nycsubway.org/perl/show?38701

Bronx Zoo skyway
http://members.aol.com/interama/sky41.htm
The cab holds 4 people.

BPC
January 18th, 2006, 08:25 PM
I've ridden the Rooseevelt Island tram several times. My recollection is it holds about 12. If it's 20, so be it. In any event, I wouldn't want the Zoo tram and its attendant towers cluttering up New York Harbor and the Lower Manhattan waterfront either. Downtown is not an amusement park, much as our city and state planners are always treating it as such. This is simply an atrocious idea, which I hope will die quietly.

ZippyTheChimp
January 18th, 2006, 09:16 PM
The tram cars hold over 100 people.

A big problem in New York is that, in a zealous effort to preserve history, it gets overlooked that New York is a working, evolving city, not a museum.

Whether or not this idea is viable, does anyone else thing that it will destroy the downtown skyline? Or maybe that has already been done by those ugly boxes on the waterfront.

Like it or not, New York is in part, an amusement park. 41 million people didn't visit last year just for the good weather.

TLOZ Link5
January 19th, 2006, 01:57 PM
Ahhh, the modernist dream of unlimited transportation lives on.

BPC
January 23rd, 2006, 05:00 PM
It seems that I am the only person who is bothered by this, but I pass it along all the same.



City, state gonzo for Governors Island gondola

Jonathan Cohen-Litant


By Ariella Cohen
The Brooklyn Papers

A plan to connect Brooklyn and lower Manhattan to a proposed tourist Mecca on Governors Island via an aerial cable car earned a nod of approval from city and state planners Tuesday, but the vote didn’t come without hard questions on the pie-in-the-sky proposition.

“What it will cost to build [a gondola] that can withstand the elements and accommodate maritime needs of the harbor?” asked James Gill, chairman of the Battery Park City Authority and a member of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp., a state- and city-appointed board that is transforming the former Army and Coast Guard base across Buttermilk Channel from Red Hook into a 92-acre public space.

A quarter-mile of water separates Governors Island from Brooklyn. Currently, the only way to reach the island — unless you want to crawl through a 14-inch sewer main — is by ferry from Lower Manhattan.

The gondolas are a small piece of the redevelopment plan — but the tram’s potential to bring Brooklyn residents to the island could become an essential lure for investors in the project, planners said this week.

“Accessibility is a major issue for development and the [gondolas] certainly could make the connection simpler,” Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff said.

Next month, the Governors Island board will request proposals from developers willing to sink hundreds of millions of dollars into building on the island. The project depends on finding a partner with deep enough pockets to support the massive project.

Governors Island, like the Brooklyn Bridge Park development, is mandated to be self-financing.

State officials have told developers that they will provide the necessary infrastructure to get people to whatever attractions developers put there.

“We have to see what people are interested in doing,” said Doctoroff. “It could become a major attraction. We have to wait and see.”

In the past, planners discussed linking Brooklyn to the island with a costly bridge, as well as a regular ferry service connecting Lower Manhattan, Governors Island and the Brooklyn waterfront.

Doctoroff wants to see the gondolas built in order to secure his vision of the waterfront as the “world’s greatest harbor district,” he said.

He imagines a cable car system with stations at Brooklyn Bridge Park, the East River Waterfront Park in Lower Manhattan and on the north end of Governors Island. The system would resemble a ski lift with six- to eight-seat cars that run quickly and frequently between the newly landscaped greenspaces, each with their own public esplanades and private recreational offerings.

But other city officials wondered just how the flighty attraction would jibe with other activity on the waterfront, including the arrival of large cruise ships beginning in April in Red Hook, which is also a working container port.

“How high do you have to go so you don’t interfere with shipping?” Gill asked at Tuesday’s vote. “The higher you go the more expensive it becomes.”

Planners of the Brooklyn Bridge Park, where Doctoroff would site one of his gondola stations, were absent from Tuesday’s meeting. A state official working on the waterfront “park” project told The Brooklyn Papers that he had no idea that his Governors Island counterparts were planning to put a gondola station in or near Brooklyn Bridge Park until he read a story in the New York Post on Monday.

Community members who have criticized the state’s plan for Pier 6 — which will host a hotel, condominiums and a landscaped lawn — said they welcomed the cable car terminal.

“We’ve been saying for a long time that this kind of public connection should be on the pier,” said Cobble Hill Association President Roy Sloane.

But Sloane wondered if the plan for the airborne public transit wasn’t a case of missed signals.

“My first reaction is to wonder if the left hand knows what the right hand is doing,” he said. “It’s hard for me to imagine that residents of Brooklyn Bridge Park are going to appreciate having a cable car operation in their front yard.”

The gondola would be Brooklyn’s first. The only other aerial transit system in the city is the much-larger Roosevelt Island tramway, which carries 2,000 passengers a day and operates at a loss.

NYatKNIGHT
January 23rd, 2006, 06:07 PM
“It’s hard for me to imagine that residents of Brooklyn Bridge Park are going to appreciate having a cable car operation in their front yard.”

First, it's not a cable car.

Next, there aren't any residents of Brooklyn Bridge Park yet. If a gondola is part of the park plan then everyone will know it is there before they buy. Shouldn't be a problem. And let's not forget, these are the same people who apparently won't mind having a major highway "operation" in their back yard, I hardly think the quiet gondola is worse than that.

Right off the bat he's assuming that NIMBYS wont let this happen, even before they know what it will be like.

NewYorkYankee
January 25th, 2006, 02:32 PM
BPC I agree with you. IMO, I think it will disrupt the views of the harbor.

ZippyTheChimp
January 25th, 2006, 03:24 PM
See. At least two.

BPC
January 25th, 2006, 09:20 PM
See. At least two.

Progress! Now if we can get that number up to three, and one of them is the Mayor, we may get somewhere.

Kris
February 5th, 2006, 06:50 AM
February 5, 2006

Sleeping Beauty

By MARK CALDWELL

GOVERNORS ISLAND, 172 acres of American history lying just off the southern tip of Manhattan, is terra incognita to most New Yorkers. Commuters, glimpsing it from the Staten Island Ferry, see only an array of abandoned modern buildings and two unpromising landmarks: a white ventilation tower belonging to the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, and Castle Williams, a grim 19th-century fortification, dark red and pierced by black windows.

The island had belonged to the Army since the 1800's. The Coast Guard took over in 1965 but left in 1997, and it's been moldering ever since. Only within the past few months, after years of neglect and delay, has this stark backdrop to a cross-harbor commute emerged as a major concern for the city.

Deputy Mayor Daniel L. Doctoroff has labeled redevelopment of the island a top priority for Mayor Bloomberg's second term. "Everyone recognizes that to achieve the island's potential," Mr. Doctoroff said, "we have to spend wisely now."

Later this month the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, known as Gipec, the state and city entity responsible for oversight of the island, will choose consultants to help it supervise planning for the island. And on Feb. 15, Gipec will solicit formal proposals from interested developers.

Some financing is finally on the horizon. On Jan. 12, Gov. George Pataki announced that his 2006-07 budget request would include $30 million, and the mayor has asked for $30 million more in his current budget to pay for urgent repairs to the island's most frail structures. These improvements, Mayor Bloomberg indicated in his Jan. 26 State of the City speech, will pave the way for a grand design, soon to materialize. "We will select a specific plan for the future of Governors Island," he said, "that makes the most of its spectacular location, beauty and history."

Of course, the money earmarked for the island so far constitutes only an installment on an estimated $400 million repair bill. But an infusion of energy at Gipec has begun to draw serious attention from the private developers on whom much of the island's future will depend; both the agency and its supporters, keenly aware that projects will have to be practical, nonetheless want them to be worthy of the island's distinctive charisma.

"It's a very special place, a place of beauty, a place of history," Mr. Doctoroff said. "The island in the center of the world."

The experience of disembarking at the stone quayside after the seven-minute ferry ride from the Battery Maritime Building on South Street routinely elicits superlatives. Norman Twain, a producer of "Spinning Into Butter," a forthcoming movie starring Sarah Jessica Parker for which scenes were shot on the island, recalled one particularly evocative misty day. "I remember leaving our offices and walking outside in the rain, with a spectacular view of the skyline in the distance," Mr. Twain said. "It was heaven."

That indeed describes the 92 northern acres facing Manhattan. But Governors Island is, in fact, a place of two sharply distinct landscapes, and the southern one is far from heavenly: 80 acres of landfill, moved there between 1901 and 1912 from excavation for the city's first subway. It's griddle-flat and pocked with ramshackle 20th-century military buildings, almost certain candidates for razing and redevelopment.

The so-called North Island is a bucolic contrast: its lawns, woods, rolling hills — occupied by the Lenape Indians for hundreds of years before the Dutch arrived in 1624 — seem steeped in the past. While no visible traces of early settlement survive, the North Island is home to a dignified ensemble of 19th-century brick and stone warehouse buildings that climb gently toward a green hillside.

Just beyond them lies Fort Jay, surrounded by a dry moat and dating from 1794. Even Confederate soldiers, imprisoned there during the Civil War, sometimes succumbed to its allure. William Drummond, who spent several months confined to the fort in 1862, described it in his diary as "a very fine place" that "commands a view of all the Cities about New York and a full view of the Harbour."

Nearby, an enclave of old yellow clapboard and brick houses surrounds Nolan Park, a New England-like village common. Beyond is the neo-Georgian Liggett Hall, designed by McKim, Mead & White; its tower, the island's tallest structure, crowns an immense archway that frames a vista toward the tip of the island. Until the opening of the Pentagon in 1943, Liggett Hall, built in 1929 to house an entire Army regiment, was the largest structure ever undertaken by the American military.

But once the Army and the Coast Guard left, the place fell asleep, as if under an enchantment: lawns and Victorian houses, the red-brick Works Progress Administration-era movie theater with its gaping box office, the old officers' club with two deserted ballrooms overlooking the channel atop a bastion built for the War of 1812. A broad, empty promenade lined in places by a parade of London plane trees surrounds the island, opening a panorama of sea and air from the Narrows to the Statue of Liberty and the towers of Manhattan in the background.

Perhaps no other place in the city offers a single view of so much of New York Harbor, from the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge up the Hudson and East Rivers as they diverge northward from the Battery.

Stunning an asset though the island is, New York was slow to take advantage of it. The federal government deeded it to the state and city in 2003, but collaboration lagged between the public and private agencies charged with raising money to renew the island and make it accessible to the public. Only now, more than three years later, does the process seem definitively under way. And none too soon, according to those familiar with the island, because some of the most significant buildings are in danger.

"The cost of restoring them will be astronomical if they're allowed to deteriorate too much," said Andrew S. Dolkart, a professor of historic preservation at the Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Mr. Doctoroff is equally emphatic. "Every day that goes by, the infrastructure on the island and the historic buildings deteriorate," he said. "The longer it takes to have a plan, the more it's going to cost us."

The Planning Challenges

Most urgent — and likeliest to get immediate attention — are problems like the island's disintegrating sea wall. In addition, $46 million will be used to make emergency repairs on buildings on the North Island. Hazardous materials like asbestos will have to be removed, at an estimated cost of $8 million.

Access to the island will need to be improved before any major construction can take place: transporting large numbers of visitors, like the thousands who might come to hear a concert, poses a major challenge, which will have to be addressed soon. Gipec plans to build a second landing on Buttermilk Channel to allow a new ferry service from Red Hook, Brooklyn. Another recent proposal calls for something more elaborate: a cable car system to link the island with Brooklyn and Manhattan.

In addition, sewage and water systems, which both date from the 19th century, will have to be upgraded; when Mr. Twain, the movie producer, took his walk in the rain, the path led to a bathroom plastered with warnings against drinking the water.

If the current timetable holds, the worst deterioration will be halted within the next few years. Old buildings will be adapted to new uses, and new construction will begin by 2008, at which point Governors Island will begin its transformation into an amenity its advocates hope will resemble nothing else in any other metropolis.

Though a few truly Promethean schemes — like dividing the island in two by digging a channel — have been suggested, many of the 101 preliminary ideas submitted to Gipec during the spring and summer of 2005 were modest: bed-and-breakfasts, restaurants, retail stores housed in existing buildings.

Others were larger in scale, like a 5,000-seat amphitheater, and the 20 acres earmarked for education, for which suggestions include a new home for the New York Harbor School, a public high school with a maritime emphasis, or a campus for advanced research, perhaps specializing in nano- or biotechnology.

These ideas will have to take into account certain restrictions imposed by the deed that transferred the island to the city from the federal government.

The oldest buildings must be preserved and adapted to contemporary use. Casinos, private cars and permanent housing are forbidden. The 2.2.-mile esplanade must be kept intact; 40 acres must be preserved for parks; and 22 acres, stretching from Fort Jay to Castle Williams, will remain under the control of the National Park Service.

But ultimately, whatever finally rises on the island will be the result of a complex dance between public entities like Gipec and private money, a dance made more delicate by the juxtaposition between the palimpsest of history on the North Island and the blank canvas to the south.

Governors Island, 2010

Ideally, the Governors Island of the future might blaze a middle path between two battling urban creeds — the hunger for size, boldness and spectacle of the Robert Moses (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/robert_moses/index.html?inline=nyt-per) era, and the desire, powerfully articulated in the 1960's by the urbanist Jane Jacobs, for quiet, intimate spaces hospitable to the improvisation and serendipity of city life. Governors Island could be an urban extravaganza, or it could be a contemplative 19th-century village floating in the harbor, preserved for family strolls and quiet conversation.

Some planners might hope for development on the epoch-making scale of great New York projects built (like Central Park or Battery Park City) or unbuilt (like Westway). But for Kent Barwick, president of the Municipal Art Society, the true grandeur of the island lies in the harbor surrounding it: the incomparable natural gift that spurred the city's meteoric 19th-century growth, then vanished from its awareness as industrial development walled it off from its people and their neighborhoods.

Mr. Barwick sees Governors Island as a focal point for New York's return to its harbor. Ellis and Liberty Islands, along with the waterside promenades and gardens begun or proposed for the Hudson and East Rivers, promise a system that could, linked by water transport, release the city's pent-up urban energy into a romance with the channels, bays, rivers and sea it has turned its back on for much of the last 150 years.

"Add all these places up," Mr. Barwick said, "and you get the equivalent of a number of Central Parks."

Robert J. Pirani, executive director of the Governors Island Alliance, a group of organizations monitoring development plans, sees the island's imminent resurrection as a step beyond even successful water's-edge projects like South Street Seaport, the promenade in Battery Park City or the refurbished piers between Morton and 14th Streets in the West Village.

"They gave the city a new edge," Mr. Pirani said. "But Governors Island is a whole new place."

