Small islands in NYC

Have you ever heard of Governors Island? This small island, located on the Hudson south of Manhattan, is a gem of New York.

Photo 1: Battery Maritime Building (Governors Island Ferry) seen from the river

Governors Island has no land connection with the city, so the only way to get there is to take a ferry. It runs from 11 am to 9 pm from Battery Maritime Building. The BMB terminal is also a significant historical building with art-deco details, with an upscale hotel and rooftop bar inside.

Photo 2: The Block House at night, Governors Island

Governors Island was a home for the Navy and became open to the public not too long ago. The architecture on the island is mainly post-military buildings. There are also single-family houses where families of the soldiers used to live. The island is entirely car-free but not bike-free 🙂 It’s small enough to walk around it on a boulevard by the river or in the parks.

Photo 3: Battery Maritime Building (Governors Island Ferry) seen from the street.

I took an evening ferry to the island to join a cocktail party organized by The Institute for Public Architecture (IPA). IPA is an organization formed by architects who are based mostly, but not entirely, in NYC. They address their design to challenge social and physical inequities in the city, focusing on residential architecture. During the summer, a few volunteers for IPA experienced living on the island in this building called The Block House.

The house has around ten bedrooms, a kitchen with a dining room, a library, and a spacious living room. IPA members converted some of the bedrooms into exhibition spaces, where they presented their work. I think that the concept was fascinating. What amazed me is that there are no street lamps on the streets, and it gets very dark in the evening. I am very excited to revisit the island and see more of it during the daytime.

Photo 4: Statue of Liberty seen from Staten Island Ferry

The Statue of Liberty remains the most iconic landmark in New York. You can see her from many places, such as Battery Park, bridges (Brooklyn and Manhattan), part of Brooklyn, Staten Island, and the ferry. So for many months, I’ve wondered why people still want to see the statue from the closeup.

Photos 5: The Ukrainian Community celebrating Defenders Day, Liberty Island, October 15

Finally, I had a good reason to go there. On October 15th, together with the Ukrainian community in NYC, we hopped on a ferry to Liberty Island. Once we arrived, we gathered in the center square of the island and pulled up Ukrainian flags, symbols, and a banner saying ‘Defended by soldiers.’ It was around 30 participants, photographers, and a special guest was Oleksii Holubov – Consulate General of Ukraine in New York. This action was dedicated to the defenders of Ukraine. Defenders Day is celebrated in Ukraine on October 14th.

Photo 6: On the roof of the Statue of Liberty Museum, Liberty Island, October 15

Liberty Island is a historical place, and its history changed over the years. Like Governors Island and Ellis Island, Liberty Island once was a fort to protect New York from the British Invasion. The engineers used the remaining fortification stone to build the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty.

Photo 7: The Little Island and the remains of Pier 55

The Little Island was opened last year, and I got a chance to visit it many times. It’s situated on pier 55 in Hudson River, right by the Chelsea Market. The island is an extension of the public space along the river, with a beautifully landscaped park. Architects: MNLA, Heatherwick Studio.

Photo 8: The city seen from the Little Island

Photos 9 & 10: Public spaces at the Little Island













Olga Kosterska


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