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It is part of the borough of Manhattan in New York City. The National Park Service administers a small portion of the north of the island as the Governors Island National Monument , while the Trust for Governors Island operates the remaining acres, including 52 historic buildings.
Today, Governors Island is a popular seasonal destination open to the public between May and September with a acre public park completed between , free arts and cultural events, and recreational activities. The island is accessed by ferries from Brooklyn and Manhattan. The Lenape of the Manhattan region referred to the island as Paggank "nut island" , likely after the island's plentiful hickory , oak, and chestnut trees;  the Dutch explorer Adriaen Block called it Noten Eylant , a translation, and this was borrowed into English as Nutten Island.
The island's current name, made official in , stems from the British colonial era , when the colonial assembly reserved the island for the exclusive use of New York's royal governors. In , during the American Revolutionary War , Continental Army troops raised defensive works on the island, which they used to fire upon British ships before they were taken. From to , the island was a United States Army post, and from to the island served as a major United States Coast Guard installation.
In , Giovanni da Verrazzano saw the then called Paggank island, becoming the first European in record to do so. Island of Nuts;  described above by the Native Americans. They had arrived from the Dutch Republic with the ship New Netherland under the command of Cornelius Jacobsen May , who disembarked on the island with thirty families in order to take legal possession of the New Netherland territory.
In , the fifth director of New Netherland , Wouter van Twiller , arrived with a man regiment on Governors Island—its first use as a military base.
Later he operated a farm on the island. He secured his farm by drawing up a deed on June 16, , which was signed by two Lenape , Cacapeteyno and Pewihas, on behalf of their community at Keshaechquereren, situated in what today is New Jersey. New Netherland was conditionally ceded to the English in , and the English renamed the settlement New York in June After the beginning of the American Revolutionary War , in one night, April 9, , Continental Army General Israel Putnam fortified the island with earthworks and 40 cannons in anticipation of the return of the British Army and navy who had quit New York City the year before.
The colonists' cannon inflicted enough damage to make the British commanders cautious of entering the East River , which later contributed to the success of General George Washington 's retreat across it from Brooklyn into Manhattan after the Battle of Long Island also known as the Battle of Brooklyn , the British Army effort to take Brooklyn Heights overlooking Manhattan and the largest battle of the entire war.
The Continental Army forces collapsed after being flanked and eventually withdrew from Brooklyn and from Governors Island as well, and the British occupied it in late August. From September 2 to 14, the new British garrison would engage volleys with Washington's guns on the battery in front of Fort George in Manhattan. At the end of the Revolution, the island, as a former holding of the Crown, came into ownership by the state of New York and saw no military usage.
Prompted by the unsettled international situation between the warring powers of France and Great Britain and the need for more substantial harbor fortifications, the Revolutionary War-era earthworks were rehabilitated into harbor defenses by the city and state of New York.
Noten in pidgin language, "Nutten" Island was renamed Governors Island in as the island, in earlier times, had been reserved by the British colonial assembly for the exclusive use of New York's royal governors. The Governor's House perhaps ca , with additions survives as the oldest structure on the island.
By the late s, the Quasi-War with France prompted a national program of harbor fortifications and the state of New York began improvements as a credit for its Revolutionary War debt.
In February , the island was conveyed to the federal government, which undertook the reconstruction of Fort Jay and new construction of two waterfront batteries, Castle Williams and South or Half Moon Battery. Two forts were built. The first, Fort Jay , was built in by the state of New York on the site of the earlier Revolutionary War earthworks, and was originally a square four-bastioned fort of earthworks and timber.
A sandstone and brick gate house topped with a sculpture of an eagle dates to that time and is the oldest structure on the island. From to , Fort Jay, then renamed Fort Columbus was reconstructed in more substantial brick and granite with the addition of a ravelin on its north face, giving the fort its current five-point-star appearance, to better protect the fort from a Manhattan-based attack and to more directly place cannon fire on to the East and Hudson Rivers.