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/02/05/nyregion/thecity/05feat_graph.gif

Mark Caldwell is the author of "New York Night: The Mystique and Its History."

Copyright 2006 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

BPC
February 5th, 2006, 10:16 AM
Warning -- certain persons are trying to turn this magnicificent island into a toxis waste dump. This is from the "Tabe Bck the Memorial" web site.


Proposal submitted by WTC Families for Proper Burial, Inc.

Having attended the October 19, 2005 information session at the Fashion Institute, concerning the future of Governors Island, we were struck by the similarity between many of your goals and the goals of WTC Families for Proper Burial. We propose that a portion of the South Island area be designated an International Cemetery for those killed at the World Trade Center (WTC) on September 11, 2001. Below are the reasons why we need this cemetery and the way in which this cemetery would fit the criteria set aside for the use of Governors Island.

Currently the small tissue particles, bone fragments and cremated remains of most who died at the WTC are in the Fresh Kills Landfill. We feel that this is a totally inappropriate place for their permanent interment. Governors Island would provide a beautiful and respectful place. In addition its proximity to Ellis Island, the Statue of Liberty and the WTC site will provide a kind of “pilgrimage” for those who want to pay respects and connect with our nation’s history. And further, it will help the Governors Island project, as it will draw tourists from many nations (nationals from 91 countries were killed at the WTC). It will also keep the cost for infrastructure low and will keep some of the South Island acreage green, open and carefully landscaped. Maintenance would be minimal compared to some of the other proposals for the use of this land.

Daniel Doctoroff spoke of Governors Island becoming a place like no other in our nation. Our country has no international cemetery of the caliber of the cemetery in Normandy, France. Thus, this cemetery would be “unique“, “special” and “something historic,” as Mr. Doctoroff said this island should be. Patrice Lamel added that we must create a “world class destination.” Judging by the people from all over the world who visit the cemetery in Normandy France, and now the site of the WTC disaster, this would indeed be a world class destination.

When Paul Kelly spoke of the need to “achieve design excellence,” we realized that an International Cemetery could encourage such excellence in landscape design. In talking about the results of market analysis, David Lesser cited an educational component. The historic significance of the cemetery proposed could certainly include education about a pivotal historic moment for our nation. He also spoke of the special” essence” of Governors Island with the warning that we be very careful not to “develop that essence away.” Since this international cemetery does not require buildings or elaborate infrastructure, it certainly would not over-develop the area nor take away its essence. One of the “Key Public Input Themes” about which Mr. Lesser spoke was the need to maintain and integrate the historic character of the Island. How better to maintain this perspective than by focusing, at least in part, on such an important moment in our nation’s history?

In examining the pros and cons of the conceptual models exhibited on October 19, we were stuck by the connection between the benefits of the “Minimum Build” scenario and our proposal for an International Cemetery. It would require the least amount of infrastructure and traffic demands, requiring no new buildings. Our proposal also fulfills the concept of “Destination Island” as it was described: “a major tourist attraction on South Island to compliment the North Island history.” In the model for “Iconic Island,” the desire to maintain, “the true serenity, peace and sanctuary that is there on that island,” coordinates perfectly with the beautiful landscape we envision for the international cemetery.

Mr. Lesser seemed to feel that the “Destination Island” model had the best potential. We feel that an International Cemetery, which honors the dead from the September 11, 2001 attacks, can easily fit into that model. Even the questions and comments following the October 19th presentation indicated that our proposal would work well with the needs for the future of Governors Island. There is a need for open park space; there is a fear of “Disneyfying” the architecture; there is a need for year-round use; there is a reluctance to allow “fractional housing,” housing that seems to contradict the deeded intent that there be no residential component on Governors Island. Even the concern mentioned about the natural plantings and protection of wild life could be addressed in the careful landscaping of this section of South Island as it accommodates an International Cemetery.

We look forward to your careful examination of our proposal to use part of the South Island section of Governors Island as an International Cemetery for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attack at the World Trade Center. Questions can be directed to: WTCFamiliesforaProperBurial@comcast.net.

Thank you,

Diane Horning, President WTC Families for Proper Burial, Inc.

lofter1
February 5th, 2006, 10:26 AM
As long as this group pays for exhumation, transfer, building, up-keep (in perpetuity) I'd consider that the government offer a small plot on GI ...

...from the "Tabe Bck the Memorial" web site.

... the goals of WTC Families for Proper Burial. We propose that a portion of the South Island area be designated an International Cemetery for those killed at the World Trade Center (WTC) ...

Currently the small tissue particles, bone fragments and cremated remains of most who died at the WTC are in the Fresh Kills Landfill. We feel that this is a totally inappropriate place for their permanent interment. Governors Island would provide a beautiful and respectful place.

... Our country has no international cemetery of the caliber of the cemetery in Normandy, France. Thus, this cemetery would be “unique“, “special” and “something historic,”

...we were stuck by the connection between the benefits of the “Minimum Build” scenario and our proposal for an International Cemetery.

...use part of the South Island section of Governors Island as an International Cemetery for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attack at the World Trade Center.

LeCom
February 5th, 2006, 03:46 PM
Wait, lemme get this straight. The families of victims want to use Governor's Island for a cemetery? And they advocate it by saying the victims' remains will draw tourists to towm?

BPC
February 5th, 2006, 10:51 PM
Wait, lemme get this straight. The families of victims want to use Governor's Island for a cemetery? And they advocate it by saying the victims' remains will draw tourists to towm?

Yup. Having succeeded in snatching 5 acres of prime Financial District real estate in tribute to their lost family members, they are now looking to snatch the crown jewel of New York Harbor.

Lofter1 -- that's now at all what the family members are looking for. The debris at Fresh Kills (which is WTC building debris, not human remains, BTW) constitutes MILLIONS OF TONS. It would fill up all of Governor's Island. It has been suggested over and over again that the family members accept a "symbolic" move of a small portion of this debris, and they have rejected all such suggestions as blasphemous.

lofter1
February 6th, 2006, 12:46 AM
BPC, I'm aware of that ;) .

That's why I said IF first they pay for every damned cent of their hare-brained idea then I'd consider it.

Also would it become a cemetery only for those who were killed in terrorist attacks, past and future?

Or only for those who have already passed?

Or anyone who fits under the description of "international"????

My great-great-great-great-great-great grandfather and his ten brothers and sisters were held on that island for a number of weeks upon their arrival to NYC from Germany in 1710 (ahhhhh, the wonderful life of an indentured servant under the control of the good Queen Anne http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/anne_queen.shtml -- but no doubt even that was a fate better than being slaughtered by French Catholics).

Does that historic connection give me dibs on a burial plot there, too?

ZippyTheChimp
February 6th, 2006, 03:54 PM
Well, if you consider what LeCom said...there couldn't be more irony.

For years, we've been hearing catchwords like:
Hallowed ground
Sacred footprints
Dignity
Respect
Proper burial
Loved ones without peace

So now they want to use their dead relatives to promote a tourist attraction.

I think the city should just give them 10 acres at the tip of Governors Island, but the entire circus should move there. They can recreate the WTC site. The footprints can be cut up and transported like is done at archaeological sites.

Kris
February 15th, 2006, 06:07 PM
Hey, Dreams are Free

http://therealestate.observer.com/Gondola.jpg
Governor's Skyway

Working pro bono, Santiago Calatrava came up with drawings for a gondola that would connect Lower Manhattan with Governor's Island--with considerable help we imagine, from STV Inc. and Leitner-Poma of America. The sketches put a little glamour in the rather technical announcement by Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg this morning that the agency overseeing the island had issued a request for proposals.

-Matthew Schuerman

http://therealestate.observer.com/2006/02/hey-dreams-are-free.html

Kris
February 15th, 2006, 06:19 PM
February 15, 2006

MAYOR BLOOMBERG AND GOVERNOR PATAKI CALL FOR VISIONARY IDEAS FOR THE REDEVELOPMENT OF GOVERNORS ISLAND

City and State Have Committed Additional $60 Million to Maintain Historic Structures and Infrastructure

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Governor George E. Pataki today announced the issuance of a Request for Proposals (RFP) for visionary ideas to redevelop and preserve Governors Island, a 172-acre sanctuary in the heart of New York Harbor. The Governors Island Preservation & Education Corporation (GIPEC), a subsidiary of Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), issued the RFP in order to solicit proposals from qualified individuals, corporations and other organizations that can take advantage of the uniqueness of Governors Island, and have the vision and expertise to connect the island to New York City’s future. As part of the effort to rehabilitate the Island’s infrastructure and historic structures, the City and State are raising their contribution by an additional $30 million, bringing the total commitment to more than $120 million. The Mayor and Governor were joined at the announcement by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development & Rebuilding and GIPEC Chair Daniel L. Doctoroff, ESDC Chairman Charles Gargano and architect Santiago Calatrava at the Battery Gardens Restaurant in Lower Manhattan, directly across from Governors Island. Calatrava was on hand to unveil his conceptual model of an aerial gondola transportation system that could create new connections between Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Governors Island.

“New York City is home to dozens of world-famous landmarks such as Central Park, Rockefeller Center and the Statue of Liberty – and I firmly believe that Governors Island has the potential to join their ranks as one of the most popular destinations in the world,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Governors Island is a special place, and we must take this opportunity to preserve the Island’s historic buildings and create something extraordinary that will resonate across the globe and benefit New Yorkers for generations to come. We are very fortunate that an architect like Santiago Calatrava, who recently moved his home to New York City, has offered his tremendous creativity to help New York conceptualize the aerial gondola. Improved access to Governors Island is critical to its future viability, and this gondola represents one fascinating option among many that we will consider and the type of vision we are hoping to attract to this important project.”

“The RFP and the new funding commitments on behalf of the State and City are necessary to preserve the extraordinary historic buildings on the Island and to cultivate new parks and public spaces,” said Governor Pataki. “The history and splendor of Governors Island offers a unique development opportunity for the creation of a world class landmark that can be enjoyed by all. Now all we need are visionary partners to come and work with us to achieve the extraordinary, and help cement the legacy of this picturesque treasure.”

“Governors Island is a truly unique site that requires the highest standards of development, producing nothing less than the site’s nearly limitless possibilities,” said Deputy Mayor Doctoroff, who is also chairman of GIPEC. “Governors Island is the centerpiece of our efforts to transform New York Harbor, which, taken together with the extraordinary range of projects in Lower Manhattan, Brooklyn and Staten Island, will create the world’s greatest waterfront destination.”

The RFP issued today addresses the 150-acre portion of Governors Island administered by GIPEC, which is distinct from the 22-acre portion known as the Governors Island National Monument that is administered by the National Park Service. The City and State anticipate development uses to be appropriate to the island and its waterfront location, and should promote the following goals:

Enhance New York’s place as a center for culture, business, education and innovation;
Preserve and adaptively reuse historic structures;
Create a public place and parkland for all New Yorkers;
Contribute to the vitality of New York Harbor and link to the surrounding waterfronts;
Promote environmentally sustainable development;
Achieve financial self-sustainability and provide maximum return to GIPEC for the purpose of supporting public benefit uses.

“When Governors Island is looked at within the context of other ongoing public development projects in New York city – Ground Zero, the East River Waterfront in Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge Park – it presents an extraordinary opportunity to tie these projects together and stimulate public interest and access Lower Manhattan, Downtown Brooklyn, the waterfront and Harbor,” said ESDC Chairman Charles Gargano.

Responses to the RFP are due by May 10, 2006. A short-list of respondents will be required to provide additional information during the summer, with a selection of finalists expected to be announced in mid-September. The execution of conditional designation letter(s) with respondent(s) or respondent team(s) is anticipated by November 2006. Once selected, the respondent(s) or respondent team(s) will work closely with GIPEC to refine a master plan and complete the environmental review process, including the preparation of the environmental impact statement (EIS), which is expected to take between 12-18 months. Development can begin at the conclusion of the environmental review process. Additionally, if a potential gondola or ferry stop linking Brooklyn Bridge Park to Governors Island are pursued, they would be analyzed in the Environmental Impact Statement that will be prepared for the Governors Island Project.

As part of the RFP, respondents will be required to provide for public priorities included in the federal deed restrictions and reaffirmed in the General Project Plan that was adopted by GIPEC and ESDC last month. These include the preservation of historic structures and the creation of a 40-acre public park with a public esplanade around the island’s perimeter. Additional information, including a PDF download of the RFP, can be found on GIPEC’s website, www.govisland.com.

Emblematic of the scale and scope of the development opportunity on Governors Island, architect Santiago Calatrava has provided on a pro-bono basis (with the assistance of STV Inc. and Leitner-Poma of America) renderings and related design work for an aerial gondola that could, if constructed, provide connections between Governors Island, Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. These connections would support not only visits to Governors Island, but could provide an additional transportation option between Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. In addition, Rubenstein Associates has also signed on as pro-bono advisor to GIPEC to assist in the outreach for proposals.

“This is an opportunity to make something extremely practical and logical, which at the same time tries to inspire the imagination in a way that can happen only here, in New York Harbor,” said Santiago Calatrava. “On a practical level, the design creates a new direct link to Governors Island for both tourists and Island workers from both Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. The system is very light, using only three supports, none of which stands in the water, so the shipping channels are left completely open. On the level of the imagination, the gondola cars will be round, so they are shaped a little like apples – and because they are transparent, they will offer a wonderful 360-degree view of the harbor.”

www.nyc.gov

Kris
February 15th, 2006, 06:22 PM
http://www.nyc.gov/html/misc/gif/2006a/top_feature_021506.jpg

lofter1
February 15th, 2006, 06:42 PM
As much as I derided this idea when it was first mentioned, if a Calatrava-designed gondola were to be built then I'll give the idea a second, third and fourth thought.

Here's some of what is found in the Request for Proposals for the Preservation and Redevelopment of Governors Island:

Appendix O: Preliminary Transportation Plan (http://www.govisland.com/PDFs/PresRFP/Appendix_O_Preliminary_Transportation_Plan.pdf) (January 2006) ...

lofter1
February 15th, 2006, 07:08 PM
Even if Calatrava comes up with a brilliant design I can't help but think this is what it will bring to mind ...

debris
February 15th, 2006, 07:36 PM
I think its worth a shot. New Yorkers are simply not going to use the island unless its connected to the subway, and the gondola ride will transfer perfectly to the 1 train and the R/W at the Battery Maritime Building. What's more, it will spur the development of the BMB as a Chelsea Market type pavillion. It should work as well as the Roosevelt Tram, and have a similarly breathtaking view.

Yes, ferries are scheduled to leave the BMB, too, but they will have much longer wait times. Besides, we've already got ferries. This thing would be unique in the United States.

MidtownGuy
February 15th, 2006, 08:35 PM
Yes, Calatrava could make this thing look beautiful I am sure. A bit more elegant than a clothesline! That made me chuckle though.

