Saturday Afternoon on Governor's Island

Sunday, August 28, 2016

The last time I was at Governor's Island was probably 6 years ago on 4th of July with May - Mei and her sister.  I returned this time with May - Mei and Sarah to see what's been developed and experience the burgeoning art and food truck scene.

Governor's Island
Here's a little background on Governor's Island based on the visitor's info and website. Governor's Island was established as a military fort and garrison for the British in 1664 after it switched hands from the Dutch after the capture of New Amsterdam. It was then used as the North American military headquarters for the British during the American Revolution and afterwards, the land was inherited by the State of New York.

In 1800, New York transferred the island to the U.S. government for military use and from then on up until 1966, it served the Army as its headquarters. 

View of Lower Manhattan from Governor's Island
From 1966 to 1995, Governor's Island served the U.S. Coast Guard and it was a residential community of 3,000 and a commuting population of 1,500.

The General's House
Due to cost cutting measures, Governor's Island closed its facilities in 1995 and military personnel were relocated by September 1996.

The 172 acre island now has two food courts: King Avenue Food Court and Liggett Terrace, several residential houses were convert into artists' space to showcase their talents, and public open space to picnic, ride bikes and also host concerts or parties.

Sarah wanted to eat first before we go exploring around the island so we walked over to Liggett Terrace while we discussed if we should rent tandem bikes or a 4 seat surrey.  

May - Mei and Sarah didn't feel like renting bikes since we would be spending our time in the galleries so we left the bike riding for another day.

Little Eva's Station had a beer garden for their patrons but I wasn't particularly drawn to their menu.  I had a hard time deciding what to eat since it was such a humid day but at the same time I was also hungry.  May - Mei and Sarah decided to order from Veronica's Kitchen where they had potato salad and jerk chicken.  I opted for the El Carrito taco truck where I ordered a chorizo tostada and horchata.

El Carrito chorizo tostada
El Carrito chorizo tostada
The radishes on the chorizo tostada were refreshing and the horchata was a perfect compliment to this humid day.  Afterwards, we walked over to King Avenue Court where I could not resist Blue Marble Ice Cream where I purchased a caramel brownie sandwich.

Blue Marble ice cream at King's Avenue Court, Governor's Island
I inhaled the ice cream as we walked through King's Avenue Court, checking out other vendors like Wings & Things food truckEl Paso Taco, and Yankee Doodle Dandys.

If I had more room in my stomach, I would have loved to try El Paso Taco as they had some guacomole which I absolutely adore.

They have three locations on the Upper West Side and wished they had locations downtown so I'd be able to stop by after work or while I am running errands.

 What's interesting about Governor's Island is the suburban feel of the island despite the fact you're at the tip of Lower Manhattan.  It's quiet and peaceful and not overwhelmingly crowded so it was a nice respite from the craziness of the city.

There were several art installations to check out and one of the installations that caught my eye was Escaping Time: Art from U.S. Prisons.

Escaping Time Governor's Island
Escaping Time
 It's located in Nolan Park Building  6A and certain pieces had bios of  the artists.  It was  also part of Governor's Island 2015 exhibition.
 I was able to speak to Khesan Smalls briefly about the background of Escaping Time 
 and the current state of affairs of the U.S criminal justice system. It's interesting to see how  some are trying to reintegrate back into society and based on the bios, to see snapshots of  their life in New York City.

Escaping Time Governor's Island
Escaping Time - Nolan Park Building 6A

Next, we stopped by The Dysfunctional Collective House produced by the Dysfunctional Theatre Company.  Sarah and I went inside to explore the house while May - Mei sat outside on of the benches to listen to a trio of performers on the porch.

Dysfunctional Collective House Governor's Island
Dysfunctional Collective House
The Dysfunctional Collective House is interactive so it allow children and adults to participate in creating art.  Sarah and I saw adults on the floor cutting construction paper and upstairs we saw a fort constructed out of card board boxes.

I managed to get inside the fort through a small opening from the wall and took
a picture from a window they created which overlooked the fireplace and cardboard tree.

Sarah and I then went to the back of the house and there was a room which would make a perfect library or office.

We then went down a back staircase which led to the kitchen.  The staircase was steep and narrow and wondered how conducive it was for the elderly to actually use it.

I guess we weren't supposed to go down the back staircase because it looked like the kitchen was the place the musicians stored their cases as well as their food for the day.

We then went back outside where May - Mei was still sitting.  The weather was humid so it was a bit unbearable to be inside the house so it was more cooler to stay outside where there seemed to be a slight breeze.

Next to the Dysfunctional Collective House was art installation.  There were signs that you could sit on it but not climb but I guess these were for children.

The seat was an outfit of a woman's curvaceous body with eyeballs at the top of the headrest.  We weren't quite sure what to make of it as the eyeballs were a bit creepy.

We then walked along path and saw children working on large foam sized blocks. May - Mei, Sarah and I were all feeling creative so we decided to join them and use whatever blocks available on the grass to construct a piece of work.

Foam construction at Governor's Island
I really didn't have anything in mind while I constructed my piece but in the end it looked like a fountain.  As I thought about it, I wondered if Governor's Island would install some large fountain sprinklers for children to play in like they have in a few parks in the city.  

The heat was becoming unbearable so we walked back towards the ferry docking.  Before the pier was the General's House.  Sarah pointed it out because it was brick while all the other houses were not.  Furthermore, it had air conditioning!

General's House Governor's Island
The General's House gallery
The General's House was obviously beautiful.  The first floor was only open to the public but wondered if the upstairs modeled after other mansions I have seen around NYC and Rhode Island.

The french doors opened up to a patio which overlooked the skyline of Lower Manhattan.  I could imagine that the General's family would be serving ice tea on a hot day like this or have some type of BBQ.

List of General's at the General's House

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