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Thread: Governors Island

  1. #16


    Quote Originally Posted by Clarknt67
    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, and will resume next spring or summer. Access is by ferry from the Maritime Building.

  2. #17


    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp
    Quote Originally Posted by Clarknt67
    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, and will resume next spring or summer. Access is by ferry from the Maritime Building.
    thanks for the 411.

  3. #18


    USA Today
    June 2, 2004

    Governors Island open again for public tours

    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

  4. #19
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    June 4, 2004

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


    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 .

    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  5. #20


    June 20, 2004


    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

  6. #21
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    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/ a village. Someone from CB1 said the same thing, so maybe it'll happen.

    Check out the show, though.

  7. #22


    The Mysterious Island

    The mysteries of Governors Island.

    By Susan S. Szenasy

    July 2004

    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.”

  8. #23


    July 4, 2004


    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

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  9. #24
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    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


    Copyright © 2004 NY1 News.

  10. #25
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    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

  11. #26


    Park Service begins to float Governors Island ideas

    By Ronda Kaysen

    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.
    Downtown Express is published by
    Community Media LLC.

  12. #27


    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.

  13. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by jiw40
    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?

  14. #29


    Arnt there golf courses in Queens and the Bronx?

  15. #30
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    Not sure if this is all of them, but there's 13 public courses (maybe 1 or 2 private)...

    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...

    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.

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