MidtownGuy
February 15th, 2006, 08:43 PM
Sometimes I wonder if any of the "star" architects have heard of our little forum here or ever paid it a visit.

BPC
February 15th, 2006, 09:28 PM
Hey, Dreams are Free

http://therealestate.observer.com/Gondola.jpg
Governor's Skyway

Working pro bono, Santiago Calatrava came up with drawings for a gondola that would connect Lower Manhattan with Governor's Island--with considerable help we imagine, from STV Inc. and Leitner-Poma of America. The sketches put a little glamour in the rather technical announcement by Governor Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg this morning that the agency overseeing the island had issued a request for proposals.

-Matthew Schuerman

http://therealestate.observer.com/2006/02/hey-dreams-are-free.html

yuk

TLOZ Link5
February 15th, 2006, 09:39 PM
Even if Calatrava comes up with a brilliant design I can't help but think this is what it will bring to mind ...

Clothelines strung between opposite-facing tenement windows present an image that is, of course, classic New York.

lofter1
February 16th, 2006, 12:19 AM
^^ u bet

Comelade
February 16th, 2006, 12:51 AM
photographs via ' local live windows'

http://img473.imageshack.us/img473/3271/governorsisland27oe.jpg


http://img110.imageshack.us/img110/8241/governorsisland70xb.jpg


http://img473.imageshack.us/img473/549/governorsisland103wd.jpg

http://img110.imageshack.us/img110/2711/governorsisland134pg.jpg


http://img473.imageshack.us/img473/5082/governorsisland173bl.jpg


http://img473.imageshack.us/img473/6483/governorsisland6tm.jpg

other photographs :
http://newyorkbirds.free.fr/manhattan/Governors%20Island/index.php

Kris
February 16th, 2006, 04:28 AM
February 16, 2006
Big Ideas for Governors I., Like a Gondola, Perhaps
By JIM RUTENBERG

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/02/16/nyregion/gondola583.jpg
A rendering of an elevated gondola system designed by Santiago Calatrava. It would link Brooklyn and Manhattan by way of Governors Island.

Plans for a futuristic elevated gondola system linking Brooklyn to Manhattan by way of Governors Island on a tramway were introduced yesterday by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg.

The system, estimated to cost $125 million, would be designed by the architect Santiago Calatrava, and would greatly change the face of Upper New York Bay.

But there is a catch: at a press briefing at which the mayor showed drawings of the tramway — which would feature the long and spindly arms that mark much of Mr. Calatrava's work — he acknowledged that the system was still only an idea. He said, however, that he hoped it would eventually become reality and in the meantime inspire others to come up with big ideas for the development of Governors Island.

At the briefing, Mr. Bloomberg and state officials publicly solicited ideas for the island.

"Its possibilities really are limitless," Mr. Bloomberg said. "And the challenge for us is to not just let it sit here, not just be engaged in endless conversations, not to look for the pedestrian, but to do something brilliant."

Over the years the city has asked for ideas for the island, a former Coast Guard base, which after years of negotiations finally came under local control a few years ago.

There has been talk of an amusement park, a casino, a movie studio and a biotech center, much of it dismissed as unrealistic or unworkable, an acknowledgment of the island's limitations; aside from the difficulties in getting people there, many of the buildings have landmark status and cannot be torn down.

But with the defeat last year of the administration's plans to significantly alter the look of the Far West Side with a football stadium, Mr. Bloomberg and his development team have renewed their focus on Governors Island as they seek to leave some other lasting mark on the city's landscape.

Governors Island is one of the few areas of the city with considerable space available for development, 150 acres in all, according to the mayor's office.

Mr. Bloomberg and his top development deputy, Daniel L. Doctoroff, who were joined by the state's top development official, Charles A. Gargano, said they were open to just about anything with imagination, and within reason.

They said they hoped that the proposed tramway would serve as an inspiration. "It is an idea, one of many for helping to transform this island, and it is feasible, we believe, from an engineering and cost perspective," Mr. Doctoroff said.

But, he said, its construction would require heavy analysis, planning and community consultation, and that for now he hoped the design would "help raise the bar for what the world imagines and what it expects from this great place."

All told, officials said, each of the tramway's two arms would extend 3,250 feet and its gondolas would be suspended from a height of about 200 feet. The tramway would be able to transport people from either Lower Manhattan or the foot of Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn to Governors Island in about four minutes, and commuters could also use it to go directly to Brooklyn or Manhattan.

Howard P. Milstein of Milstein Properties applauded the idea, and said it could entice him to make a proposal.

"The city has hit upon exactly the right approach, which is to have a very creative solution," he said. "To make this useful, you have to be able to get there."

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

ablarc
February 16th, 2006, 07:44 AM
Can't say it's not a big idea.

BPC
February 16th, 2006, 08:48 AM
Wow. Only $125 million to forever destroy the postcard-perfect view of Lower Manhattan surrounded by water. At some point, is someone going to speak out against this atrocity?

krulltime
February 16th, 2006, 09:12 AM
I think is a great idea. But I do want to see more renderings though. Anyway, that will bring more tourism to downtown Manhattan and to Brooklyn aswell.

krulltime
February 16th, 2006, 09:28 AM
Hizzoner floats gondola rides to Govs Isle


BY MICHAEL SAUL
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU
February 16, 2006


Imagine this: Traveling among Governors Island, lower Manhattan and Brooklyn in an apple-shaped gondola that offered spectacular 360-degree views of the city and New York Harbor.

The sky tramway - akin to those used at ski resorts - could be part of a dynamic new plan to redevelop Governors Island, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday.

City and state officials made a public appeal for visionary proposals to preserve and redevelop the 172-acre island, located a half-mile from Battery Park in the harbor. The proposals are due May 10.

The tramway, designed by renowned architect Santiago Calatrava, is a preliminary idea, not yet endorsed by the city or the state, officials said yesterday. Still, Bloomberg said the word "stunning" doesn't "even start to convey" the majesty of Calatrava's concept.

"I just think this is going to be unbelievable," he declared.

Calatrava's design calls for the gondola cars to be suspended from cables. The cars would be round with flip-up seats for eight to 12 passengers, plus space for a wheelchair. They would be air-conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter.

There would be three stations: one at Battery Park in Manhattan between the Staten Island ferry terminal and the Coast Guard building; one in Brooklyn where Atlantic Ave. ends between Piers 6 and 7, and one at the tip of Governors Island.

Passengers would be able to travel between Brooklyn and Manhattan as well as to Governors Island.

The gondolas would rise roughly 200 feet above the water and transport about 3,000 people an hour. Officials estimated the construction tab at $125 million.

Deputy Mayor Daniel Doctoroff, chairman of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp., said the proposals for the island must be visionary and embody a "unique nobility of purpose."

"Most of all what we are seeking is a place that is distinctly New York and yet unlike anything New Yorkers have ever seen before," he said.

In 2003, the federal government transferred the island to the state, the city and the National Park Service for public use, following two centuries of restricted military use. City and state officials have been scrambling since then to put together a viable proposal for the island.


All contents © 2006 Daily News, L.P.

TonyO
February 16th, 2006, 09:37 AM
$125 Million could buy a nice ferry. This gondola idea is nice in theory but not good in reality. It was mentioned that at peak times, thousands would be going to/from the island. A gondola would be a nightmare under this scenario.

ZippyTheChimp
February 16th, 2006, 09:42 AM
Wow. Only $125 million to forever destroy the postcard-perfect view of Lower Manhattan surrounded by water. At some point, is someone going to speak out against this atrocity?Yes, it will totally obliterate the elegant rectangles along Water St.

BigMac
February 16th, 2006, 10:24 AM
Wow. Only $125 million to forever destroy the postcard-perfect view of Lower Manhattan surrounded by water. At some point, is someone going to speak out against this atrocity?Interesting point; perhaps a gondola connection just between Brooklyn and Governors Island could be considered, if only for that reason.

ZippyTheChimp
February 16th, 2006, 10:34 AM
If we want Governors Island to be an urban Martha's Vineyard, then ferry transportation would be fine. But don't expect the massive private investment that's needed. Get out the checkbooks, we'll be paying for it.

If it is to be accessible enough to attract private funds, then something beyond ferries is going to be necessary. A subway would be nice, but unless there is a plan and money for another Manhattan-Brookllyn tunnel, that's out of the question.

lofter1
February 16th, 2006, 11:16 AM
They're just not thinking BIG enough on this one ...

Kris
February 16th, 2006, 11:26 AM
Image in the Daily News, scanned by NYguy:

http://www.pbase.com/nyguy/image/56150423/medium.jpg

BrooklynRider
February 16th, 2006, 11:46 AM
It's that giant ferris wheel stretched into a linear ride. Blech!

NYatKNIGHT
February 16th, 2006, 11:49 AM
I moved the related posts from the Waterfront Development thread to this one.
Now at least we have some answers to earlier questions.


...the overall distance of the cable span seems to me to far to reasonably attempt. Or, maybe not?
I wonder how tall this Sky-Ride would have to be to accomodate harbor traffic? That must be a really long distance, no?
The Roosevelt Island trams carry about a dozen. So imagine the exact same thing with carts about 2/3 the size, and towers every bit as big and ugly.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/02/16/nyregion/gondola583.jpg


I like the idea even more after seeing that it doesn’t have to have several oversize clunky towers, as Calatrava demonstrates. It’s another bridge connecting Brooklyn and lower Manhattan, but slender and modern - could be very graceful..…they’re on the right track.

ablarc
February 16th, 2006, 12:29 PM
A modern transporter bridge.

ZippyTheChimp
February 16th, 2006, 12:53 PM
A factory assembly line, like something out of Modern Times.

Yikes! Soylent Green on Governors Island.

(Midtown Guy: Did you see the movie).

BigMac
February 16th, 2006, 01:33 PM
Wow. Only $125 million to forever destroy the postcard-perfect view of Lower Manhattan surrounded by water. At some point, is someone going to speak out against this atrocity?Judging from this (http://www.nypost.com/news/regionalnews/61993.htm) Post article, you may have an ally in Rep. Anthony Weiner:


Weiner said he'd oppose the gondola system because ferries are more efficient and because he likes the downtown Manhattan skyline just the way it is.

"This isn't Disneyland," he argued.

NYatKNIGHT
February 16th, 2006, 01:38 PM
Is Roosevelt Island also Disneyland?

Funkytown
February 16th, 2006, 02:20 PM
I think this idea is great for New York. I know the design is not final but as it appears now it is really elegant. I don’t think it will destroy the skyline. It will only enhance it. The structure appears very light and low enough not to affect the skyline. And besides., as pointed out by Zippy, those buildings on Water street are hardly architectural gold. I also love the idea of shaping the gondolas like apples- a perfect tribute to THE BIG APPLE. Finally just take a look at his other masterpieces proposed for New York, they’re incredible. If there is one architect in the world that I would put my absolute trust in it’s Mr Santiago Calatrava.:D I would do anything to have him design something in my city.

Clarknt67
February 16th, 2006, 02:31 PM
Is Roosevelt Island also Disneyland?
It is. And like Disneyland in California and France, it's a big disappointment when compared with Disneyworld in Florida.

Seriously, I think this gondala will look graceful and pretty and not be a detractment from the skyline. But that's just my opinion.

I'm not sure that at peak time "thousands" will going to GI, but in the event that demand exceeds the gondola's capacity, New York water taxi already provides service to Brooklyn's fulton landing and the City runs ferry's already. (Ferry service will continue to grow as parts of Red Hook become more populated.) Gondolas are but one way to get there.

The gondola would be a huge draw to tourists as well if they gave them an actual destination on GI worth visiting.

BigMac
February 16th, 2006, 02:31 PM
NY1 Poll:

How should the city use Governors Island? (http://www.ny1.com/ny1/Polls/index.jsp?pollactivequestionintid=1687)

MidtownGuy
February 16th, 2006, 02:37 PM
those are goofy choices in the poll. they overlap each other.

Clarknt67
February 16th, 2006, 02:39 PM
How pointless is that poll? Could it be any more vague? Can recreational not co-exist with cultural? There is certainly room enough for a skateboard pipe and a museum.

And what IS "public use?" Does that not encompass recreational and cultural?

Kris
February 17th, 2006, 07:34 AM
http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_145/thats125million.html

Volume 18 • Issue 40 | February 17 - 23, 2006
That’s 125 million dollars, not lira for this island gondola
By Josh Rogers

Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Dep. Mayor Daniel Doctoroff have tapped renowned architect Santiago Calatrava to design an aerial gondola connecting Governors Island to Downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn for even less money than the two, dollar-a-year city officials make.

Calatrava, who already has two projects to reshape Lower Manhattan, may get a chance to do a third if Wednesday’s announcement proves to be the charm and a decade of promises to develop the 172-acre island come to fruition. Calatrava’s work may be gratis but the gondola and cables will not come cheap: $125 million.

“What we are presenting is not only a sketch of a simple idea, it is the result of a maturation,” said Calatrava, who designed the World Trade Center PATH station under construction and a distinctive, 800-foot, condo tower planned for South St. He worked on the gondola design with STV Inc. and Leitner-Poma of America.

Calatrava, whose designs, sketches and sculptures are on exhibit at the Met, said the Sept. 11 attacks drew him to the city from Spain. Though 9/11 was horrific, he said the city also “gained a sense of the tragic” with the attack that gave it a historical significance comparable to three other cities that rebuilt — Jerusalem, Rome and Athens.

On Wednesday, the city and state also announced the release of a request for proposals to develop the island and they hope to select a developer by September and finalize an agreement by the end of the year. An environmental impact statement will take at least a year, and under the most optimistic scenario, construction of the island’s next use could begin by the end of next year. The gondola project will be dependent upon implementing a plan for the island, which the Coast Guard left in 1996 because of high maintenance costs.

http://www.downtownexpress.com/de_145/island.gif
Photo image of what the island could look like if you razed all of the buildings outside the historic district.

Many of the same ideas that have been kicking around for Governors were mentioned as possibilities at the announcement: a hotel-conference center, university, museums, historical center and a marina. One third of the island is an historic district made up of buildings and military facilities dating as far back as the Revolutionary War. Under an agreement with the federal government, housing would be prohibited unless it relates directly to the island’s use such as faculty homes for a campus. The new plan for the island will also include a 40-acre park and an esplanade that circles the perimeter.

When the federal government returned Governors to New York for $1 in 2003, Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Bloomberg toured it together and talked about building a City University of New York campus that would free up room for city high schools.

The mayor said Wednesday the plan was hard to implement because the island’s draw also has costs. “It’s advantage is it is isolated,” Bloomberg said. “That’s also a disadvantage.”

