FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 21, 2010
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES RECORD NUMBER OF VISITORS TO GOVERNORS ISLAND
With Eight Weeks Left in the Season, Island Has Already Welcomed More than the Record 275,000 Visitors that Visited During the Entire 2009 Season
Free Ferry Connection from Brooklyn Bridge Park, Food Festivals, Concerts, Arts and Cultural Programs are Drawing Thousands of New Yorkers Each Weekend
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced that - with eight weeks remaining in its public access season - Governors Island has already surpassed the record 275,000 visitors of 2009. New programs, amenities and the additional free ferry connection from Brooklyn Bridge Park have contributed to the island's substantial growth.
"Governors Island is one of New York City's greatest free resources, and more New Yorkers are taking advantage of it than ever before," said Mayor Bloomberg. "Revitalizing New York City's waterfront is a top priority for our Administration, and as we continue to pursue our Waterfront Vision and Enhancement Strategy, Governors Island will play a major role. We're committed to building on the momentum we've generated on the island by continuing to expand the programming and creating one of the world's great waterfront parks."
"I am very proud of the efforts undertaken to champion the preservation and development of one of New York State's historical treasures, Governors Island," said Governor David A. Paterson. "These efforts are already paying off, as we have surpassed last year's record attendance of 275,000 visitors over a 60 day public access season and we still have eight weeks left to the season. I hope more New Yorkers will take advantage of Governors Island's diverse array of free cultural and recreational programs and activities."
"It is wonderful to hear about the record breaking number of New Yorkers who have visited Governors Island this summer," said Congressman Jerrold Nadler. "As a long time supporter of the redevelopment of the island and the historic National Monuments of Castle Williams and Fort Jay, I am so pleased that more and more New Yorkers are taking advantage of this free park that is one of New York's hidden gems."
"Governors Island is a treasured open space for my neighbors in Lower Manhattan, who can take a free ferry to enjoy bike riding, picnicking, concerts, hiking, art festivals and more," said Assembly Speaker Shelden Silver. "The future of Governors Island has never looked brighter and I am proud of the hard work we have all done to make sure that it continues to be a popular draw for all New Yorkers."
"Governors Island has become one of the City's great public spaces, and it is wonderful that so many New Yorkers are enjoying everything it has to offer," said State Senator Daniel Squadron. "With the free ferry from Pier 6 or Lower Manhattan, visitors from all over the city can take an easy boat ride to Governors Island to take advantage of this summer's packed schedule of events. Governors Island is a vital part of our effort to build a unified Harbor Park-a central park for the center of the city. I thank community leaders and my colleagues in government for their hard work in making it a reality."
"This year's record breaking attendance is fantastic news, but the growing popularity of Governors Island should be no surprise to anyone lucky enough to spend an afternoon on Manhattan's southern-most shore," said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer. "In the few years since this cherished piece of our borough was opened to the public, we have seen the way this space can inspire New Yorkers. I would particularly like to thank the many Manhattan organizations that have worked to bring free programming to our visitors. With nearly two months left in the season, there is plenty more fun to be had at Governors Island this summer."
"Governors Island is a great resource for Lower Manhattan and for New York. A great many residents from the Lower East Side, Chinatown, and the Financial District have enjoyed the open green spaces, free biking and other activities on Governors Island," said Council Member Margaret Chin. "I am pleased that New York's children and families will continue to enjoy this wonderful space."
"More New Yorkers than ever before are taking a free bike ride, kayaking, seeing public art and listening to concerts on Governors Island," said Trust for Governors Island President Leslie Koch. "We are thrilled that so many are discovering this free place in the middle of New York Harbor."
In addition to a new ferry connection, new groups brought a wide variety of new programs to Island visitors. Biking remains one of the Island's most popular activities, with one quarter of all visitors biking while on the Island. Governors Island doubled the number of bikes available for the public to rent. Now, more than 500 bikes are offered so that visitors can enjoy more than five miles of car-free biking.
There are also more concerts and performances this year than ever before. For the first time, the South Island Fields have been open to the public for large-scale concerts which bring thousands to the Island. Visitors also continue to enjoy shows at Water Taxi Beach, the Island's dining and entertainment venue.
A variety of food festivals have also come to the Island. The barbeque festival Meatopia and craft beer event Brewfest were the first two food events offered this season. The Vendy Awards, Parked, a food truck festival, and Pig Island, another barbeque event, will add to this season's food programs. A full list of Governors Island events and programs are available at www.govisland.com.
In addition to new programs and events on Governors Island, visitors can also see the entire Park and Public Space Master Plan on exhibit. The plan, which is currently being designed by West 8, will transform 87 acres of open green space on the Island, rejuvenating existing landscapes in the National Historic District, creating a new 40 acre park on the Island's southern end and adding a 2.2-mile Great Promenade along the waterfront.
Earlier this year, the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council opened artist studios on the island and more than two dozen artists are currently at work in studios that are also open to the public. The Urban Assembly New York Harbor School, a new public high school, will open in September with more than 400 students in attendance.
Governors Island is one of the nine waterfront destinations that comprise NYHarborWay, an initiative of the Bloomberg Administration to make the New York Harbor a major recreational destination for New Yorkers and visitors. Spearheaded by NYC & Company, the initiative eventually will connect the nine major waterfront points of interest by ferry or bike greenways. In addition, NYHarborWay will develop a cohesive programming, marketing and communications platform which will drive visitation to the nine waterfront sites. In addition to Governors Island, the destinations are Brooklyn Bridge Park, Hudson River Park, The Battery, Ellis Island, Statue Liberty Island, Atlantic Basin, the East River Esplanade and Liberty State Park.
Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent (212) 788-2958
Elizabeth Rapuano (Trust for Governors Island) (212) 440-2205