Governors Island to reopen with Brooklyn ferries moving to Red Hook

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Governors Island reopens to the public on July 15.
Julienne Schaer/Governors Island Trust

Governors Island will reopen to the public on July 15, with the weekend ferry service from Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6 moving to Red Hook for this year’s season, according to the stewards of the island.

The isle off the coast of Red Hook will be open daily with ferry rides from Manhattan and crossings from Red Hook’s Atlantic Basin on weekends. The first Brooklyn ferry headed for island will launch on Saturday, July 18.

The boat rides will now be free for the city’s public housing residents, and the head of the park hopes the offer — along with moving the route from ritzy Brooklyn Heights to Red Hook — will provide better access to open space for lower-income communities amid the COVID-19 outbreak. 

“This summer, Governors Island will be an affordable, local getaway for New Yorkers who need it most,” said Clare Newman, president and chief executive officer of the Trust for Governors Island, in a statement. “We’ve focused on a plan to make the Island more accessible to New Yorkers in areas underserved by parks this season, and have taken important steps to ensure the health and safety of our visitors. We look forward to seeing everyone on the ferry!”

The Trust — a nonprofit corporation created by the city to transform the 172-acre former military base into a sprawling park — has implemented several new measures so that people can stay socially distant and healthy on the ferry and the island.

There’s a limited number of tickets available per person for each time slot on the ferry, which are now available for sale online. Visitors have to wear face coverings while on the boat and the island itself will only offer so-called passive recreation, such as walking, running, biking, hiking, and birding.

Permits for outdoor events and sports field use is postponed until at least August 1, while indoor public programs are suspended until August 31, according to the Trust. The island’s National Monument, including Fort Jay and Castle Williams, will also remain closed until further notice.

Several of the eateries and food vendors will be open — while adhering to governmental food service safety guidelines to stem the spread of the coronavirus – so visitors can grab some seafood or a cocktail at Island Oyster, Korean barbecue at a Kimchi Taco food truck, or a craft beer by Threes Brewing, among other dining options.

The ferry fare for adults is $3 round trip, but tickets remain free for kids 12-years-old or younger, seniors 65 or older, and for all visitors who take morning ferries before noon on weekends. Visitors can bring their own bicycle on board for free at all times.

Governors Island ferry opens daily on July 15 in Manhattan and on weekends starting July 18 from Atlantic Basin in Red Hook. The Island is open 10 am-6 pm on weekdays, 10 am-7 pm on weekends. Ferry tickets $3 roundtrip. Tickets available at www.govisland.com.