Frequently Asked Questions

The Future of Governors Island

There are two agencies on Governors Island who are entrusted with its future: the National Park Service (NPS) and the Trust for Governors Island (the Trust).

The National Park Service is a federal government agency within the U.S. Department of the Interior. On Governors Island NPS manages a 22-acre National Monument, which was established to protect Fort Jay and Castle Williams, two of the country's finest examples of coastal fortifications.

The National Park Service's plans for the National Monument are described in a General Management Plan / Environmental Impact Statement.

The Trust, a non-profit organization created by New York City, is responsible for the planning, redevelopment and ongoing operations for 150 acres of Governors Island. The Trust's plans can be found at

What can you do on Governors Island?

Governors Island is an idyllic space located just south of Lower Manhattan and across Buttermilk Channel from Brooklyn. In addition to picnicking, bike riding, and recreating, you can join National Park Service Rangers for guided tours and programs about the island's rich history. Click here to go to the Governors Island National Monument website here for more information.

The Trust for Governors Island also organizations many special events throughout the visitation season, from concerts to food festivals. Click here to go to the Trust for Governors Island's website for more information.

What's in a name? - How Governors Island got its name.

The island was originally used by the Lenape Native Americans. They may have used the island on a seasonal basis for fishing and the gathering of nuts from the plentiful nut trees.

When the Dutch arrived in the 1620's they spent their first winter on the island calling it "Nooten Eylandt" or nut island.

When the British took New Amsterdam from the Dutch they called the island "Nutten Island" (a mispronunciation of "Nooten") or Nut Island. The British colonial assembly in New York later decreed that the island was to be given to "His Majestie's Royal Governors" for their private use. The Governors used the island for various purposes, but not as a permanent residence. The island became known as "The Governor's Island" eventually losing "The" and the apostrophe, leaving the current name as it stands today, Governors Island.



Last updated: April 9, 2012

Park footer

Contact Info

Mailing Address:

10 South Street
New York, NY 10004-1921


212 825-3054

Contact Us