It is an island of 70 hectares. It is only 730 meters from the largest metropolis in the U.S. It is called Governors Island. Today it is an urban recreation, but it was once the island that gave birth to New York.
The Dutch established the first settlement of their colony of New Amsterdam here. which made this now uninhabited harbor island the birthplace of New York City. Today, it may be New York City’s best kept secret.
The leafy oasis is home to 11 km of bike trails; an urban farm the size of half an acre; and extensive lawns and gardens. Also an ice skating rink in winter and all kinds of picnic spots. It is pioneering an inspiring zero-waste concept that could show other cities how to be more sustainable.
New York Mayor Eric Adams announced that the island would now be the site of a “living laboratory.” It is dedicated to finding solutions to address the climate crisis.
“The design and concept of the park really focus on sustainability and resilience,” said Clare Newman. She is president and CEO of the Governors Island Trust. The island was originally 29 acres. Another 40 were added in the early 20th century using excavated earth.
The British arrived in New York in 1664, when they seized the island from the Dutch. Now under the control of the U.S. government, the island became a military base.
In 2001, the island was designated a National Monument. Two years later, it was sold to the city and state of New York for $1. Finally, in 2005, it was opened to the public. The bucolic open space, so close to the dense city, has made Governors Island a cultural and recreational destination.
Paper in the future
Last year was the first time the island was open year-round. It attracted 939,000 visitors, many more than the 600,000 in 2021. The newly announced campus will focus on climate solutions research. It will be called the “New York Climate Exchange.” They expect it to bring thousands of jobs to the island when it opens in 2028.
The island that gave birth to New York is pointing to the future. There is no doubt that it will continue to play a relevant role in history.