for the past year or so – whenever i’ve been in nyc – i’ve looked out from the bottom of manhattan and seen these islands in the distance. governor’s island, the one with the statue of liberty on it, ellis island. and i’ve wanted so much to visit one of them. taking the staten island ferry past governor’s island last week made me want to more!
my kind of tourism usually involves food and art, and walking around for 6 hours at a time just to see the way things are organized, hear what the city sounds like, and get muscley legs. but sometimes you have to go where all of the people are!
so on sunday we got ourselves organized and went on a picnic with one of my oldest friends zoe. she and i reconnected last winter after 20 years. she was my favorite person in 5th grade, and she still completely rocks.
we met up in the beautiful governor’s island ferry station at the bottom of the island of manhattan – along with like 100 other people. and waited in line for a while, then boarded. the ferry station is right next to the bigger more modern looking staten island ferry station. as we pulled away from manhattan for the short trip to governor’s island, we were so excited to be on the water!
the island itself is lovely, and only open 3 days a week! so it’s clean and full of people when it is open. there are bike rentals there and paths and a lot of lawn for picnicing!
there was a lot of art there, many installations in the abandoned historical military buildings, and large sculptures in the fields between. the buildings are brick and stone. there were many houses with art installed on the first floors. gorgeous old officer’s homes with peeling paint and great built ins.
i really want to install something in one of these homes at some point. i need to find out how and where to apply for an installation. i have ideas about making plastic bag sculptures specific to the island. i have always been fascinated by ghost towns, abandoned buildings, military forts that have been derelict and overgrown. and i am all about installations of sculpture. this is exactly up my alley. this is my alley.
we walked around the island (the open parts) and walked through history.
i learned that no governor ever lived here. but people did since people lived anywhere. it used to be called nut island by the indigenous population, who would hang out there a lot and get the nuts from the island’s many trees. military presence has been recorded since 1776. i think. there are some old earthworks bits. hillsides built up. and some pretty old buildings. one is called ‘Castle Williams’ and i really expected to be able to see some if it’s history more. but all of the windows were covered in plexi and there had been some updates in maybe the 60s? so not much old stuff can be seen through the windows, some crumbled drywall, some insulation, some leaves.
but all in all it was lovely!
we got to lay on the grass and look at the clouds moving. i can’t remember the last time i did that. it was a really nice day.
when we were in line to catch the ferry back to the city i was bit or stung by an insect. it may have been a horesfly or a wasp. i think it bit me though, as no stinger was left behind. and i shooed it away pretty quickly, so i didn’t see it. i’ve tried looking up the biting insects of new york online without luck. i mean, there are a lot of insects around that bite… none seem particulary specific to governors island. my knee swelled up quite a bit and was painful for a couple of days. now it is just itchy, much easier to deal with.
beware the insects of governor’s island! but go anyways because it is really fun!