Governors Island is now one of New York's most popular seasonal playgrounds. The island is located approximately 800 yards from the southern tip of Manhattan Island and separated from Brooklyn by Buttermilk Channel, approximately 400 yards.
In June 1637, Wouter Van Twiller, the director general for the Dutch West India Company, reportedly purchased the Island from the Lenape for “two ax heads, a string of beads, and a handful of nails". After the British capture New Amsterdam, the royal governor is given full rights to the island, hence the name.
Governors Island was off limits to ordinary New Yorkers during most of the past 200 years. Once an abandoned military base in New York Harbor, the island is being transformed into a 21st-century destination for urban dwellers . In 2007 landscape architect Adriaan Geuze and his team from West 8, the Dutch landscape architecture firm , based in Rotterdam, won an international design competition for the design of the Governors Island Park.
The first 30 acres opened to the public in 2014. This summer on July 18 2016 ten acres of new public space were added. Designed by landscape team from West 8 , the Hills is the newest addition to the park and public spaces on the 172-acre island.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the public-private project cost $71 million. The park was open nearly a year ahead of schedule.
Rising 25 to 70 feet above the island, the hills were constructed using recycled demolition debris, general fill, and lightweight pumice. 860 new trees and 41,000 new bushes were planted.
There are four new hills that were added to the park. This four mounds of the Hills are all human made, as is the land below. Governors Island was extended south in 1911 with the excavated fill from the Lexington Avenue subway tunnel.
Outlook Hill, at 70 feet, is the highest point on the island. The offer views not only of New York's skyscrapers and Lady Liberty, but of burgeoning Jersey City, New Jersey, and the Brooklyn and Verrazano bridges. Grassy hill , a 26-foot high gentle slope overlook the island’s Slide hill .
Slide hill has the slides for kids , including the longest in New York City , 57 feet long and 3 stories high. Discovery hill features a site-specific sculpture by British artist Rachel Whiteread , a concrete cast of a cabin that looks both familiar and alien with the backdrop of the big city looming.
Ferries to Governors Island run 10:00 am – 6:00 pm Monday through Friday from the Battery Maritime Building in Manhattan and 11:00 am – 7:00 pm on weekends from Manhattan and Brooklyn’s Pier six. This year the island will be open till September 25.