Governors Island: Decay and Rebirth

This weekend I attended an art festival on Governors Island, hosted by the creative minds at Figment.
For those of you who may not know, Governors Island is a 172 acre island with incredible views of Manhattan:

It was a military facility for 200 years. By September of 1996, all military personnel had been relocated. I visited for the first time around 8 years ago, and it really felt like a Twilight Zone episode. You got the feeling that everyone had fled the island in the middle of the night and never returned. All barracks were abandoned. The YMCA was empty. The library was locked and shuttered. The church no longer held services. The theatre, which once brought Hollywood dreams to soldiers, collected cobwebs. Moss and ivy grew over everything. It was eerie.

In April of 2010, New York City took control of the redevelopment of Governors Island from the State. So now there are signs of renewed growth and unique ideas. But the empty, dusty, abandoned military structures still remain. Which makes it a fascinating place to visit right now. You see vibrant activity in the midst of decay. It’s a cool juxtaposition.

So, on Sunday I saw artists and families enjoying themselves in the sun. There were parades…
marching past decrepit barracks There were little girls in feather boas… playing near the crumbling library
Budding violin superheroes… who enthralled the crowd on a hill instead of the mildewing theatre that was constructed in 1939

And when I decided I’d had enough for the day, I simply followed the fairy to the Manhattan Ferry…


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