Doctoroff said the city and state have worked hard over the last three years and are finally in a position to turn the island over to a developer. He is chairperson of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, a state-city authority charged with managing and developing the island.

Rob Pirani, executive director of the Governors Island Alliance, said he has concerns the gondola may “cream some of the tourists off the ferry. It may create more demands for subsidizing the ferry service.” Pirani, also a director at the Regional Plan Association, helped start the Alliance 11 years ago in an effort to bring civic groups together to advocate for opening the island to the public.

One of the roadblocks has been finding uses that generate enough traffic to keep ferry service affordable, but that allow for open space and historic building preservation. The city and state plan to continue ferry service with the gondola system. The island now opens in the summer on selected days for public use.

Pirani does see appeal in the tram and thinks the best part of the island plan is “the idea of iconic architecture and the idea of creating links on the waterfront.”

The gondola will leave from an area near the Governors I. ferry in the Battery Maritime Building, close to Battery Park, the East River waterfront section that is being renovated and Hudson River Park. It will leave from Downtown Brooklyn at the end of Atlantic Ave., near the southern end of Brooklyn Bridge Park.

It will take four minutes to reach the island from each borough and about 6,000 passengers would be able to get to the island from the tram every hour. Weekdays, it could be a commuter line transporting about 2,000 people an hour from Brooklyn to Lower Manhattan in about 10 minutes if the system went in only one direction during rush hour.

The cables holding the gondola look like a decorative bridge and Calatrava, also an engineer, assured reporters the high, narrow structure could withstand harbor winds. It will not touch the water, which will make it easier to get environmental approvals.

U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who announced an island plan for parks, a hotel/conference center and a biotech lab last year during his mayoral campaign, released a statement Wednesday praising the mayor and governor for focusing on the island but he added that an “elevated gondola as a method for visiting the island would be an expensive and ugly diversion from the common sense travel option — the ferry.”

Pirani, who has attended many Governors Island announcement ceremonies over the years, had a feeling this one might actually happen because of “the focus of the mayor and deputy mayor — making it part of their legacies.”

Doctoroff said everyone he has spoken with agrees “this is an opportunity we will never have again.”

Josh@DowntownExpress.com

ZippyTheChimp
February 17th, 2006, 08:21 AM
Whether or not you like the tram, if it's built, is there anyone here who won't take at least one ride?

BigMac
February 17th, 2006, 09:14 AM
New York Post
February 17, 2006

LET'S GIVE A NEW LIFE TO GHOST ISLAND

By ANDREA PEYSER

http://www.nypost.com/photos/news02172006021.jpg
RIVER JEWEL: Old buildings (above) on Governors Island could make way for new development off Manhattan. Photo: William Farrington

SEVEN minutes out of lower Manhattan, and I've landed in the downtown Twilight Zone.

The clocks still run on Governors Island. The buildings appear recently painted.

A schedule still adorns a bus kiosk, announcing regular pickups and drop-offs. Signs announce the hours of a barber, a movie theater, a restaurant. A swing set looks as if a child has just run inside for lunch.

But there's no one alive here on this creepy and magnificent spit of land smack dab in the middle of New York Harbor's Upper Bay. Not if you don't count the Canadian geese who have full run of the place.

It's not just spooky. It's a crime.

I've taken a nearly empty ferry from the tip of Manhattan to this unsettling jewel that sits in the river, boasting spectacular views that no one can see.

The island that time forgot now presents a magical and unprecedented opportunity. Where else in New York can you find acres of virgin territory, ripe and available for development, observed Peter Fleischer, senior vice president of the Governors Island Preservation & Education Corp.

"We're very excited," he said.

We all should be.

Roaming the island yesterday, I was amazed to see the detritus of nearly 400 years in which the island was used as an Army base, an estate and, finally, as a Coast Guard base.

But the federal government up and left nearly a decade ago, leaving the place abandoned. It will take imagination to get this place rolling.

There remains a clutch of pristine Victorian houses that sit, unspoiled, in a park that looks like something out of New England. I see a boutique hotel opening here.

And Liggett Hall, built in 1929, was the biggest military building on the planet, before the Pentagon.

Why not a museum?

I see a four-star restaurant. An outdoor cafe. An open-air theater.

I see ships of all sizes resting here for an evening, or overnight, their guests enjoying a vacation from the city just minutes away.

I see a university — perhaps CUNY — setting up shop here. Gondolas depositing passengers on the shore.

Am I thinking too small?

When the government handed over the island to New York, for a dollar, in 2003, it made a few rules: No industrial use, no casinos and no permanent housing.

But that doesn't mean the island can't be the new home of the United Nations — and get those ungrateful anti-Semites off our shores.

Right now, the island is the home of a single, 24-hour firehouse. About four sailors spend the night here, sharing a house, working a week on and a week off.

Mike Anderson, 27, who helps run the ferry, likes the quiet.

"I get the best sleep out here," he said.

"I'm used to being isolated. But this is the place time forgot."

Not for long, we hope.

andrea.peyser@nypost.com

Copyright 2006 NYP Holdings, Inc.

Kris
February 17th, 2006, 11:12 AM
Gondola for Governors Island?
02.16.2006

http://archpaper.com/images/news/021206_gongov.jpg
Two proposed tramways would each link Governor’s Island to Manhattan
and Brooklyn.

On February 15, the Governors Island Planning and Education Corporation (GIPEC) released a long-awaited Request for Proposals (RFP) to redevelop the 172-acre island in New York harbor. To add some verve to an otherwise workaday announcement, the organization also unveiled a design for an aerial gondola linking the island to both Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan. Although the project, designed by Santiago Calatrava (with STV and Leitner-Poma of America), is purely suggestive, it dramatized a point made several times throughout the morning press conference by Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff: those hoping to redevelop Governors Island need to think big. “This requires a new scale of imagination and ambition,” he said, adding that Calatrava’s design for the gondola link “represents the scale and grandeur of vision for which we are looking.” Both Doctoroff and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg were careful to say that the project was just an idea, and that there are at present no concrete plans to develop it further.

Santiago Calatrava took a different tack though. In his remarks, the architect stressed that the gondola proposal, speculative though it may be, is the result of four months of work and could in fact be built. “This is not just a sketch,” he explained. “We have treated it with the same rigor as any other project, like a bridge,” he said. As designed, the Brooklyn connection of the gondola would have an anchorage in Brooklyn at the end of Atlantic Avenue and one on Governors Island while the Manhattan connection would have one on the island and one in Battery Park City. Both gondolas would meet at a terminal on Governors Island. Each leg of the tramway would be capable of transporting approximately 3,000 people per hour in cabins that would hold anywhere from nine to twelve passengers and depart every 20 seconds. The estimated cost is $125 million. Calatrava also said that because it was suspended 200 feet above the water, and its support structures would be entirely on land, it wouldn’t impact river traffic or ecology.

ANNE GUINEY

www.archpaper.com

MidtownGuy
February 17th, 2006, 01:12 PM
But that doesn't mean the island can't be the new home of the United Nations — and get those ungrateful anti-Semites off our shores.

now why did this statement have to be put in there. Oh yeah, it's the Post.

Clarknt67
February 17th, 2006, 01:22 PM
The Brooklyn Anchorage would be at the south end of the Brooklyn Bridge Park. What a great day it could be, walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, wander the Park there, have lunch, take the gondola to Gov's Island. What a great little tourist loop of Brooklyn, GI and Lower Manhattan that would make.

MidtownGuy
February 17th, 2006, 02:12 PM
exactly! this would get heavy use I think.

Kris
February 17th, 2006, 05:49 PM
Governors Island gondola a ‘go’
By Gersh Kuntzman
The Brooklyn Papers

http://www.brooklynpapers.com/html/issues/_vol29/29_07/29_07gondola.jpg

The “Governors Island Gondola” is a go.

A once seemingly implausible method of transporting visitors from the proposed Brooklyn Bridge Park to a someday-to-be-reopened Governors Island by gondola is officially part of the city and state plan for the mothballed former Coast Guard base.

To demonstrate its support for the Euro-flavored mode of transport, city and state officials trotted out architect Santiago Calatrava — best known for his soon-to-be-magnificent PATH train station at Ground Zero — at a press conference this week to show off his pod-like air train.

Access to the jewel of New York harbor, just a half-mile off the Brooklyn waterfront, has stymied planners for years. But six months ago, Deputy Mayor Dan Doctoroff floated a plan for a network of gondolas linking recreation areas on the Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan waterfronts to the island.

Calatrava said he volunteered to design the model.

At Wednesday’s press conference, reporters were skeptical. When one asked about the effect of wind on cable cars dangling 200 feet over the water, Mayor Bloomberg gestured toward Calatrava and said, “That’s why he’s an architect.”

The mayor’s confidence in Calatrava was immediately slammed by his onetime mayoral rival, Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-Bensonhurst).

“I am concerned that the elevated gondola … would be an expensive and ugly diversion from the common sense travel option: the ferry,” he said.

Beyond Calatrava’s $125-million gondola, city and state officials called for “visionary ideas” to reconceive the entire island, a historic federal base that was ceded to New York more than a decade ago for $1 under the provision that it be developed for public use.

Doctoroff said the official “request for proposals,” which are due May 10, would put the island on “an aggressive timetable for 2008.”

The “winner” of the RFP process will assume the $12 million annual maintenance costs that are now split between the city and state, Doctoroff said.

www.brooklynpapers.com

BPC
February 17th, 2006, 07:10 PM
Whether or not you like the tram, if it's built, is there anyone here who won't take at least one ride?

I would rather have my pro rata share of the $125 million, and the view of magnicent Lower Manhattan encircled by water left intact.

Kris
February 17th, 2006, 07:37 PM
Minus the two bridges? Lower Manhattan isn't exactly a pristine natural wonder - why treat it as such?

BigMac
February 17th, 2006, 11:25 PM
I think he means the southernmost tip of the island in particular.

BPC
February 18th, 2006, 01:14 AM
Yes, the entire tip of Lower Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge on the East River, all the way around to the Hudson River, is an unbroken cluster of towers (broken only by beautiful Battery Park) ringed by water. There is no other vista like it in the world. It is the most photographed urban setting ever. To string a spider web / clothesline / ski lift across the middle of it would be to forever destroy something unique and special. And for what -- another tourist attraction? Why destroy this?

http://www.wirednewyork.com/guide/governors_island/manhattan_sailship.jpg

Jake
February 18th, 2006, 11:39 AM
Ideally the area would thrive like the offshore islands of Toronto which are all parks and are really great.

At first the gondola design seemed off to me but that must've been the case for any new bridge going up in NYC.

I'd personally rather see a sleek bridge going through governor's island and brooklyn that would be pedestrian focused but handled subways or cars as well. I believe Memphis has a bridge with an attached pedestrain gondola underneath, I think that would be good.

The bridge below (from China) looks sort of like the proposed tram yet has more uses

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/9/93/ThreeTwrBrCenter.jpg

JD
February 18th, 2006, 11:55 AM
Calatrava's gondola will never be built--too expensive, too impractical--but it would be a godsend. As others have noted, the towers that would be its backdrop along Water Street are so awful, so ungraceful, that Calatrava's design would make them tolerable.

Anytime a waterway is spanned people complain about views being despoiled. But if the design is beautiful: build, baby, build.

(Before the angry responses fly in: are the harbor's views wrecked by the Verrazano or the East River crossings? Does San Francisco lose because of the Golden Gate?)

ZippyTheChimp
February 18th, 2006, 12:07 PM
The response you are going to get is that these structures are beautiful, and a part of the cityscape. People tend to view their present environment as the most relevant, and nothing more is possible. Everthing that preceeded it was preparation for the moment they arrived.

I'm sure there were people standing at Peck's Slip in the late 19th century, lamenting the loss of the postcard view of the bluffs of Brooklyn Heights, with its many church steeples.

BPC
February 18th, 2006, 12:43 PM
The response you are going to get is that these structures are beautiful, and a part of the cityscape.

Actually, that was not the response he was going to get from me. Even ugly structures, such as the Manhattan or Williamburg Bridges, are fine in the right setting. But the Lower Manhattan setting is unique in all the world. A narrow tip of an island, containing a cluster of towers right up to the water, which encircles it on three sides. To destroy that for a ski lift for tourists to boost attendance at a very minor tourist attraction seems beyond senseless.


People tend to view their present environment as the most relevant, and nothing more is possible. Everthing that preceeded it was preparation for the moment they arrived.

Again, some "people" may view it that way, but I am not one of them. For example, I would glady see the Chase Manhattan Building torn down from Downtown and the Met Life building torn down from Midtown. Both were positively ruinous additions, in line with Mr. Calatrava's latest creation.



I'm sure there were people standing at Peck's Slip in the late 19th century, lamenting the loss of the postcard view of the bluffs of Brooklyn Heights, with its many church steeples.

Really a non-sequitur here. We are stuck with the City that we live in. We can either improve it or we can preserve it. But we should try not to ruin it.

MidtownGuy
February 18th, 2006, 01:07 PM
I don't think the unique Lower Manhattan setting would be destroyed by this, but made more unique...It is another way to experience a view of the entire area from above. So, if more of us are actually experiencing a view of the lower tip of manhattan, live instead of by looking at a snapshot, because of this elegant transport, then I support it. It wouldn't be just a "ski lift for tourists." I see my friends being downtown and hopping on spontaneously- more so than if it were just a ferry.
It is a very unobtrusive design- compared to the Brooklyn Bridge it will look as light as air, and the movement of the gondolas back and forth will add another dynamic and novel moving element to the spectacle of the harbor, and an obvious sense of "destination" will be lent to Governor's Island.

BPC
February 18th, 2006, 06:31 PM
I sometimes get the feeling that is Santiago Calatrava designed a sewage tratment facility for the front of Liberty Island, it would be greeted on this board with hosannas.

NewYorkYankee
February 18th, 2006, 09:02 PM
That was the highlight of my night....sadly.

Jake
February 18th, 2006, 10:15 PM
Basically I'm all for it if it looks solid, I don't want to see a "string" bridge

BTW, this will essentially end the heliport near that area, in case anyone care, lol.

JD
February 18th, 2006, 11:14 PM
Really a non-sequitur here. We are stuck with the City that we live in. We can either improve it or we can preserve it. But we should try not to ruin it.

This is such a strange statement. NYC, like all great cities, is constantly changing; New Yorkers are not "stuck" with anything. Improvement and preservation, moreover, are not diametrically opposed. Amen about not "ruining" anything: it's fine to oppose Calatrava's folly, but the future doesn't lie in preserving the Manhattan waterfront in amber.

BPC
February 18th, 2006, 11:15 PM
If you read the statement that my statement was in response to, then you will not find it so strange.

ZippyTheChimp
February 18th, 2006, 11:23 PM
It was so strange, that I didn't see the point in responding.

