Governors Isle changes: 7-day ferries with fares, & a spa

Art exhibit on Governors Island last summer.  Downtown Express file photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer
Art exhibit on Governors Island last summer.
Downtown Express file photo by Terese Loeb Kreuzer

BY SAM SPOKONY  |  For the first time, Governors Island will be open seven days a week during its 2014 season.

The expansion of public access —from the end of May through the end of September — will be funded, in part, by new fares for both Brooklyn and Manhattan ferries to the island. The ferries were previously free of charge.

The Trust for Governors Island, which operates the land, announced the expansion and the planned ferry fares two weeks ago.

Round trip ferry rides will cost $2 for adults on weekdays and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, while seniors will pay $1. Children under 12 will still ride free of charge, and morning ferries on the weekend will also remain free. The ferries will run hourly weekdays and every half hour for most of the day on weekends.

In the past, Governors Island has been open to visitors for 40 days each year. The planned increase in operation will triple that to 120 days for next year.

In addition to the new cash that will come from those fares, the city has increased its funding of the Trust’s operating budget by $1.88 million to help support the seven-days-a-week schedule, according to Trust spokesperson Elizabeth Rapuano.

The Trust’s operating budget is now $13.4 million, nearly 90 percent of which comes from the city, said Rapuano.

When the island opens next May, visitors will also have access to 30 acres of new park and public spaces being built now. Construction on another 10 acres of park space is also underway, and that work is expected to be done in 2015. The additional city funding is also contributing to operation and construction of the new spaces.

The Trust also announced that it has designated its first-ever commercial tenant, following a rezoning of Governors Island that was completed in July.

That tenant will be a day spa, which will be housed in three former residential buildings along the northern edge of the island, and which eventually will be open year-round to the public.

Quadratec Spa will offer a broad range of spa services, with indoor facilities, and an outdoor terrace and a café, according to the Trust.

In additon, the island’s two other current tenants — the New York Harbor School and Lower Manhattan Cultural Council — will be expanding.

The Harbor School will expand into a new, 25,000-square-foot building adjacent to its main location, and L.M.C.C. will expand its current Arts Center to include additional studio spaces, a media lab, exhibition spaces and a screening room, according to the Trust.

“These organizations will make important investments in the Island and its historic buildings,” Leslie Koch, president of the Trust, said in a statement Dec. 5. “With increased activity in the Historic District and more visitors than ever before able to use the island and the new park spaces, Governors Island is becoming an ever more vibrant part of New York City.”

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