governors island aerial view

About a year ago, we got an email from Leslie Koch, president of the Trust for Governors Island, inviting us to see what was going on at the once-army base-now-public-space a 5 minute ferry ride from the tip of Manhattan…

Pretty much everything out here embodies improvised life (tree house designed by artist, goats in our compost program, I could go on and on…)

Koch wasn’t kidding. As she sped us on a whirlwind tour in a golf cart, we realized that we were in the presence of a true visionary. She’d envisioned the island as a public art space and joyous respite from city living, and in just a few years, had made it just that. The roster of engaging events that take place there during its July-September season is stunning from Improv Everywhere‘s wild happenings—check out this hilarious one — to the upcoming Fête Paradiso, a fairground festival of vintage carousals and carnival rides to whirl around on. But what we loved most is that art, both high and low is everywhere, woven into the island’s fabric.  From the moment the ferry leaves the Manhattan dock  for Governors Island you feel it…

nyc governor's island: island as art space

…in the artist-designed miniature golf you can play…

nyc governor's island: island as art space
photo: sally schneider

…in tree houses…

nyc governor's island: island as art space

…and mysterious structures…

nyc governor's island: island as art space

…in the art installations that shift your view…

nyc governor's island: island as art space
photo: sally schneider

…including monumental work by Mark de Suvero...

nyc governor's island: island as art space
photo: sally schneider

Not to mention artist’s studios to visit, hammocks for lounging around in, bikes for exploring, and a view of the city that takes your breath away…

We learned a lot in that exactly-one-hour-long meet with Leslie Koch. There was a white-board in her office full of ideas from a meeting. She was totally focused, showed us a lot and didn’t waste a minute. She’d reached out to us knowing that when ideas fly, and connections are made, anything can happen. And she’s in the business of making things happen.

We wondered what we would do had we been handed an island to do something SWELL with…

What would you do?

carvnival ride

Related posts: free map envelope app (+ an invite to governors island)
‘the improvised life’ in detroit, harlem and governors islandx
postcardly: send a real postcard via email
the ten principles of burning man (and life in general?)

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