Located on a rocky shoal extending from the northwest corner of the island, it was inspired by then-modern French thinking on fortifications, but a pioneering design for American fortification. It was a designed as a circular structure that could project a degree arc of cannon fire from three levels of casemates bomb-proof rooms holding two cannons each and roof, holding cannon gun emplacements.
They proved useful soon after completion, as they were used to defend the city in the War of Therefore, part of Governors Island was repurposed for civilian use. However, the Army still retained military operations, with an "administrative and training center" on the island and a muster station throughout the Mexican—American War and American Civil War ; in addition, there was an arsenal and Army-operated music school located on the island.
After the war, Castle Williams was used as a military stockade and became the east coast counterpart to military prisons at Fort Leavenworth , Kansas, and Alcatraz Island , California.
By , the island's administrative leaders included General Tasker H. Bliss , who would become Army Chief of Staff in The Brooklyn—Battery Tunnel passes underwater and off-shore of the island's northeast corner, its location marked by a ventilation building connected to the island by a causeway. The intervention of the War Department quashed the plan, calling it a possible navigational threat to the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Prior to the construction of Floyd Bennett Field in Brooklyn , the island was considered as a site for a municipal airport, and it held a small grass strip, the Governors Island Army Airfield , from the s until the s. After a yearlong study of by the Department of Defense to cut costs and reduce the number of military installations, the Army announced in November that Fort Jay and Brooklyn Navy Yard were to be closed by This was the Coast Guard's largest installation, and for them as the Army, served both as a self-contained residential community, with an on-island population of approximately 3,, and as a base of operations for the Atlantic Area Command, its regional Third District command, Maintenance and Logistics Command, various schools which were relocated from Coast Guard Station New London in New London, Connecticut , and the local office of the Captain of the Port of New York.
It was also homeport for several U. In the thirty years of occupation on the island, the Coast Guard began a long, slow process of upgrading facilities and infrastructure that had been little improved upon since the s. During this time, Governors Island has served as the backdrop for a number of historic events. In , the island was the setting for the relighting of the newly refurbished Statue of Liberty by President Ronald Reagan.
Like the Army 30 years before, the U. Department of Transportation , then parent of the Coast Guard, was compelled to cut costs as other federal agencies in the early s. Because of its high operating costs and remote location from most of its activity in Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, the Governors Island base was identified for closure in By September the Coast Guard had relocated all functions and residential personnel to offices and bases in Rhode Island and Virginia.
With the departure of the Coast Guard, almost two centuries of the island's use as a federal military reservation concluded. The disposal of the island as excess federal property was outlined in the Budget Reduction Act of The legislation set a deadline and directed that the island be sold at a fair market value by GSA by , but gave the city and state of New York a right of first refusal , a provision that was inserted into the legislation by New York senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan who envisioned the island with great potential as a public and civic resource.
With the announcement of the Coast Guard base closure and departure, city and state officials along with private developers and civic planners began to offer opinions and ideas on the island's future that included housing, parks, education and private development. In , Van Alen Institute hosted an ideas competition called "Public Property" which asked designers "to consider the urban potential of Governors Island in terms of spatial adjacencies and experiential overlaps between a range of actions, actors, events, and ecologies More than entries from students, faculty, and landscape architects in 14 different countries were received.
The jury members included: With the completion of a National Park Service general management plan for Castle Williams and Fort Jay in , it was determined that the proposed use of the Castle for the theater was not congruous with its historical significance.
In a last-minute act while in office, President Bill Clinton designated 22 acres of the island, including the two great forts, as Governors Island National Monument on January 19, In the next year on April 1, , President George W. Bush , Governor Pataki, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the federal government would sell Governors Island to the people of New York for a nominal cost, and that the island would be used for public benefit.
At the time of the transfer, deed restrictions were created that prohibit permanent housing and casinos on the island. The remaining 22 acres was legally reaffirmed by presidential proclamation on February 7, as the Governors Island National Monument, to be administered by the National Park Service. On January 19, , Fort Jay and Castle Williams , two of the island's three historical fortifications, were proclaimed a National Monument.
