It has been two years. Two years since we have been to Governors Island. I don’t know why. Maybe because the last time we went it was so pathetically crowded (it was the opening day for the season after all), that I lost interest in going back, despite the great time we had. It had been so long since I had gone to Governor’s Island, that when I wrote about my experience, I was still writing this blog in the 3rd person. So long ago!
But we returned today. No particular day of importance, other than that it was a Friday before a holiday when most people have off – but not all – and a lot of those who do have off tend to go away.
When it came to heading to Governors Island, we figured out the (free) ferry schedule, and took the train to South Ferry, where we didn’t have to wait for a ferry at all. It wasn’t too crowded, and the ride is no more than 5 minutes long.
It was Free Bike Rental Friday and the line for free bikes was long. I hate long lines. I hate long lines so much, that I was thrilled when we were told that the bike we wanted (a quad) was not free and that we had to pay for it ($35 for small per hour/$40 for large per hour). My husband and I agreed, paying to not be on that line was well worth it for us, especially with the kids in tow. You also have to pay for the tandem bikes.
The helmets are free and we loaded up the little ones and peddled on to discover the island. What has improved since my last visit two years ago is that there are a lot more bikes, tandems, and quads for rent. What has gotten worse is the traffic of bikes and pedestrians on the paths, and the fact that it seems New Yorkers have no sense of bike etiquette at all. We almost hit a couple of people, even as slow as we were going. Pedestrians walking in the middle of the path and not moving when they saw you coming; riders coming out of the side lines without looking both ways to see if someone was coming behind them, and riders not looking where they are going, thus crashing smack into my 4 yr old. I sincerely hope they improve this, it’s a serious hazard.
Other than that, the ride was beautiful. The weather was perfect. Sunny, with no humidity. We parked our ride and got a snack at a Jamaican food cart, which was pricey but good.
Another improvement since my last visit, they have a cafeteria now, in addition to the beach shack, which serves alcohol, burgers, hot dogs, quesadillas, and chicken fingers. The “beach” also hosts concerts and other activities and their huge sandy area is hours of fun for the kiddos.
The island is still cash only, the hammocks are quick to go, but there are plenty of picnic tables and grassy areas to lay around on and play.
I hope you read my more thorough review from our first visit for more information. One thing that remains is that Governors Island is a peaceful reprieve from the busy noise of the city. Even when on a crowded day, once on the island these crowds dissipate and allow for a relaxing, fun experience, either with kids in tow or not.
What to bring:
- Food, drinks (you can find it on the island, but it can be pricey)
- Bug spray
- Your own non-motorized scooter and bikes, if you own them. Other wise, the island has them for rent.
- Outdoor games (the park has added swings for play, but there aren’t really playgrounds around)
- A schedule of activities (check out Governors Island website for more information), as they always are hosting one event or another.