Non sequitur?

Those 19th century people did not believe that they were stuck with the city they had.

JD
February 18th, 2006, 11:24 PM
If you read the statement that my statement was in response to, then you will not find it so strange.

I have read it. You are opposed to Calatrava's design. But what's with the hyperbole--"beyond senseless"..."ruinous"..."destroy"? We can debate the aesthetics of the bridge itself, but it's not destroying anything. The Brooklyn Bridge certainly changed the look of Lower Manhattan, but no one would maintain the harbor would be better off without it.

BPC
February 19th, 2006, 02:59 AM
It was so strange, that I didn't see the point in responding.

Non sequitur?

Those 19th century people did not believe that they were stuck with the city they had.

And cavemen did not believe they would ever hunt the mastodon to extinction. What possible relevance does that have to us today?

lofter1
February 19th, 2006, 09:08 AM
Clothelines strung between opposite-facing tenement windows present an image that is, of course, classic New York.
Classic ...

JD
February 19th, 2006, 10:03 AM
This island is jam-packed with monotonous glass rectangles from the 1950s and 1960s, crowding out and blocking the views of their far more elegant predecessors.

All those glass boxes have gotten to BPC's head. But we're stuck with them: better to freeze the city in place, c. 2006; we wouldn't want the derring-do spirit that built NYC in the first place to ruin the perfection of Lower Manhattan.

ZippyTheChimp
February 19th, 2006, 10:30 AM
The most significant thing about this bridge is not the bridge itself, but the idea that the city is willng to think big, think different, think outside the box. New York used to do this on a regular basis, but now it's become the rare exception.

With preservation laws in place, we don't even do a good job of safeguarding worthy history. Instead we must preserve in time a static view of one of the most dynamic cities in history.

My own opinion of that view: It has deteriorated well past its classic prime, and would benefit from some alterations.

BPC
February 19th, 2006, 12:13 PM
All those glass boxes have gotten to BPC's head. But we're stuck with them: better to freeze the city in place, c. 2006; we wouldn't want the derring-do spirit that built NYC in the first place to ruin the perfection of Lower Manhattan.

OK, great. Then maybe the Mayor and Senor Calatrava can practice that derring-do spirit in some other part of town. Perhaps they could design a lovely fast-food court for the middle of Central Park. Or maybe a giant roller coaster for the southern tip of Roosevelt Island. Or how about a bungee-jumping crane for a corner of Washington Square Park? In other words, if these uptown guys want to experiment with new tourist attractions for someone's neighborhood, let it be their own.

ZippyTheChimp
February 19th, 2006, 12:22 PM
We have successive denigrations of this concept as a mere tourist attraction - pretty much what that postcard view is.

Tourism is a major industry. Maybe we should tell Goldman Sachs to experiment with their bland building and 8,000 workers elsewhere.

JD
February 19th, 2006, 12:31 PM
If these uptown guys want to experiment with new tourist attractions for someone's neighborhood, let it be their own.

New Yorkers are famous for their ability to accept new ideas and concepts, to accept change and the vitality that comes with it. It's why many residents moved here in the first place.

So what does it say about your logic when you call Bloomberg, a transplant from Massachusetts who billions by thinking boldly, and Calatrava, a Spaniard who has been called "a Leonardo da Vinci of our age"--"uptown guys"? Very cosmopolitan.

Keep the sophomoric jokes about food courts and bungee jumps coming. It makes your opinions on architecture that much more clever.

BPC
February 19th, 2006, 05:40 PM
So what does it say about your logic when you call Bloomberg, a transplant from Massachusetts who billions by thinking boldly, and Calatrava, a Spaniard who has been called "a Leonardo da Vinci of our age"--"uptown guys"? Very cosmopolitan.

I call them "uptown guys" because both of them live uptown. And because both of them are male.

BPC
February 19th, 2006, 05:44 PM
We have successive denigrations of this concept as a mere tourist attraction - pretty much what that postcard view is.

Tourism is a major industry. Maybe we should tell Goldman Sachs to experiment with their bland building and 8,000 workers elsewhere.

Yes, tourism is a big deal, but tourism to Governor's Island is certainly not, and is not going to become a big deal, ski lift or no ski lift. Certainly not so big as to mar New York harbor forever.

As for your Goldman Sachs reference, that is yet another non sequitur, a statement so disconnected from the present discussion as to be incapable of rational response.

JD
February 19th, 2006, 06:05 PM
You might write the Mayor and suggest that he request proposals for the flash-freezing of Lower Manhattan only from architects and civic planners who live to the south of Chambers Street. A limited pool, to be sure, and it might not guarantee the results for which you're hoping, but give it a whirl.

ZippyTheChimp
February 19th, 2006, 06:38 PM
Yes, tourism is a big deal, but tourism to Governor's Island is certainly not, and is not going to become a big deal, ski lift or no ski lift.
Before RFPs have even been accepted, you've relegated the entire island to mediocrity.

Small thinking. The ultimate nimbyism. Now we have to preserve entire views of the bay. Not on my side of the river.

As for non sequiturs, how does this remark further the discussion?

I sometimes get the feeling that is Santiago Calatrava designed a sewage tratment facility for the front of Liberty Island, it would be greeted on this board with hosannas.If the sycophantic tendencies of this community for any European architect that comes along drive you to distraction, I will try to curb my enthusiasm. Or maybe you're just smarting from the reaction to your large swath of Brooklyn observation.

BrooklynRider
February 19th, 2006, 11:21 PM
...Or maybe a giant roller coaster for the southern tip of Roosevelt Island...

I'm cool with that.

BPC
February 20th, 2006, 01:42 AM
Small thinking. The ultimate nimbyism. Now we have to preserve entire views of the bay. Not on my side of the river.

Fine with me, so long as your river is the East River.

Jake
February 20th, 2006, 06:22 AM
Just put a damn bridge there, have you guys ever seen the traffic on the BQE right outside the Battery Tunnel? It's absolutely terrible all the way to Brooklyn Bridge.

Face it, eventually NYC will have to put up another bridge. As the Nets move to Brooklyn and a few office buildings get put up in downtown Brooklyn the whole area will face even greater crowding. Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges don;t handle an adequate amount of traffic (especially subway traffic).

If we're gonna put money into this I think we should go all the way. Otherwise it's millions of dollars wasted on a tram that will be eventually replaced by a bridge anyway.

lofter1
February 20th, 2006, 08:31 AM
Where would this bridge arrive in downtown Manhattan? A look at the ramps and approaches for the other East River Bridges will show what changes to infrastructure would be necessary in order to build a new bridge from downtown to Governor's Island and on to Brooklyn. The costs would be outrageously high.

Robert Moses proposed such a bridge in the 1930's, but it ws rejected and the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel was built instead:

http://www.nycroads.com/crossings/brooklyn-battery/img7.gif

The proposed Brooklyn-Battery Bridge was to be a double suspension span connected
by a central anchorage, a design that was used on the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
The Robert Moses proposal was defeated in 1939 in favor of a twin-tube tunnel.
(Photo composite by Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority.)

THE BROOKLYN-BATTERY BRIDGE BATTLE ( http://www.nycroads.com/crossings/brooklyn-battery/ ) :

Proposals for a crossing between the Battery Park in lower Manhattan and the Red Hook section of Brooklyn had been around since 1929. At that time, city planners noted that the Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn bridges were together carrying 150,000 vehicles per day, and projected that this number would double in the years ahead.

Originally envisioned as a three-tube, six-lane tunnel, the crossing was to connect two pieces of Robert Moses' rapidly expanding arterial network: the West Side Highway in Manhattan, and the "Circumferential bypass" (later known as the Gowanus Expressway and the Belt Parkway) in Brooklyn. The proposed tunnel, which also had the support of Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, was approved by the New York City Board of Estimate in November 1930.

However, its construction was delayed by the deepening economic depression. After spending $105 million on the Queens-Midtown Tunnel and other high-priority projects, the city government was running low on funds. The federal Public Works Administration (PWA) refused to provide additional funds to the city.

In a desperate search for funds, LaGuardia discovered the Moses' Triborough Bridge Authority was generating $30 million in surplus revenues. Such a surplus would fund the proposed Battery crossing, but this would come at a price. LaGuardia would have to relinquish control of the New York City Tunnel Authority to Moses.

With Moses now in control of the Battery crossing, he changed the original plan from a six-lane tunnel crossing to a six-lane bridge crossing. This change reflected the values of the bankers that would finance such a project: that a bridge would be built for less money, cost slightly less to operate, and carry more traffic. Moreover, this change reflected his own personal philosophy: his eagerness to build impressive monuments for all to see. According to an aide, Moses regarded a tunnel as "but a hole in the ground."

The design of the Moses' proposed Brooklyn-Battery Bridge - a twin suspension bridge linked together by a central anchorage near Governor's Island - was similar to that of the twin suspension span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. The Brooklyn approach was to be at Hamilton Avenue, at the site of the current Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel toll plaza, and was to connect to the Gowanus Parkway (which eventually became the Gowanus Expressway). The Manhattan approach was to be at Battery Park, where a series of giant piers would carry a low-level causeway to the West Side Highway.

Unlike many of Moses' previous projects, the Brooklyn-Battery Bridge proposal fomented opposition from New York City's business and political establishments, as well as from the influential Regional Plan Association (RPA). Many in the city's "Good Government" movement - those who propelled Moses to power in the 1920's - felt that they had been betrayed.
They feared not only losses in property values, but also the values that made city life valuable. Ole Singstad, noted tunnel engineer and proponent of a Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, estimated that the planned Manhattan approach would cost New York City as much as $29 million in lost real estate taxes over the next 20 years.

From Robert A. Caro's The Power Broker:

Build the bridge that Robert Moses wanted to build and "a prospect unexcelled by any city in the world," would become little more than an extension of the mean streets of Lower Manhattan. The (Battery) park had once been an escape from those streets - the only escape; now there would be no escape from them at all. Only someone thoroughly familiar with Lower Manhattan could appreciate fully what would be done to the area - and to the half million people who spent their days in it - by the bridge that Robert Moses wanted to build. But New York's reformer-aristocrats possessed that familiarity, and they determined to stop him from building it.
Even the New York City Planning Commission, which had steadfastly recommended a tunnel for the site, voted 4-2 to approve the Brooklyn-Battery Bridge. While the majority had "valid objections" to the bridge, the Commission stated that it was "not at this time called upon to choose between a tunnel and a bridge." A Brooklyn-Battery crossing was needed, and if a bridge were the type of crossing were available, it would have to be a bridge.
In the end, it took the intervention of President Franklin D. Roosevelt to stop the Brooklyn-Battery Bridge project from moving forward. In the April 5, 1939 edition of her newspaper column "My Day," First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt provided this insight:

I have a plea from a man who is deeply interested in Manhattan Island, particularly in the beauty of the approach from the ocean at Battery Park. He tells me that a New York official, who is without doubt always efficient, is proposing a bridge one hundred feet high at the rive, which will go across to the Whitehall Building over Battery Park. This, he says, will mean a screen of elevated roadways, pillars, etc., at that particular point. I haven't a question that this will be done in the name of progress, and something undoubtedly needs to be done. But isn't there room for some consideration of the preservation of the few beautiful spots that still remain to us on an overcrowded island?
The Brooklyn-Battery Bridge proposal was officially killed on July 17, 1939, when the Secretary of War under the Roosevelt Administration, Harry Woodring, said that the proposed crossing would be seaward of the Brooklyn Navy Yard. According to the War Department, the proposed bridge would have not only been vulnerable to attack in the event of war, but also would have blocked access to the Navy Yard.

However, it could be argued that this was a ludicrous objection, since the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges were downstream of the Navy Yard. In the end, perhaps the Battery crossing decision stemmed from the long-stemming grudge between Moses and Roosevelt.

BPC
February 20th, 2006, 10:02 AM
Some facinating/informative posts from you today, lofter. I've been lookng at that Dutch map all morning.

ZippyTheChimp
February 20th, 2006, 10:28 AM
Just put a damn bridge there, have you guys ever seen the traffic on the BQE right outside the Battery Tunnel? It's absolutely terrible all the way to Brooklyn Bridge.Why would you want to encourage more car traffic at the tip of Manhattan?

A third BBT tube would be more practical, but again...
Why would you want to encourage more car traffic at the tip of Manhattan?

ManhattanKnight
February 20th, 2006, 11:41 AM
More on the first proposal for a Battery-Brooklyn bridge:

http://img291.imageshack.us/img291/7240/batterybrooklynbridge6al.jpg

(From Henry Petroski, Engineers of Dreams: Great Bridge Builders and the Spanning of America, 1995, p. 287) ("Considerable opposition arose to an above-water crossing, not only by the War Department but also from citizens who did not want to see the spectacular and world-famous view of the lower-Manhattan skyline hedged by the enormous elevated approach roads that would have had to accompany a bridge.")

Jake
February 20th, 2006, 12:26 PM
I think the bridge is nice.

IMO the bridge could exit directly onto the FDR, the current ramp for the Brooklyn Bridge is a horribly impractical design.

Again, I don't think we should build a giant Triborough type bridge, but if we're building something mediocre, why not upgrade it?

Another bridge I like, this one in Riga, Latvia.

But hey I know it won't happen anyway. The problem with the Battery Tunnel is that it's too expensive. I take the tunnel but I'd rather take the bridge for free. :-)
http://www.qedata.se/bilder/gallerier/lettland/Riga-bro1.jpg

MidtownGuy
February 20th, 2006, 04:44 PM
No bridge, please....no more car traffic down there, when we are doing so much towards a greenbelt around the tip, a new use for the Battery Maritime Building, etc., I think the gondola is perfect. Combined with the recreational/ cultural/picture taking possibilities on the island itself, a soaring ride above the harbor in a clear gondola is just about guaranteed to be on most tourist agendas, and something I would look forward to using myself when I want a change from Central Park or Hudson River Park.
The air gondola excites the imagination... but you won't catch me looking straight down through the bottom of the clear apple.... I'd probably get queasy looking at the water far below ;)

lofter1
February 20th, 2006, 05:34 PM
ManhattanKnight: Great Picture. Good Bridge. Wrong Location.

Of course back when this was proposed the West Side Hiway was elevated, so in a way it made more sense back then to link the WSH to the elevated BB Bridge approaches.

But look what a bridge similar to the one that Moses proposed would do to Battery Park (if this pic doesn't help then just try to pciture the elevated Route 9A / West Side Hiway in relation to the new buildings at Riverside South) :

Clarknt67
February 20th, 2006, 07:19 PM
Yes, tourism is a big deal, but tourism to Governor's Island is certainly not
Have you been there? Do you have some insight into what the Island will become in 20 years? For what it's worth, I've been there and as a tourist destination, it's up there with anything the city has to offer. It has a rich history and some gorgeous architecture.

