Governor's Island went from a military base to a free recreation destination in a matter of years. Now, the green space is being expanded in a big way.
The number of people who take the ferry over to the during the summer has exploded. Back in 2005, just 8,000 people came during the entire summer. Now, it is 8,000 a day. Visitors come to ride bikes, participate in art activities and to enjoy the spectacular view.
Now, the crowds have gone for the summer, and the heavy equipment has moved in. Only 12 acres of land is currently open to the public, but that is about to change.
"This is derelict landfill, actually landfill from the Lexington Avenue subway," said Leslie Koch, of the Trust for Governor's Island. "And while the island has become a really popular place over the last few years, where we're standing has never actually been open to the public before. So it's very exciting to see the progress."
The new park will include more bike paths and a section called Hammock Grove, with 50 hammocks nestled among 1,700 young trees.
Old military apartments are being torn down to open up the view of the Statue of Liberty, and in their place, sports fields will be installed. Liggett Terrace will be a 6-acre plaza that features moveable seating, public art, water features and seasonal plantings.
The concrete and brick from the demolished buildings will be used as filler for current and future phases of park construction. There will also be work on the infrastructure to provide drinking water at the island and a stronger electrical system, setting the stage for years to come.
Construction will be completed in fall of 2013, with the goal of having Governor's Island open year-round instead of just in the summer.
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