First Picnic of the Season
Location: Governors Island
The forecast called for temperatures in the 90's on the first day of the Memorial Day Weekend 2016, and after what seemed like the coldest spring ever in NYC, I was overjoyed to spend a few hours soaking up some rays.
Memorial Day Weekend is also the launch weekend for Governors Island, located just 800 yards from the island of Manhattan. I think of it as a 5 minute ferry ride to paradise. I have not been to every park in the five Burroughs of New York City (yet), but so far Governor's Island is my favorite. I think part of the reason that I love it so much is that it reminds me of a couple of parks and attractions at home in Michigan. When I describe it, I say it is a little bit like Belle Isle, The Henry Ford Museum, and Mackinaw Island, minus the fudge and horses, all mixed together.
Governors Island is located a short ferry ride away from lower Manhattan and right next to the dock of Whitehall Terminal, home of the Staten Island Ferry, my daily chariot. Governors Island is actually part of the National Park system in the United States. There are tons of things to do and not to do on Governors Island. You can cycle the island with your own bicycle, or you can rent one. There is also an artist community on the island that has ongoing shows and presentations scattered across the island.
In addition to many of the cultural and fun attractions on the island, it also has the best example of preserved fortified military architecture in the United States, Fort Jay. It also has a castle called Castle William, as well as opportunities to view the ongoing restoration of military home and barracks on the island. If you are a history buff, tours of Fort Jay and Castle William are offered every day and are well worth the time.
The island hosts many events throughout the summer, and I have just skimmed the surface of detailing why it is my favorite park. But, you may be wondering, what fun did I jump into when I took the ferry across?
I decided that I just wanted to take it slow and enjoy the sun and the view that day. My goal was to find a nice spot to enjoy the view from the bay, see Lady Liberty and catch the breeze in order to use my giant bubble wand (that I take with me to every outdoor event because it is always a huge hit). I cycled around the island a little and found the perfect spot on the western side of the island. Situated near the baseball diamonds and the soccer fields, I faced the Bay and ate my treats while enjoying Lady Liberty's peaceful smile as the Staten Island Ferry dutifully transported people to Manhattan and Staten Island.
The spot I chose turned out to be great for people watching, which was an added benefit. The horns of the occasional cruise ships and tankers provided a pleasant melody that was interspersed with the sounds of laughter as people cycled by my shady spot under a tree. I would blow bubbles whenever the breeze cooperated, and any bikers passing by would ride through a tunnel of giant bubbles. One biker commented that it felt like a scene from the movies. Hey, anything I can do to make your visit to NYC more memorable.
This year, I invested in a small beach chair that I plan to use where chairs are allowed in city parks. As an FYI, please check with your local park before packing up all of your things and making the haul to your favorite site to see what is permitted. Many parks do not allow lawn chairs, plastics or vinyls on certain lawns. Thankfully, lawn chairs are permitted on GI, and it was a life saver on my back that made every dollar for its purchase worthwhile.
Here is what I brought with me to my first picnic of the season:
Bicycle (I have rented a bicycle in the past and was so happy to use my own bike for this trip to the island!)
(I got to the island early and brought my breakfast and lunch, so don't think I am a pig. Lol!)
Can of soda
Peanut butter and jelly sandwich
Radishes (they are my favorite vegetable, so expect to see them a lot on my picnic menus)
Lemon chicken salad sandwich
Brownie Bite from Zabar's
On a freezing cold day this past February, when the heat at my office was out, and I was sitting at my desk with teeth chattering, longing for a hot summer day, I vowed that I would spend a nice, long day on Governor’s Island once the weather got warm. Memorial Day 2016: I did just that, reading and dozing the day away. It was sublime and felt like a dream come true.
If you are in the New York City area or plan to visit in the future, make sure to check out Governors Island. It is open from now until September 25, 2016. The website is www.govisland.com. I am sure you will enjoy your time there.
It is a joy to share my experiences with you!