GOVERNORS ISLAND — Governors Island is open to the public seven days a week for the first time, ever, this year. With a new grove of 50 hammocks, plus the addition of gourmet food trucks, there are more ways to relax on the island. But as always, it remains a great place to enjoy some active leisure time.
"It really still feels like this secret, green oasis in New York," said Leslie Koch, the president of the Trust For Governors Island. "But people are starting to come Governors Island not just as a one time thing during the summer, but as a regular destination for fun events, to take a walk or bike ride, or just to hang out."
Below find all the ways that you can work up a sweat on the island.
If you love getting out on the water, City of Water Day, on July 12, will be a good date for a trip to the Island. Free kayaking, fishing demonstrations, boat tours, paddle boarding and other water-related fun for all ages will keep you going from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Many of those river activities are also available throughout much of the season. Free kayaking, hosted by the Downtown Boathouse, is offered through August on Saturdays from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.. They launch from a small cove off of the Island’s Pier 101.
With a New York State fishing license, catch-and-release fishing is also permitted on the Island throughout the summer.
Thanks to the addition of nearly 30 acres of new green space, there are even more paths to move along on the island this season for bike riders, runners and walkers, according to representatives of the trust. Nearly 5-miles of car-free roads are open.
This year, the island is offering free bike rentals from 10 a.m. to noon. Otherwise, it's free to bring your own bike, or you can rent. Tandems and quadracycles are also available.
Enthusiasts of unique bicycles can enjoy the Island's Unicycle Festival. You can just watch mono-cyclists perform some dare-devil moves, and play games like unicycle basketball — or learn to ride a unicycle yourself. The festival rolls in on August 30 and 31, from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Softball, Soccer, Baseball and Bocce
If you’re on a softball, soccer or other field sport team, you can still try to reserve playing time on the Island’s newly opened natural turf fields, which boast picturesque views of the Statue of Liberty and Lower Manhattan. Priority is given to youth leagues or official school leagues, but there are still some time slots available for play.
The two fields are open during the island's public hours, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekends.
For some quirkier active time, head to the Come Out & Play Field Day on July 19, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., an annual festival of whimsical street games that turns part of Governors Island into a playground for adults. A kids version, the Come Out & Play Family Day also runs simultaneously.
If spectator sports are more your thing, you can take in a game of vintage baseball. Players dressed in 19th Century gear using the 1864 rules of the ball game will square off against each other on the Island’s Parade Grounds on July 12, August 16 and August 30 at 11 a.m.
For some more unusual game days, head to the RECESS bocce tournament on Aug. 23 on Colonel’s Row from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Watch 32 teams compete while enjoying beer, wine, DJs and gourmet food trucks. There’re will also be free bikes rides — and a few bocce courts available for public play.
If you want to stay on the move, and happen to be a bit of a history buff, Governors Island has you covered. National Parks Service offers several historical tours, including a 90-minute hike through the Island, and it's long, moslty military history — which dates back to the 1750s. There's also a climb through Castle Clinton, the country's best preserved military fort, which opened in 1808. Tours are Wednesdays through Sunday.