Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Summer Games: Governors Island

The other day DH and I packed up the bikes and headed out to Governors Island, a lovely ice cream cone shaped island in the middle of New York harbor. As its name suggests,Let's Go Ride a Bike Summer Games it was once reserved as an exclusive getaway for the royal governors of New York and, despite subsequent use as a shore battery, a federal penitentiary, and Coast Guard housing, it somehow retained an air of high style and restricted public access. Although it's technically a part of Manhattan borough, we'd never set foot on the place. A BBQ festival on the island seemed a perfect opportunity to explore a new part of town by bike for the New Territory challenge of the LGRAB Summer Games.

Governors Island ferry terminal

Visitors to Governors Island depart Manhattan via a free ferry that uses the handsomely restored old Staten Island ferry terminal just east of the current SI ferry terminal. (There's also a ferry from Pier 6 in Brooklyn.) After a short, pleasant ride, one has arrived.

Welcome to Governors Island

We pedaled around a bit, then chained up in a shady spot and went to the BBQ festival, Meatopia. It was a hellacious dystopia. Everything smelled tantalizingly good, but the food ran out before all paid customers had been served. By my observation, exhibitors began striking their tents around 1:00 pm, but the organizers continued selling tasting tickets for another hour. As gentle readers may imagine, much ill temper ensued.


Despite that unpleasantness, we enjoyed exploring Governors Island. It's a shutterbug's paradise thanks to magnificent views of New York harbor...

Liberty Island

... stately architecture and historic military fortifications...

Stately architecture

... and random art lying about. This red and green string sculpture caught my eye. I'd hoped to do some spinning in public for the Tour de Fleece...

String sculpture

... but it rained intermittently and all I dared do was flash my spindle. (It's dangling from my handlebars in the photo above.)

TdF spinning

I can't decide whether these S-twist toes are whimsical or disturbing, which is a bit troubling all by itself.


There's a pretty picnic lawn supplied with picnic tables, Adirondack chairs, hammocks, shelters made from shipping containers, and wheelbarrow benches. Hardly anything is nailed down because one would look pretty silly at the ferry landing trying to smuggle things off the island.

Picnic Point

About the only thing that's lacking is a beach. Like many of the New York islands, Governors Island has no soft shore – it's completely girt by seawalls. However, there is a public beach club.

Beach club

We ended our day with a ferry ride back to Manhattan and a proper dinner in Chinatown. I have no desire to try the foodless food festival again, but I'd gladly return to Governors Island – the season continues with activities for all ages through October 10.

1 comment:

Bezzie said...

Ugh. That Meatopia is spoiled all over. I clicked the link and my virus software went all a-twitter about the site having a Trojan. Wormy meat!!!

Looks like a fun time--I take it it wasn't too horribly hot?

Love the toes! They're not fingers? (Like that would be any better!)