Since its official opening to the public in 2005, Governors Island has become a welcome summer retreat for tourists and Manhattan natives alike. Located in the heart of New York Harbor, the island has evolved into a world of its own, transporting its inhabitants away from the concrete urban jungle and into a lush emerald-colored oasis.
In previous years, The Island was only accessible to visitors from May to October, however, following a recent announcement made by The Trust for Governors Island, for the very first time, the haven will now be open to visitors from 7 am to 6 pm, year-round, seven days a week, starting Dec. 17.
Additionally, The Trust has transformed The Island’s historic Colonels Row into a spectacular seasonal attraction, called “The Governors Island Winter Village.”
The stately brick mansions of Colonels Row have quietly resided on Governors Island since their construction in the post-Civil War era, and offer breath-taking scenery that you don’t find anywhere else in New York City, said the President and CEO of the Trust for Governors Island, Clare Newman.
Soon, this once desolate area of the island will be roaring with crowds of friends and families, chomping at the bit to indulge in the festive amenities and experience the holiday wonderland for themselves.
“From ice skating to hot chocolate by the fire, the Governors Island Winter Village will provide visitors of all ages with plenty of cold-weather fun and festivities while serving as an amazing kick-off to our inaugural winter season,” said Newman.
Not only will The Island have a 5,000 square foot ice skating rink, but it will also be laden with a variety of other activities, including lawn games (like cornhole, can jam and giant Jenga), bike and sled rentals, and even a retired Coast Guard-era fire truck, that acts as the perfect complement to a holiday-themed photo op.
On top of the activities, the Trust has also garnered the New York City staple, Joe Coffee— for those coffee connoisseurs— and the culinary talents of Little Eva’s who will be unveiling a new seasonal menu with mouth-watering food and drink options, such as vegan chili, fish and chips and even more. If that wasn’t enough, as a special treat, The Winter Village will host an array of food trucks on weekends—rounding out all the classic holiday comforts that you could ever need.
Whether you are enjoying a hot beverage over a roaring fire, or admiring the holiday light display, Executive Director of the Friends of Governors Island, Merritt Birnbaum, believes that there is no better way to enjoy a charming winter afternoon than at The Winter Village.
“Governors Island is already New York City’s favorite destination for fun in the sun,” she said, “and we look forward to welcoming visitors to experience a whole new season of activities in this special place.”
The Village’s biggest attraction —the skating rink— will be open to the public from noon to 5 pm on Fridays, and from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturdays and Sundays, according to the Governors Island website. The rink will also host events and “Free Admission Fridays,” with entrance fees waived for all visitors every Friday.
Governors Island Trust offers ferry services to the island seven days a week from the Battery Maritime Building on 10 South Street in Lower Manhattan. Round trip tickets cost $3 for adults and are free for seniors 65 and over, children 12 and under, NYCHA residents, IDNYC holders, former and active military service members and for everyone on weekends before noon, according to the Governors Island website.
Ferry reservations and schedules, as well as updates for expanded ferry services can be found at govisland.org/ferry.
“We are so excited to welcome all New Yorkers to the first public winter season on Governors Island,” said Newman. “This winter village will provide visitors with an amazing backdrop, great activities and a wonderful opportunity for winter fun.”
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.