Governor's Island is a 172 acre island in the heart of NYC's harbor and has recently been transformed into a beautiful public park, complete with giant rolling hills, playgrounds, bike paths and a hammock grove. It's open May 1st through October 31st 10AM-6PM, and weekends 10AM-7PM and is accessible by a ferry.
The quick backstory: Until recently, it had long been the home to an abandoned military base dating to 1811. the land was finally transferred to the City, Bill Clinton designated 22 acres to be put into a land preserve. The remaining 150 acres was re-imagined as a park by the Trust for Governor's Island, and non-historic building were demolished. Now, two phases of the Park are finally done: in 2014 the first phase was completed as 6 acres of parkland and pathways, a 10 acre hammock grove, and 14 acres of play areas. In 2016, Phase two, known as "The Hills", was completed which are giant hills rising 70' above NYC's harbor with paths and overlooks that use recycled materials from the harbor.
So much to do: they provide for activities like biking, food, festivals, picnics, playgrounds, art installations, plazas, fountains, kayaking, sunbathing/lounging, and 360 views of NYC harbor.
Easy Access by Ferry
You can get to the island easily by taking the Governor's Island Ferry from both Manhattan and Brooklyn.
For more information you can link to the Govenor's Island website here.
THE HILLS DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION TEAM
WEST 8, Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, Magnusson Klemencic Associates, AKRF, Hart Crowser Inc., Pentagram, Tillotson Design Associates, Dagher Associates, Pine and Swallow Environmental, Northern Designs, Code Consulting Inc., Faithful & Gould, ETM Associates, Langan, SiteMasters
Turner Construction Company, Bedford-Carp Construction, The LiRo Group, STV Inc., SiteWorks, BrightView Landscapes, RR Irrigation, ADCO Electrical, Welding Works, Southside Precast, Layout Inc., Design Communications Limited
Photo credit: Tim Schenck