Well planned, GI could become a huge tourist destination.


Face it, eventually NYC will have to put up another bridge.
Not if people had the good sense to take the best public transportation system on the planet.

BPC
February 20th, 2006, 09:38 PM
Have you been there? Do you have some insight into what the Island will become in 20 years? For what it's worth, I've been there and as a tourist destination, it's up there with anything the city has to offer. It has a rich history and some gorgeous architecture. Well planned, GI could become a huge tourist destination.

I have. The best part about it are the views of Manhattan, which, of course, the ski lift would obstruct.


Not if people had the good sense to take the best public transportation system on the planet.

Agreed, but whether we improve public transit or not, Manhattan is out of space for new cars. We long ago reached the breaking point.

MidtownGuy
February 20th, 2006, 10:36 PM
It's gossamer thin. It isn't going to obstruct any view. I just saw the presentation by Calatrava himself on Access Mayor and he stresses how in the rendering they had to make the white lines heavier than they would actually be, that's how minimal it is.

BPC
February 20th, 2006, 11:43 PM
Maybe it will be completely transparent, like Libeskind's last design for the Freedom Tower. Maybe Dan and San can even get together to discuss their shared ability to design invisible large-scale structures.

MidtownGuy
February 20th, 2006, 11:45 PM
Har HAr harty har har.

Jake
February 21st, 2006, 11:03 AM
Maybe it will be completely transparent, like Libeskind's last design for the Freedom Tower. Maybe Dan and San can even get together to discuss their shared ability to design invisible large-scale structures.

Heh, good point, so far the FT really is invisible ;)

Kris
February 23rd, 2006, 04:53 AM
February 23, 2006
Critic's Notebook
New York Wonders: An Island Fit for What?
By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/02/23/arts/gov.span.jpg
Renderings by the architect Santiago Calatrava of his proposed aerial gondola system that would link Manhattan and Governors Island.

Slide Show (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2006/02/22/arts/20060223_GOV_1.html)

It's the kind of choice development site that would have made an old-school planning czar like Robert Moses salivate: 172 acres of waterfront property just off the tip of Manhattan.

Yet city and state officials clearly are at a loss about what to do with Governors Island. Abandoned by the Coast Guard 10 years ago, it is half occupied by a sprawl of abandoned military buildings, including two brooding early 19th-century Army forts, protected by landmark status. The other half mostly consists of modest housing built by the Coast Guard in the 1970's and 80's. Last week, city and state officials issued an open call to development teams in the hope of forging a new vision. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg touted a proposal to create an aerial gondola linking the island to Lower Manhattan, but he was essentially pleading for any idea that could rescue the site.

In asking developers to take the lead, government officials risk quashing creativity at the outset. More broadly, their appeal raises questions about how American cities — New York in particular — are approaching large-scale urban development these days, handing over enormous swaths of public land to private interests. In the past, such a process tended to favor conventional design solutions

For an architect, of course, the site could not be more inspiring. The view from the island is a reminder of the unlimited architectural aspirations that made New York such a radical urban creation. A half-mile from the cluster of towers rising in Lower Manhattan, it offers the same thrill to a New Yorker that a view of Santa Maria della Salute does to a Venetian; it is a machine age counterpart to the entry to the Grand Canal.

The split personality of Governors Island is also intriguing. The northern half seems frozen in time, a collection of 18th-, 19th- and early-20th-century landmarks ranging from the pretty Victorian frame houses that envelop Nolan Park to the massive neo-Classical brick shell of Liggett Hall, completed by McKim, Mead & White in 1929.

By comparison, the rows of bland brick Coast Guard housing on the island's southern half are all eligible for demolition. Aside from an appealing 1960's-era elementary school building with simple, brick-clad geometric forms, little of it has architectural merit.

That divide makes Governors Island an ideal laboratory for exploring competing desires to preserve the past and embrace the present — and for dreaming up alternatives to worn-out urban planning formulas that degrade history by mimicking it.

But to architects who have followed the process, the halfhearted planning studies of the last few years do not inspire much confidence. Even government officials acknowledge that proposals from both state and nonprofit groups like the Governors Island Alliance were dull and uninspired.

The new call for proposals is an acknowledgment that the government no longer has the resources or ambition to drive a major public works project.

To the extent that the city has any vision at all, it is its yearning to link the development to a broader harbor district that includes a new landscaped promenade along the East River waterfront and Brooklyn Bridge Park. Pushed by Daniel L. Doctoroff, the deputy mayor for economic development, and Amanda Burden, chairwoman of the city planning department, the district would visually link Manhattan, Brooklyn and Governors Island while drawing life out to the river. If that plan becomes reality, it could well be one of Mayor Bloomberg's most lasting legacies.

In the city's view, the exotic aerial gondolas, conceived by the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, would further that plan. Suspended from a cable system that evokes gigantic badminton nets, the round cars would have a 360-degree view of the city below.

It's an elaborately overblown structure for such a limited function, and it would tamper with one of the world's most spectacular views. But Mr. Calatrava's sketch is really nothing more than a teaser to give the project some desperately needed cachet. The underlying message to developers is that the city will go to remarkable lengths to overcome Governors Island's isolation from tourists milling around downtown Manhattan.

A more troubling problem with the city's approach is that there is no cohesive master plan that could provide a framework for development.

According to the federal guidelines set out in the island's deed, 40 acres of the new development must be reserved for a public park. Developers will also have to provide a waterfront esplanade.

Otherwise, conjuring an image for the island's future will be left up to developers. It could include anything from a think tank to a theme park, Mr. Doctoroff has said. Not all countries operate this way. In Spain and the Netherlands, city and regional governments typically organize elaborate design competitions for a major urban site, then hire a developer to figure out how to put the idea into practice.

An aggressive government role in galvanizing the best creative minds is virtually nonexistent in the United States, where political and financial power has shifted to the private realm. That's why New York has fallen behind cities like Barcelona, Rotterdam and even London in terms of the level of ambition behind public works projects. In New York, the system can foster a poisonous mix of political self-interest and commercial greed, as it did at ground zero.

Fortunately, Governors Island lacks the political and emotional baggage of the former World Trade Center site. But reinventing the island — a historically strategic military base at the center of one of the world's great harbors — may require an even higher level of creative imagination. What is needed is an architect and developer willing to take a joint leap into the unknown.

Anything short of that will probably leave us with another white elephant. For now, let's cross our fingers and enjoy what's left of the view.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

lofter1
February 23rd, 2006, 05:36 PM
The double gondola is a bit too much ...

BPC
February 23rd, 2006, 11:21 PM
February 23, 2006
Critic's Notebook
New York Wonders: An Island Fit for What?
By NICOLAI OUROUSSOFF

... It's an elaborately overblown structure for such a limited function, and it would tamper with one of the world's most spectacular views. ...

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company


Finally, some sanity injected into this discussion! And from Nicolai Ouroussoff, of all people.

antinimby
February 23rd, 2006, 11:48 PM
... It's an elaborately overblown structure for such a limited function, and it would tamper with one of the world's most spectacular views. ...I would hardly call Lower Manhattan the world's most spectacular view anymore, insofar as the skyline is concern. A number of other cities' skyline, notably Hong Kong, Shanghai and Chicago blows it out of the water. It looks dated and if it weren't for 17 State St., boxy.

JD
February 24th, 2006, 12:12 AM
What does it say when Ouroussoff claims, "[Governor's Island] may require an even higher level of creative imagination" but says also about Calatrava's design, "It's an elaborately overblown structure for such a limited function."

You can't have it both ways...

As for "it would tamper with one of the world's most spectacular views": let's freeze Lower Manhattan for eternity, shall we? What would the skyline look like if each generation said, "Perfection...don't change a thing?"

BPC
February 24th, 2006, 12:20 AM
As for "it would tamper with one of the world's most spectacular views": let's freeze Lower Manhattan for eternity, shall we? What would the skyline look like if each generation said, "Perfection...don't change a thing?"

A ski lift is not a skyline. It will only block views of the future changes in the Lower Manhattan skyline that you purport to favor.

antinimby
February 24th, 2006, 12:29 AM
A ski lift is not a skyline. It will only block views of the future changes in the Lower Manhattan skyline that you purport to favor.LOL. It most certainly is! Who says a skyline has to consist of only buildings?

JD
February 24th, 2006, 12:36 AM
A ski lift is not a skyline. It will only block views of the future changes in the Lower Manhattan skyline that you purport to favor.

BPC, you are so tiresome. Calatrava's creation is not a ski-lift; even the most dim-witted pedestrian could see that that this invention is not a cheap, flimsy toy. As for the skyline: the best way to consign Lower Manhattan to obscurity and the third-rate would be to say it's finished.

The way do the future doesn't lie in emtombing the past. Just come out and say it: do you want the Manhattan skyline of 2006 to be frozen for future generations? If the answer is yes, I say you're not thinking clearly.

BPC
February 25th, 2006, 09:33 PM
You're the only one who is talking about preserving the skyline. I am in favor of preserving the view of the skyline from the water, which is really something quite different. If you disagree, that's fine. But simply misstating my position is just ridiculous.

And of course it's a ski lift. Just because it is designed by a genius does not change that fact.

JD
February 26th, 2006, 04:10 PM
I am in favor of preserving the view of the skyline from the water, which is really something quite different.

Well, you've come out against monotonous glass boxes, you've railed against "uptown guys" coming into Lower Manhattan, and about 80 South Street you declared, "Let him stick that thing in Greenwich." The era of the slender stone tower (say, 70 Pine Street) is over, and it's not coming back. So it's not easy to figure just what sort of development you support.

BPC
February 26th, 2006, 08:57 PM
Greenwich, CT was what I meant, BTW, not Greenwich Village.

Anyway, in answer to your question, I support large-scale commercial development at the WTC site. It seems to me we have a moral obligation to rebuild there. As for Midtown, they can stick all the glass boxes there they want. Nothing can be any worse than the Pan Am/Met Life building.

As for Governor's Island, I would support bulldozing the entire non-historic part, and putting up athletic fields for free use by all New Yorkers. (Not for me personally, I am a couch potato, but I appreciate that others are not.) Or perhaps turning it into a college campus, so long as public access was guaranteed. Anything but another tourist trap or conference center. Yuk.

antinimby
February 26th, 2006, 11:07 PM
Okay, I've got a great idea for the gondola.

How about making it an all-pedestrian bridge instead?

Think about it, wouldn't you rather walk across the bridge and have the freedom of stopping somewhere and enjoying the view instead of sitting in a dangling capsule with strangers? Besides, since the distance is so short, the ride will be just too brief to get any enjoyment out of it.

On the technical side, with the pedestrian bridge, you'll have no mechanical devices and more people can cross at any given time, meaning no queues or waiting. The bridge can be easier to construct and maintain as well.

JD
February 26th, 2006, 11:27 PM
T'would be lovely (cf. the Millennium Bridge across the Thames), but I don't think it can be done. Whatever spans the harbor has to have a huge amount of space underneath it so as not to block shipping. Calatrava's parabola solves that problem, but it couldn't work for pedestrians--or if it could, all the elevators involved would make it unpractical/uniniviting.

antinimby
February 27th, 2006, 12:02 AM
If that is the only issue, then I'm very happy to say that it would be no problem at all. Notice below, the slope of the bridge is very gradual, so there isn't a big step-up in height at all and definitely no elevators will be needed at any point.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2006/02/23/arts/gov.span.jpg

ZippyTheChimp
February 27th, 2006, 12:48 AM
Don't go by renderings.

The distance from Manhattan to GI is less than 3000 ft. If the clearance at center is 150 ft, then the grade would be at least 10%. That's too much.

antinimby
February 27th, 2006, 04:14 AM
While that may very well be somewhat of a challenge, I don't think it should keep us from pursuing this idea because it is so much better in every way. Besides, I'd like to think that working around these issues through clever design and engineering is what will give this structure some odd but interesting character.

One possible solution--out of many I'm sure--is to stretch the span out further while keeping the 150' clearance. Also, I can see people climbing some steps at the entrance (something like the Great Wall in China) and so that should help with the grade.

Since when did New Yorkers let some relatively minor technical issues stop them from doing anything? Must always have that CAN DO attitude.

lofter1
February 27th, 2006, 08:58 AM
Some cool historical reference info ...

Designs for fortifying Governors Island near New York

Montrésor, John, 1736-1799
CREATED/PUBLISHED 1766?
NOTES Scale 1:144; 12 ft. to an in.

http://www.ushistoricalarchive.com/statemaps/ny/b6.gif

http://www.ushistoricalarchive.com/statemaps/ny/6.html

BigMac
March 6th, 2006, 11:17 AM
Washington Square News
March 1, 2006

City's Governors Island not for NYU

by Brittani Manzo
Deputy News Editor

The search for potential academic institutions to move into a newly-zoned Governors Island continues as plans move forward to develop the space, said a representative of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, but NYU has no plans to try to develop on the land.

The new zoning plans include allowance for temporary residential buildings and student housing on the 172-acre island a half-mile from the southern tip of Manhattan. Largely-controlled by the U.S. military until 1997, the island is littered with national landmarks from the Civil War and other historical events and is part of a $120 million renewal effort by Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

“New York City is home to dozens of world-famous landmarks such as Central Park, Rockefeller Center and the Statue of Liberty — and I firmly believe that Governors Island has the potential to join their ranks as one of the most popular destinations in the world,” Bloomberg said at a Feb. 15 announcement of his proposal for the island’s development.

NYU has looked into developing on Governors Island before, said NYU vice president for Campus Planning and Real Estate Sharon Greenberger.

Michelle Bouchard, vice president of finance at of the corporation, said NYU did not reply or express any interest in developing the land, but the opportunity still stands. There are still hopes that an academic, science-oriented school will choose to develop on the island, Bouchard said.

It is not within NYU’s interest to expand to Governor’s Island at this time, Greenberger said.

CAS freshman Victoria Tadross said she’s glad NYU did not choose to develop land on the island for academic use.

“I think it would ruin the charm of living in the Village and having one main campus,” Tadross said. “It would divide the university. Most kids come to NYU looking to live in the heart of the city, and that’s not where Governors Island is.”

© 2006 Washington Square News

MidtownGuy
March 6th, 2006, 03:36 PM
Yeah, they've taken over the Village, why should they get part of GI too?

BPC
March 6th, 2006, 03:59 PM
Not sure whether NYU is the right fit, but the Island would make an ideal campus for some University. If one of the better CUNYs would tap their rich alumni base for the capital (God knows they won't get it from the City or the State), that might work.

MidtownGuy
March 6th, 2006, 04:14 PM
I think GI should have uses for all New Yorkers, not just people affiliated with some University. The bottom section too.

