GOVERNORS ISLAND — Aside from a grove of hammocks, parkland with waterfront views and a slew of art installations, there's another way to enjoy the city's quirky relaxation oasis, also known as Governors Island, this season: barbecuing.
According to The Trust For Governors Island, in "response to overwhelming demand," the island will have six new grills ready when it opens to the public on May 28.
Those interested in firing up the BBQ have to reserve the grill, along with up to 5 picnic tables on the trust's website, and pay a $26 fee for the day. The party package also comes with a "Radio Flyer" wagon, ready to greet visitors when they get off the $2 ferry, for some help carrying supplies.
For those who aren't into grilling, there's no need to worry, picnicking is always free. There's also a host of food trucks stationed on the island on weekends.
Other new features on the island this year include The Hills. The island's long-anticipated man-made park of waterfront hills will be covered in grass, winding paths — and on one hill, even a variety of slides.
The four hills, which rise between 25 and 80 feet, won't be fully complete on May 28, but they are slated to be ready sometime this summer. Hard hat tours of the under-construction Hills, however, will be available Memorial Day weekend.
The island, which is open seven days a week, features dozens of events for all ages every single weekend. Here's a taste of what’s on tap this summer, but check out Governors Island's website for the full list of events.
For the Active Types:
The island offers five miles of car-free roads to bike or walk along. On weekdays, there are free bike rentals from 10 a.m. to noon. Otherwise visitors can rent bikes or bring their own.
For those who love getting out on the water, City of Water Day on July 16 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 visitors going from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
With a New York State fishing license, catch-and-release fishing is also permitted on the island throughout the summer.
For some quirky sports time, there's an outdoor Bocce festival on Aug. 20 and championship drone racing from Aug. 5 to 7.
For the Arty Types
Annual Lower Manhattan arts festival, River to River, will host several performances on the island from June 16 through 26.
Arts organization FIGMENT takes over the island with a host of whimsical exhibits, sculptures, interactive designs, games and programming on several weekends throughout the summer, but it also hosts summer-long programs and exhibits, including an arty mini-golf course, interactive sculptures and even a treehouse.
Classic Island Festivals
The annual Jazz Age Lawn party, which encourages dress and dance from the 1920s and 1930s, is back on June 11 and 12, as well as Aug. 13 and 14. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., enjoy music, food, drinks and fun from the flapper era. Tickets must be purchased in advance as they often sell out.
For those who love freewheeling, the New York Unicycle festival returns Sept. 3 and 4. Watch hundreds of unicycle enthusiasts in action, or learn to ride and participate in games.
Governors Island is open seven days a week from May 28 through Sept. 25. For more information, head to Governors Island website.