Explore NYC: Governors Island

Amongst all its towering buildings and bustling sidewalks NYC is also home to a huge array of parks and public green spaces.  Being from the Midwest where just about everyone has their own private outdoor space I didn’t spend a ton of time in parks when I was growing up.  Sure we had the occasional picnic and my Mom and I took a lot of long walks in the woods, but I rarely spent a full afternoon in a park.  Living in the concrete jungle sure has changed that – one of my favorite things to do on a summer afternoon in NYC is to round up some friends, pack some snacks and head to a park for several solid hours of relaxing.

This weekend Andrew and I finally checked another box off our Summer Bucket List – our first-ever visit to Governors Island.  Located less than a 10 minute ferry ride from either lower Manhattan or Brooklyn the island is a little slice of heaven.  During the colonial days Governors Island was reserved exclusively for the use of New York’s Royal Governors, more recently it served as a Coast Guard Base before being turned into a dedicated park space.  The island currently hosts bike trails, picnic spaces, art installations and multiple historical forts – a little something for everything.

Gov Island

Image Credit:  Governors Island Blog

On Sunday, Andrew, our friend Bryan and I headed to the island to attend a Jazz Age Lawn Festival.  The event featured music from the roaring 20s and a lawn full of New Yorkers dolled up in spiffy 20s gear.  We settled ourself on a not-very-1920s lined picnic blanket for several hours and enjoyed the show.  I’m not sure what was more entertaining, the music or the people-watching, but add a beautiful day, a yummy homemade lunch that we carted along and a few heated card games and we ended up with an incredible afternoon.  The Festival will be returning in August and I highly recommend attending.  Even if you can’t make it that weekend the island is definitely worth an afternoon.

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