BPC
March 6th, 2006, 04:21 PM
Like what?

MidtownGuy
March 6th, 2006, 04:48 PM
Gorgeous new Park area(including some sort of Great Lawn where that big field is now), perhaps a historical museum or two, that theatre-in-the-round thing, pavilions and such for recreational boating, maybe cafes or restaurants along the water, the possibilities are endless.
The presence of some educational institutions is fine, but I am against the whole island becoming like a campus. Whatever institutions are present should be there in spirit as co-users of the island with the public.

NewYorkYankee
March 7th, 2006, 09:12 AM
I really like the idea of cafes on the waterfront. Imagine the views while eating!

antinimby
March 7th, 2006, 01:08 PM
Not sure whether NYU is the right fit, but the Island would make an ideal campus for some University. If one of the better CUNYs would tap their rich alumni base for the capital (God knows they won't get it from the City or the State), that might work.Of course no university on GI would be complete without a nice gondola.:D

TLOZ Link5
March 7th, 2006, 02:51 PM
Yeah, they've taken over the Village, why should they get part of GI too?

I know, we're bastards, aren't we? :D

MidtownGuy
March 7th, 2006, 03:59 PM
Present company excepted, of course;) .

ablarc
March 11th, 2006, 06:54 PM
One possible solution--out of many I'm sure--is to stretch the span out further while keeping the 150' clearance. Also, I can see people climbing some steps at the entrance (something like the Great Wall in China) and so that should help with the grade.

Since when did New Yorkers let some relatively minor technical issues stop them from doing anything? Must always have that CAN DO attitude.
Yeah, but..but...the wheelchair code!!

antinimby
March 11th, 2006, 07:24 PM
Cm'on, we can send people to the moon but can't somehow find a way to get wheelchaired-people across a little strait to GI? I think the technical challenges should be left up to the experts and engineers to figure out. I still think a simple but elegant pedestrian bridge is a better idea than the gondola.

ablarc
March 11th, 2006, 07:40 PM
^ Oh, I thought the idea was to eliminate the elevators.

Can I interest you in my little invention?...I call it a gondola.

antinimby
March 11th, 2006, 07:57 PM
There may be other solutions, but if elevators are necessary for wheelchair people then so be it. The idea is not to eliminate elevators altogether. The idea is to eliminate elevators as a requirement for crossing the bridge for everyone else. But certain portions of the population like handicapped people will require elevators regardless.
The problem with gondolas--and I'll repeat once again--is that it won't bring enough people over to the island to make whatever project they plan for, a success. As with any mechanical device, the gondola puts a limit on how many people can get across at any one time and people have to wait for it, which will cut down on the number of people willing to make the journey across.

MidtownGuy
March 11th, 2006, 10:59 PM
I dunno, 3,000 people per hour seems like a respectable number of people, especially when complemented by ferry service.

ZippyTheChimp
March 12th, 2006, 12:22 AM
Will the pedestrian bridge towers be in the river? That is a major expense.

If they put the towers on land and span the entire distance like the gondola, then the bridge becomes a complicated piece of engineering (a lot heavier than a cable-car system). In that case, the ramp-up to the bridge at the tower will extend deep into the city.

The other alternative is a low draw-bridge.

I think the cable car idea evolved from consideration and rejection of various pedestrian bridge designs.

BPC
March 12th, 2006, 01:04 AM
Boy, no wonder Liberty Island and Ellis Island remain untouched by human contact. There's no ski lift to take anyone there! They might as well be in the Caribbean! But, wait a minute, how do all those people get from Manhattan to Staten Island and back every day, without a ski lift? I guess it will remain one of those mysteries of modern transportation.

antinimby
March 12th, 2006, 04:46 AM
Lol BPC, they are not the same: those coming over on the SI ferry are going to work, those going to GI will be for leisure. Therefore, can't compare 'em.


Will the pedestrian bridge towers be in the river? That is a major expense. If they put the towers on land and span the entire distance like the gondola, then the bridge becomes a complicated piece of engineering (a lot heavier than a cable-car system). In that case, the ramp-up to the bridge at the tower will extend deep into the city.
No, we're trying to avoid having the supports over water for exactly that reason: avoid the higher costs. But not having the support towers over water shouldn't keep us from doing the pedestrian bridge. Your point is legitimate but I have a solution for the ramp-up that will not require a long distance. Think circular ramps such as those you see at stadiums:

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/f/f2/Giantsstadium.jpg

ZippyTheChimp
March 12th, 2006, 11:05 AM
Well, of course there are solutions such as your example, but they move away from the easy access and simplicity of a pedestrian crossing. Now your talking about a hike up several floors and elevators, and imposing structures on both shores.

ZippyTheChimp
March 12th, 2006, 11:11 AM
Boy, no wonder Liberty Island and Ellis Island remain untouched by human contact. There's no ski lift to take anyone there! They might as well be in the Caribbean! But, wait a minute, how do all those people get from Manhattan to Staten Island and back every day, without a ski lift? I guess it will remain one of those mysteries of modern transportationLiberty and Ellis Islands did not need to attract private investment.

Most of Staten Island without easy access to the ferry remained completely rural until the Verrazano Narrows Bridge was built.

Clarknt67
March 30th, 2006, 09:04 PM
Not sure whether NYU is the right fit, but the Island would make an ideal campus for some University. If one of the better CUNYs would tap their rich alumni base for the capital (God knows they won't get it from the City or the State), that might work.
It's perfect for a university. The old structures would be great for classes, there are barracks that would make great dorms and there is already a beautiful campus with lawns and open space.

And I like the idea that will class after class passing through, many people would get to enjoy the beauty of the island.

And University's aren't only for those who work & attend them. I grew up very near Michigan State and spend much time on the campus although I never attended that school. I still bike through there when I go home.

lofter1
March 31st, 2006, 12:18 AM
A New Motivator for Governors Island

By JOSEPH BERGER (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/joseph_berger/index.html?inline=nyt-per)
NY Times
March 31, 2006

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/31/nyregion/31governors.html

An accomplished fund-raiser for New York City's public schools has been picked as the president of the corporation devoted to the reinvention of Governors Island, a $1 gift to the city and state whose future has been mulled over for three years with little to show for the effort.

Leslie Koch, chief executive of the Fund for Public Schools, the Department of Education's fund-raising arm, was selected by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/michael_r_bloomberg/index.html?inline=nyt-per) and Gov. George E. Pataki (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/p/george_e_pataki/index.html?inline=nyt-per). She awaits confirmation by the city-state partnership that is trying to redevelop the island, a 172-acre former military base 800 yards off the southern tip of Manhattan. That confirmation by the 12 directors of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation is expected by today, City Hall officials say.

Governors Island, a former Army and Coast Guard base with stunning wraparound views of Lower Manhattan and New York Harbor, was turned over to the city and state in 2003, spawning visions of a college campus, a place for concerts and athletic events, a hotel and conference center, or an amusement park. The city and state have poured in $10 million a year to maintain the buildings and ferry slips, but nothing grander has emerged.

Robert Pirani, executive director of the Governors Island Alliance, a watchdog group affiliated with the Regional Plan Association, said government officials have been distracted by bigger, more controversial projects like the rebuilding of ground zero and a football stadium on the Far West Side of Manhattan.

Others say development has been caught up in wariness between Governor Pataki's staff and that of Mr. Bloomberg and that those tensions contributed to the departure a year ago of the corporation's first president, James F. Lima. The post of president was temporarily filled by Paul Kelly, an assistant general counsel at the city's Economic Development Corporation. Filling the job is regarded as crucial to rekindling momentum to develop Governors Island.

Ms. Koch, along with Caroline Kennedy, the vice chairman of the schools fund-raising group, succeeded in getting more than $150 million from deep-pocketed philanthropists like Bill Gates (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/g/bill_gates/index.html?inline=nyt-per), chairman of Microsoft, to create small schools, train principals and finance other initiatives. Ms. Koch, 43, the daughter of a public-school teacher, was a marketing executive at Microsoft from 1989 to 1996.

In an interview, Daniel L. Doctoroff, the mayor's development czar and chairman of the island corporation, said it was not so much Ms. Koch's fund-raising that led to her appointment as her experience with public-private undertakings and with "the kind of entrepreneurs we hope will partner with us on the island." He described her as "hard driving, leaves no stone unturned, very proactive, always looking for more interesting better solutions to issues."

Beyond the politics, the island has limitations: Getting there requires a six-minute ferry ride (though Mr. Bloomberg has proposed an aerial gondola like the one to Roosevelt Island), many buildings have landmark status and cannot be torn down, and the agreement with the federal government bars commercial development and housing.

"Until very recently it's been very unclear what the game plan was," Mr. Pirani said. "The real challenge for whoever becomes the permanent president is that they be able to instill confidence in the private sector that the city and state meet responsibilities for taking care of the infrastructure and creating the parks and other amenities promised for that island."

As chairman for most of last year, Mr. Doctoroff revived attention on reshaping the island, and in February the city solicited proposals from developers. Those proposals will be compared starting in May. Joel I. Klein (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/joel_i_klein/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the school system's chancellor, described Ms. Koch as "disciplined and organized," someone who "knows how to think outside the box" and "knows how to work across agencies." In raising money, he said, Ms. Koch had a talent for getting donors to appreciate the effects a project would have on enhancing schools.

Ms. Koch, who was raised on the Upper West Side, graduated summa cum laude in history from Yale (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/y/yale_university/index.html?inline=nyt-org) in 1984 and received a master's degree in management from the Yale School of Management. She lives in Boerum Hill in Brooklyn with her husband, Douglas Gray, a theater consultant and producer.

The couple have been generous donors, giving more than $10,000 to the Seattle Library Foundation, for example. City Hall said Ms. Koch would not be available for an interview until confirmed.

While the paralysis at ground zero and the defeat of the West Side stadium has prompted cynics to doubt that anything ambitious can ever be built in the city, Mr. Doctoroff ticked off projects that have started or are about to be started, including the reconstruction of the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, the extension of the No. 7 subway line from Times Square to 11th Avenue and 34th Street, a new Yankee Stadium, and the Atlantic Yards development in Brooklyn, whose centerpiece will be an arena for the Nets basketball team.

Copyright 2006 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html)The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

TomAuch
March 31st, 2006, 06:46 PM
They should just open up Governor's Island and make most of it into parkland and an historical area. I remember there was the proposal for a CUNY campus, which would also be a good idea. Maybe some retail as well. But most of it should stay as a park-like area.

infoshare
March 31st, 2006, 07:01 PM
They should just open up Governor's Island and make most of it into parkland and an historical area.

And how will NYC be able to pay of its
maintenance: mabe - http://www.shakeshacknyc.com/

TomAuch
March 31st, 2006, 07:16 PM
Well, the Globe Theater reuse of Castle William is a good idea (Castle William should be preserved either as is or given a new function that preserves the building). But I would like for the historical/really nice areas of Governor's Island to be preserved from demolition.

infoshare
March 31st, 2006, 07:51 PM
But I would like for the historical/really nice areas of Governor's Island to be preserved from demolition.

I just looked at some of the aerial photos posted earlier on this thread and most of the buildings on that Island are well worth preserving. My guess is that much of the existing buildings will be "preserved from demolition". Nice views here - http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=83342&postcount=110

And I am not kidding about the concesion stands,,,that would be a great way to generate revenue. The "shake shack" in the park is doing a booming business....as I read in curbed today.

Clarknt67
April 7th, 2006, 04:59 PM
The Castle William would make an ideal theater space. When you're in the center area, the acoustics are wonderful.

It really is--even right now--a lovely park area. If they want to spur development the city should publicize the summer Ferry Service more. The times I've been there it's been pretty empty (which is what I was looking for, an escape from the City) but not so great in getting the word out that this is a place to develop.

injcsince81
April 7th, 2006, 06:57 PM
This GI debacle reminds me of the Ground Zero debacle.

Is NYC paralyzed by analysis and trying to please everyone?

Here's a couple of ideas from my simple mind - preserve the buildings worth preserving and build a beautiful botanical garden for the metro folks to visit for a small fee. Organize events for kids, tourists, etc to bring some extra cash.

Have ferries from Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Jersey bring the people in.

Another idea - get Calatrava to build an opera house that will kick Sydney's butt....

:)

BPC
April 19th, 2006, 11:12 AM
the future that awaits Governor's Island once the Calatrava tram is built ...


In pictures: NY cable car rescue

http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/41575000/jpg/_41575274_ap_scared416.jpg

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/4922744.stm

NYatKNIGHT
April 19th, 2006, 02:59 PM
Fear mongering. More people have died on ferries.

Why not post the Staten Island Ferry crash and victims?

BPC
April 19th, 2006, 03:12 PM
Why not post the Staten Island Ferry crash and victims?

Because it didn't happen last night! In any event, the basket-style rescue vehicle used last night would not be possible on Calatrava's far flimsier contraption. If you were stuck up there, you would just have to jump! So I guess last night's events really aren't analagous after all.

NYatKNIGHT
April 19th, 2006, 03:15 PM
Glad you agree it was a pointless post, especially since the story was covered in two other threads.

BPC
April 19th, 2006, 03:20 PM
Next time I will put my sarcastic voice in italics!

NYatKNIGHT
April 19th, 2006, 03:36 PM
Next time I will put my sarcastic voice in italics!

I guess so, I still can't tell which part was sacrcastic. Was it that Calatrava's would be somehow "flimsier", or that you actually think people would have to jump?

BPC
April 20th, 2006, 01:11 AM
I guess so, I still can't tell which part was sacrcastic. Was it that Calatrava's would be somehow "flimsier" ... ?

Now you need to use the sarcastic italics!

NYatKNIGHT
April 20th, 2006, 10:27 AM
Who, me? Never!

Kris
April 24th, 2006, 05:41 AM
New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com

Mishap fails to ground plans for Gov Isle tram
BY MICHAEL SAUL
DAILY NEWS CITY HALL BUREAU CHIEF
Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

The Roosevelt Island tram mishap hasn't soured Mayor Bloomberg and Gov. Pataki on a proposal to build a sky tram - featuring apple-shaped gondolas - over the East River to Governors Island.

Officials at the Governors Island Preservation & Education Corp., a group controlled by Bloomberg and Pataki, said tram technology has advanced greatly in the 30 years since the now-busted Roosevelt Island system was built.

"We are confident that anything built with those advances would operate with little or no problem," Yvette DeBow, a spokeswoman for the corporation, told the Daily News.

The proposed Governors Island tramway, designed by famed architect Santiago Calatrava, is a preliminary idea, not yet officially endorsed by either the city or the state.

But in February, when officials unveiled the idea, Bloomberg said the word "stunning" doesn't "even start to convey" the majesty of Calatrava's concept.

