New Park at Governors Island Open!

Photo courtesy of West 8

Memorial Day Weekend usually marks the unofficial beginning of summer while also paying tribute to those whose lives were lost while serving our country. This year a blending of these two meanings of Memorial Day was celebrated with the opening of Governors Island and the new park spaces that give new life to the island that once was an army post and now historic national monument. The 172 acre island opened it’s newest public spaces – 30 acres of parkland that includes ballfields, play areas, seating areas, sculpture garden and a hammock grove. The new park space design stemmed from the winning master plan of the landscape architecture firm, West 8, then developed alongside a team of talented design professionals including Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects. Siteworks LLC worked along with the LiRo Group/STV, serving as the resident engineering team.

Photo courtesy of West 8

The main features of the new park spaces are:

Liggett Terrace, a sunny, 6 acre plaza with seasonal plantings, plenty of seating to take in the fabulous views, water features and public art;
Hammock Grove, a playful 10 acre space that includes 1,500 new trees, creative play areas and 50 hammocks to relax in;
The Play Lawn, 14 acres for play and relaxation that includes two natural turf ball fields sized for adult softball and Little League baseball – all within view of the Statue of Liberty.


ASLA-NY hosted a sneak-preview of the new park spaces on May 7 with a tour led by Kim Mathews (Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architecture), John Payne and  Brandon Cappellari (both of West 8). See photos below. Richard Alomar was sketching the tour – you can view his sketches here.

Other changes this year include opening Governors Island 7 days a week. Previously the island was only open to the public on the weekends or special events. There is also now a charge to ride the ferry over to the island, but at $2, it is well worth it! The ferry is free 10 AM, 11 AM and 11:30 AM from Manhattan on Saturdays and Sundays and 11 AM and 11:30 AM from Brooklyn on Saturdays and Sundays.

Lead Designer/Prime Consultant: West 8 urban design & landscape architecture p.c.
Consultant Team:
Associate Landscape Architect: Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects Lead Civil Engineer: Magnusson Klemencic Associates Local Civil Engineer: AKRF Geotechnical Engineer: Hart Crowser Inc. Signage and Wayfinding: Pentagram Lighting: Tillotson Design Associates MEP Engineer: Dagher Associates Soils Consultant: Pine and Swallow Environmental Irrigation Consultants: Northern Designs Code Consultants: Code Consulting Inc. Cost Estimator: Faithful & Gould Operations and Maintenance: ETM Associates Surveyors of Record: Langan