The transfer included deed restrictions which prohibit permanent housing or casinos on the island. The announcement said proposals should "enhance New York's place as a center of culture, business, education and innovation," include public parkland, contribute to the harbor's vitality and stress "environmentally sustainable development.
In early , GIPEC paused in the search for developers, focusing on the development of a major park on the island as called for in the deed that conveyed the island from the federal government to the city and state of New York. In , the Governors Island Preservation and Education Corporation announced five finalist design teams that were chosen to submit their ideas for the future park and Great Promenade;   the GIPEC had awarded leases to its first two tenants a year before.
Dutch landscape architecture firm West 8's proposal featured dramatic topography "in concert with winding pathways and trees to create 'conceal and reveal' vistas, choreographing the park experience.
There are very few tenants on the island. Fewer than 1, workers, artists, and students work or live on the island. Also that year, artist studios run by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council and housed in a portion of Building opened, and New York University announced an expansion plan that included a campus on the Island, "complete with dorms and faculty housing. In April , the city entered an agreement to take full control of the island's development from the state of New York through a newly established Trust for Governors Island, and unveiled a new master development plan.
Under the plan, the historic northern end will remain structurally unchanged. The middle of the island would be developed into a park stretching to the southern tip. Areas on the east and west sides of the island will be privately developed to generate revenue, and the entire island will be edged by a circumferential promenade. The southern end of the park would meet the water in a series of wetlands. CURE proposed "a acre national historic district on the island, 3. This proposal, called LoLo, would require 23 million cubic yards of landfill and allow for up to 88 million square feet of new development, while providing new subway stations from the extension of the 1 and 6 trains.
The proposed landfill bridge would also serve as a storm surge barrier. On May 24, , Mayor Michael Bloomberg broke ground on the new park and public spaces designed by landscape architecture firm West 8 , along with announcing the opening of the rehabilitated Castle Williams. The Bloomberg administration's ten-year capital plan had provided funding for the first phase of construction, which began in the summer of On June 6, , the Oyster Pavilion was set to open.
Since the decision by the US Coast Guard to vacate the acre 0. The Governors Island Alliance is working with its many partners to make these commitments a reality, and engage the public in their planning. The Alliance publishes a monthly electronic newsletter that provides the latest information on Island happenings.
Equally important, the Alliance is working to enliven the Island with a variety of recreation and arts programs so that visitors can enjoy this harbor destination. The Alliance is a coalition of organizations and individuals working to celebrate the Island's unique history as the place on which the New World's first lawful expression of religious tolerance as an individual right took place in It supposedly helped to preserve the island for education when it was vacated by the Coast Guard in From its transfer in to , Governors Island was open to the public on weekends during the summer.
Now the island can be visited seven days a week from May 1 through October On the island, passengers depart and arrive at Yankee Pier. The cast-iron structure, located next to the Staten Island Ferry terminal, was restored between The departure and arrival dock on Governors Island is the Soissons Dock at the north tip of the island.
The ride is about 7 minutes in duration. This ferry is only accessible during the late spring and the summer. Activities on the island include free National Park Service walking tours, bike riding, picnicking, art installations, fairs, drone races, festivals, and concerts.
Bicycle, tandem, and quadcycle rental is provided on the island by Bike and Roll at hourly and daily rates. The northeastern half is currently open to the public.Starkwhite represents artists from New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Rim. St Adult dating in limestone new york Church, Stonegate, York jew St Helen's Squarewhich incorporates the historic churchyard. Hazing Deaths Hazing Blog: Part of the nave of St Martin-cum-Gregory dates from the 13th century; the remaining building dates from the 14th and 15th centuries. I am such a traveler, in no particular hurry on a bright Saturday. The 3,year-old head of Amenhotep III - grandfather of Ndw - was dug out of the ruins of the pharaoh's mortuary temple. To have such a stake in a village that your ancestors built it makes you care a lot about it.