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Governors Island Visitor Numbers Drop as Work on New Park Ramps Up

GOVERNORS ISLAND — The number of visitors to Governors Island dropped by nearly 23 percent this summer. 

Just 345,000 people traveled to the island from Memorial Day weekend to the end of September, about 100,000 fewer than in 2011, the Trust for Governors Island said Tuesday.

The reason for the drop is that the island was closed on Fridays this year, so workers could begin construction on new park space, said Leslie Koch, president of the Trust for Governors Island.

"We were open one-third fewer days this year," Koch said. "We weren't able to be open because we're building a beautiful park."

The new park space, opening in the fall of 2013, will include baseball diamonds, hammock-lined walking paths and a maze of hedges.

While the overall number of visitors dropped this summer, the average number of visitors for each day the island was open increased from 7,100 in 2011 to 8,200 in 2012, which is about the same number of people who visit Ellis Island each day, Koch said. 

Governors Island was open Saturdays, Sundays and holiday Mondays this summer and was accessible by free ferries from Lower Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The total number of visitors to Governors Island stayed almost flat between 2010 and 2011, which officials attributed to a rainy July and August of 2011.

Governors Island will reopen to the public May 25, 2013.