If the Governors Island tram gets green-lighted, officials said they will take into account the power outage that brought the Roosevelt Island tram to an abrupt halt Tuesday night, trapping nearly 70 people, some for almost 11 hours, high above the East River.

"We're going to end up probably with [a] triple redundant backup [power system], given what we just saw, whereas we might have only planned for double redundant," said Peter Fleischer, senior vice president for the Governors Island Preservation & Education Corp.

"We're going to look around and say, 'Boy, we never want to find ourselves in that situation if we get so unlucky that both the first system and the second system failed,'" he said.

Calatrava's design, estimated to cost $125 million, envisions apple-shaped gondola cars suspended from cables, offering spectacular 360-degree views of the city and New York Harbor.

MidtownGuy
April 25th, 2006, 04:12 PM
Well, if that picture of the old lady, with the grimace from hell, didn't ground the plans, nothing will! She looks like she's watching a baby be strangled.

TREPYE
May 1st, 2006, 10:20 PM
Another idea - get Calatrava to build an opera house that will kick Sydney's butt....:)


Should we be so lucky if this was to happen. I too think that the GI should be given to Calatrava and have him dream up something majestic to build ;). It is such a perfect spot for something beautiful to be seen from all over and it would be a shame if they didn't give it to a high-caliber architect to design some marvel.

TimmyG
May 11th, 2006, 10:05 AM
(From the NY Post)

BUILDERS BID FOR GOVS IS.

By RICH CALDER


May 11, 2006 -- One of Manhattan's top developers and two out-of-state companies that redevelop former military bases are among the major players vying to turn Governors Island into an island paradise, The Post has learned. As officials yesterday solicited final proposals to redevelop the historic island, among those tendering plans were The Related Companies, the Downey, Calif.-based Industrial Realty Group and Federal Development, of Washington.
Sources said all three are interested in building mixed-use projects that include conference centers, tourist attractions, hotels and educational space.
As The Post reported in January, city and state officials believe a $125 million ride-in-the-sky gondola system connecting Governors Island to Brooklyn and Manhattan would be such a tourist draw.


Related is Manhattan's leading developer of luxury apartments and for-sale housing, and its major projects include the glitzy Time Warner Center.
Officials from both Industrial Realty and Federal Development were also in New York to drop off proposals, employees from both companies said.
Industrial Realty is best known for converting McClellan Air Force Base in California into a recreational, hotel, conference-center and airstrip complex.
The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corp., which is overseeing the city and state's massive project to turn the former Army and Coast Guard base into a top tourist draw, declined to comment on any of the proposals or say how many were delivered.
The corporation is considering splitting up the development work.
rich.calder@nypost.com

MikeW
May 11th, 2006, 10:46 AM
Didn't Giulianni want to put a casino over there? Sound like as good an idea and any that have been put out for the place.

Fabrizio
May 11th, 2006, 10:59 AM
Oh NO!!

"The northern half of the Island, consisting of approximately 92 acres, has been designated as both a National Historic Landmark District and a New York City Historic District."

http://www.govisland.com/

JCMAN320
May 11th, 2006, 12:20 PM
Why OH NO? Gov. Island is an amazing historic site and deserves to be preserved. Development can happen, but it has to be historically correct and by guidelines.

Fabrizio
May 11th, 2006, 12:31 PM
Sorry JC... it was part of an ongoing discussion with Mike W about historic preservation. I agree with you, and am happy to see such a large part of Gov Island given historic status.

Clarknt67
May 14th, 2006, 07:11 PM
Didn't Giulianni want to put a casino over there? Sound like as good an idea and any that have been put out for the place.
The part of the deal to transfer ownership from Federal to Local ownership was a provision there be no gambling or permanent housing.

But I don't believe Giuliani ever did say that, as it wasn't transferred to NYC just about the time his term ended.

BigMac
May 25th, 2006, 11:06 AM
NY Daily News
May 25, 2006

Fringe benefit

Governors Isle golf course to host celeb battle of sexes

BY PAUL D. COLFORD

http://www.nydailynews.com/ips_rich_content/843-golf.JPG
Iron-willed golfer Annika Sorenstam will team with fellow star Natalie Gulbis in battle of sexes against two as-yet-unnamed male celebs on long-forgotten Governors Island golf course on Oct. 22.

It's tee time on Governors Island, where a long-forgotten golf course will be revived for a celebrity competition this fall.

The Manhattan Golf Classic on Governors Island, announced yesterday for Oct. 22, will pit female champs Annika Sorenstam and Natalie Gulbis in an 18-hole battle of the sexes against actor Dennis Quaid, rated Hollywood's best player by Golf Digest, and another star yet to be named.

Actors Craig T. Nelson and Bruce McGill, who was the rowdy D-Day in "Animal House," will be among those squaring off in a four-man celebrity contest also being planned.

"We are very happy to have an innovative, new use of Governors Island," Leslie Koch, the new president of the Governors Island Preservation & Education Corp., said in a news conference at the Yale Club.

But Koch, whose city-state agency is currently evaluating 25 development proposals for the once-bustling military post off Manhattan's southern tip, stressed that it's a one-time use.

ArenaCorp Holdings, which is paying $75,000 plus expenses for use of the island, will restore the nine-hole course last used by Coast Guard officers before the service left in 1996.

The nine holes, spanning a relatively compact 10 acres or so, will do double duty by rearranging the tee approaches and placement of the pins.

"We've been able to embrace the historic character of the property ... with meandering holes around Fort Jay, the skyline and the Statue of Liberty," said Robert McNeil, president of The Northeast Golf Co., which is helping to restore the course.

The Oct. 22 contests will cap a four-day weekend that also include clinics with Tiger Woods' coach, Hank Haney, and corporate matchups. Tickets will be available at $180 and up.

ArenaCorp CEO Steve Feuerstein said he's lined up $2 million in onsite advertising and hopes to land a TV deal.

© 2006 Daily News, L.P.

TonyO
May 25th, 2006, 11:24 AM
^ Interesting, I didn't know that there was a golf course there. That could be a good revenue generator for the island.

Clarknt67
May 28th, 2006, 03:53 PM
Students Draft Vision for Governors Island

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- City and state officials have called for ``visionary ideas'' as they decide what to do with largely empty Governors Island. Now Cooper Union architecture students are taking their own shot at the project.

Third-year students in the school's architectural program have created proposals to make the island a tourist destination. Their models will be on exhibit at the school until June 22nd.

Fresh proposals for the island were due earlier this month, and were to be considered over the summer. Planners say they'll consider the students' projects as they choose a plan for the island, which the city and state bought from the federal government for one dollar three years ago.

One Cooper Union student, Katerina Kourkoula, is proposing a maritime museum that would allow the waters of the harbor to creep right up to the building at high tide. At low tide a museum walkway over the water would act as a pier -- and at high tide parts of the walkway would become an island

http://1010wins.com/pages/40522.php

Clarknt67
May 28th, 2006, 03:55 PM
May 28, 2006
A Classroom Project Tackles a Real-World Development Quandary

By TONI WHITT
It makes sense that Governors Island, with its cluster of historic buildings and spectacular views of Lower Manhattan just 800 yards away, stirs the imaginations of artists and developers alike.

The city and state bought the island from the federal government for $1 three years ago. Since then it has largely been neglected, and preservation efforts have proceeded at a very slow pace.

The Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation is working to make this tranquil island, once an Army headquarters and prison camp, a tourist destination and is considering a variety of development proposals.

For the moment, the island's future remains a blank slate, presenting an alluring opportunity for architecture professors at Cooper Union, who decided to ask their students to come up with their own ideas.

"It's like building in Central Park," said Lis Cena, a third-year architectural student from Kosovo. "Everyone wants to build there but no one can."

Mr. Cena and other third-year students in the school's highly regarded architectural program worked for a year on conceptual plans for three museums on the island, encompassing art, maritime history and cartography. While their work is not part of the formal development process for the 172-acre island, the corporation's members, who are appointed by the mayor and the governor, said they would certainly look at it as they try to come up with a feasible plan.

Leslie Koch, the corporation's president, said the students' ideas could help inform the process "because they don't have the constraints of development proposals." Among other things, the students had the advantage of not needing to factor in cost in designing their models, which will be on exhibit at the school through June 22.

For his art museum, Mr. Cena, 22, chose a spot in the historic district of Governors Island where an empty motel now stands. It was built after the Coast Guard took over the island and is to be demolished under current plans. He located his art museum between two rows of mansions built for officers overlooking a nine-hole golf course, which was once the Army's parade grounds. He tried to avoid having the buildings of Lower Manhattan dominate the views from his museum.

"I wanted to take on a challenge," Mr. Cena said. "There are so many museums in New York, I wanted to explore what it means to have a museum in the landscape, rather than such an urban site."

Laura Steele, 22, a student from Cincinnati, also proposed an art museum, but hers was far more closely connected to Manhattan and emphasized city views.

"I wanted to deal with the landscape, as well, but I felt it was most important to bring it back to Manhattan, where art comes from," she said.

Other students located museums on the water's edge, offering panoramic views of the harbor, the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan.

Katerina Kourkoula, a third-year student from Greece, studied tidal charts and then designed a maritime museum that allows the waters of the harbor to creep right up to the building at high tide. "Buildings usually keep water out," she said. "Mine plays with that."

At low tide a museum walkway over the water would act as a pier, and at high tide parts of the walkway would become an island.

She situated her museum so it would face Lower Manhattan and designed the flow of traffic inside the building so that it prompted visitors to look out across the water. Standing at her proposed museum site during a recent visit, Ms. Kourkoula, 24, waved toward Lower Manhattan. "I want it to be oriented to this view," she said.

Before starting on their projects, students took photos on the island, counted trees, sketched possible sites and learned what needed to be preserved. They also studied the criteria outlined in the formal proposal guidelines, which detail the mission to preserve the island's environment and history and to make education an important part of its development.

While their projects are not being submitted to the island's governing body, the students made models aimed at fitting in with development plans.

"They experience the hardship of being in a real-life situation," said Tamar Zinguer, an associate professor of architecture.

For a maritime museum, David Elzer, 23, proposed using an 80-foot-long by 90-foot-tall replica of a portion of the ocean liner Normandie, a passenger ship built in 1932 whose maiden voyage was from Normandy, France, to New York in 1935. The ship was commandeered by the United States Navy during World War II to transport troops, but it caught fire during the conversion and had to be scrapped after capsizing in New York Harbor. Students who decided to design a boat museum were all assigned to integrate the Normandie, known for its speed and luxury, because of its historical link to New York Harbor and its distinctive design.

"We wanted a beautiful artifact and image of tourism associated with coming to New York," Ms. Zinguer said.

Anthony Vidler, the architecture school's dean, said: "Architectural school is a laboratory before you have to deal with developers, and that means that intelligence and imagination are allowed to break through.

"Being able to do that can have an effect on real world projects."

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/05/28/nyregion/28governors.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

BigMac
June 2nd, 2006, 10:43 AM
New York Sun
June 2, 2006

Don't Miss This Boat, Ms. Koch Says

By A.L. GORDON - Staff Reporter of the Sun

The free trips to Governors Island this summer, which begin Saturday, may be the last chance for New Yorkers to see it in its abandoned, time-stands-still state.

By the end of the year, the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation expects to announce the winning bids for development of the island from among the 25 proposals that arrived May 10. Then the real journey begins for reshaping the 172-acre island, transferred to the city and state in 2003 after the Coast Guard vacated it in 1996 following more than 200 years of continuous military use.

For now, New Yorkers can partake in a mix of recreation (a stroll through Nolan Park or a picnic in the parade grounds), historic tourism (guided National Park Service tours of two forts), and captivating views of the New York harbor, all within a five-minute ferry ride from the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan.

"One thing I've learned so far is, 'Don't miss the boat,'" the newly installed president of the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation, Leslie Koch, said yesterday on her one-month anniversary on the job.

Ms. Koch has advice on how to begin the trip from "the mainland," as she calls it, which she takes daily after a subway ride from her home in Boerum Hill.

"First, make sure you're on the top deck of the ferry and look back at Manhattan. Secondly, breathe, because the air smells differently. You smell green and you smell harbor, and those are important things you don't get to smell together in New York City. And third, once you're there, just experience the sense of space - this is uninhabited land in the middle of New York City," Ms. Koch said.

Governors Island is largely unprepared to offer the usual amenities of a destination attraction. There's no snack bar, just a few vending machines. There's no concession offering Governors Island T-shirts or hats. So, bring your own food, water, and an umbrella. Only one building, Pershing Hall, is open to the public for indoor shelter. And be prepared for Port-O-Sans.

"It's important to have the right expectations," Ms. Koch said.

The corporation seems to understand that this is an important year to encourage visitation, as the development process will include public participation (the shape of which is yet decided). Last year, attendance dropped 16%, to 8,000 visitors. To turn that number around, the corporation has eliminated the fees on the ferry, formerly $6 for adults and $3 for children; added access on Fridays in addition to Saturdays, and spent more money on advertising, with a campaign running in the subways in May and June and on bus shelters in July and August. The slogan: "Discover Where History Meets the Future."

Most of the land where the development would take place - the 152-acre southern section - is off-limits during the summer visiting season, which runs through September 2. So it's not possible to see the monument to President Reagan's rededication of the Statue of Liberty, or the swimming pool, school, bowling alley, or commissary.

However, the part of the island that is open is that with the most charm and sense of history: the northern historic district, which includes the 22-acre Governors Island National Monument operated by the National Park Service. The draws here are the forts that helped protect America in the War of 1812; Castle Williams, a circular red sandstone building completed in 1811, and Fort Jay, whose ornamental eagle perched atop a cannon is currently being restored.

Activities have been planned for throughout the summer, including a family festival Saturday between noon and 4 p.m. and a music festival curated by downtown music host Julian Fleisher on June 17. Later in the summer are kayak excursions offered by the Gowanus Dredgers and the Downtown Boat House, as well as re enactments of the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.

One will also see the signs of a $52.5 million program to secure the 62 landmark buildings owned by the corporation. These buildings have sat virtually untouched for 10 years. "We have a moral and legal obligation to preserve these," Ms. Koch said.

As for what's in store for Governors Island, Ms. Koch described the 25 proposals as a "healthy mix" of projects for the whole island and for components of it (the corporation gets to mix and match the ideas it likes). The process of vetting will be "very deliberative," she said.

Time is of the essence. "We're committed to a very aggressive time-frame this calendar year," Ms. Koch said. "As we think about the future of the island without yet knowing the specifics, what we want is to make sure that what we do makes it accessible to many New Yorkers, and preserves not just the history in the traditional sense but the sense of being on an island."

© 2006 The New York Sun, One SL, LLC.