Paterson Hands Control of Governors Island to City


New York’s next hot tourist destination will have 87 acres of green space, a view of the Manhattan skyline, and a moat.

Governor Paterson announced today that the state is turning over control of development on a 150-acre patch of Governors Island to the Governors Island Operating Entity, which will have 9 seats controlled by the mayor, and one of which has to go to someone from Brooklyn. The rest of the board will be chosen by the 64th District state assembly member (Shelly Silver), the 25th District state senator (Daniel Squadron), Manhattan Community Board 1 (in Silver’s district), and the governor. Silver, Squadron and Bloomberg shared the announcement. The city has committed $41.5 million from its capital budget for infrastructure investment and renovations of the Island’s historic district.

Plans for Governors Island have been in flux since the Army and Coast Guard “mothballed” their bases in 1996. The federal government transferred control of the island to New York in 2003 in return for $1. Mayor Bloomberg offered last year on behalf of the city to pay the full maintenance tab if the cash-strapped state transferred control.

Immediate future plans include free ferry rides to the island from Manhattan and Brooklyn between June and October, tours of artists’ studios sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and the relocation of the 400-seat Harbor School (a magnet public high school currently located in Bushwick) in September.

Public viewing of the Park and Public Space Master Plan will take place on the Island and in the Battery Maritime Building in Lower Manhattan. Construction is projected to start in 2012.